5 Simple Steps to Consider to Stay Safe From Online Fraud

Online fraud is a common threat that can be difficult to avoid. However, there are some simple ways businesses can stay safe from fraudulent activities.

For instance, making essential background checks a standard part of the hiring process can help reduce the risk of fraud. Another way to keep your business safe is by protecting passwords with security software and avoiding suspicious emails.

Keep Your Passwords Secure

It’s hard to go a few days without hearing about another major data breach. Hackers often access customers’ information by getting them to give up their passwords. In this regard, it is essential to have a fraud prevention checklist. Also, creating strong and unique passwords and changing them regularly is vital.

Avoid using personal details, like birthdays or anniversaries, as part of the password, as it makes it much easier for attackers to crack. Instead, use a combination of letters (lower and uppercase), numbers, and symbols to create passwords that are difficult for hackers to guess.

It’s also a good idea to use password management tools to create randomized and strong passwords and save them so you don’t have to remember them. Only entering financial information on secure websites and apps is also a good idea.

Cybercriminals can use your passwords and other personal information to gain access to your bank accounts, credit cards, or other financial products. They can also use your information to impersonate you on social media or over the phone and trick you into changing your password or giving away other sensitive information.

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Change Your Passwords Regularly

Keeping a solid firewall, virus protection software, and secure passwords is an excellent start to staying safe from online fraud. However, businesses must also consider other steps to prevent cybercriminals from accessing customer information.

For example, allowing customers to handle their bills online can help ensure that no paper documents are lying around the office where hackers can steal information. It’s also essential to ensure employees change their passwords regularly. This helps ensure that a hacker can only access an account for a limited time if they are the victim of a data breach.

Additionally, forcing password changes helps to ensure that employees are not using passwords that are easy to guess or duplicated across different accounts. Changing passwords frequently and not using personal information like names, pets, anniversaries, or birthdays is also essential. Instead, choose longer passwords with uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols.

A password manager like 1Password can simplify complying with password change policies while making it much easier for employees to remember their passwords.

Keep Your Social Media Accounts Secure

It is best not to share personal information like your address or phone number online. Still, you need to realize how much other sensitive information hackers can obtain from social media accounts. This type of information is used for various malicious purposes, including phishing scams, identity theft, and even blackmail.

You should limit the number of people accessing your business’s social media accounts. Only trust your media team, or whoever handles the account, with the password and login credentials. This will prevent mismanagement, which could leave your business vulnerable to attack.

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Also, avoid public Wi-Fi connections when logging into your social media accounts. Instead, use cellular data on your phone or a virtual private network (VPN). This will ensure that only your device and the correct password can access your account.

You should also enable two-factor authentication on all your accounts. This extra layer of security requires a password plus a confirmation code, typically sent to your phone via text or email.

Don’t Share Sensitive Information

All businesses handle sensitive data, whether it is confidential client information, financial details, or employee addresses. This information is most often put at risk when it leaves the safety of a hard drive, secure cloud storage, or someone’s brain and enters the hands of unauthorized individuals.

Educating employees about the dangers of sharing sensitive information online, in person, or over the phone is essential. This includes advising employees not to respond to unsolicited calls or texts from unknown numbers, not to share passwords over email, and not to give out personal information over the phone unless they can verify that the caller is a legitimate representative of a company or institution.

Implementing a security plan for all employees, especially those who work remotely or at home, is also essential. This should include ensuring that all devices are physically secured with locks or cords, encrypting files whenever possible, and requiring a token, “smart card,” thumbprint, or other biometric to access computers storing sensitive information.

Don’t Be Afraid to Report It

As a business owner, you want to reduce your exposure to online fraud and create a positive customer experience. However, sometimes these goals are at odds.

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Fraudulent transactions often occur without the merchant’s involvement, especially online purchases and card-not-present payments (where you can’t verify the customer’s identity).

Luckily, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of fraud and protect your customers. For example, never give your credit card number or other sensitive information over the phone, in an email, or on a website unless you know the company you’re dealing with and are confident they’re legitimate. It’s also best not to fund trades or investments by wire transfers, prepaid credit cards, or digital assets like Bitcoin.

In addition to taking these steps, you can use your payment processor’s resources to prevent and report fraud. Many will provide details on fraud, how to spot it, and what to do if you suspect it. It’s essential to report it immediately so authorities can act and stop others from being victimized.

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