In this day and age, online scams are more of a reality than ever before. Gone are the days when stories of internet fraud seemed few and far between. Now, everyone, including your business, is at risk at the hands of sophisticated cybercriminals who are armed with more resources and technology than ever before.
Given the fallouts, businesses experience if their data or resources are stolen, making the effort to protect your operations against these threats is a smarter and more efficient move in the long run.
The question that remains, then, is how this can be done. How can enterprises avoid online scams and protect client data and digital resources?
If you’re keen on keeping your operations secure but don’t know where to start, this is undoubtedly the best place. Many companies, nowadays, undertake routine security audits to see where existing and recurrent weaknesses and vulnerabilities - chinks in the armour, so to speak - lie.
By shoring up your defences, you make it harder for cybercriminals to breach your systems and take advantage of low-hanging fruit.
Given the technical nature of a comprehensive audit, it’s common practice to leave this to cybersecurity service providers.
Another way to avoid online scams is by training your employees on basic cybersecurity protocol and best practices.
Beyond aspects like password security and the importance of updated anti-virus software, training them to detect phishing and social engineering is crucial. This is especially important given that one-third of data breaches in 2018 was a result of this type of cybercrime, where cybercriminals assume the identity of another or mislead others about their identity in order to steal sensitive information or launch ransomware.
Given the sophistication of these types of emails and other electronic messaging, it’s very easy for anyone to fall prey to them. As such, make sure that whatever training you provide is up-to-date and is conducted by a professional who is experienced and qualified to speak on these matters.
Given that the way we work is changing, with more people working on the go and working remotely, the use of company phones and other handheld devices has grown in recent years.
While this is a great step forward, it also means that we are that much more vulnerable to cyberattacks and data breaches, unless the right precautions are taken.
Here, make sure that employees don’t conduct any unauthorised transactions on shared devices, only connect to secure WiFi services (or use a VPN if they absolutely need to connect to public WiFi), and avoid installing apps from third-party app stores whose credibility you can’t verify.
For any business, cash flow is an all-important aspect of maintaining smooth operations.
As a part of avoiding online scams that damage your business, avoiding payment fraud is important, not just because it ensures that you’re getting the money you receive. In this process, begin by re-examining your assumptions about what payment fraud entails. For instance, it doesn’t only take place when suspiciously large sums of money are deposited.
Additionally, make sure each transaction is being verified by accountants or bank representatives and flag anything that seems suspicious almost immediately. Much like other threats, even fake payments have become harder to spot, but it can be done with a careful eye and vigilant record-keeping.
There’s even machine learning software that’s being designed to detect anomalous account activity and alert users when a suspicious activity has been recorded.
Nowadays, you can’t trust anyone who hasn’t given you a good reason to. When conducting business with external parties, due diligence can save you from far more than just a bad deal.
There are now a number of tools and platforms you can use to make this process more accurate and efficient. Check if your region has a forum or platform like the Better Business Bureau, where the authenticity and legitimacy of businesses can be verified.
In the absence of these, a thorough Google search will do.
Cyber threats, fraud, and online scams are more prevalent than ever. Fortunately, we’ve also identified ways to stay safe and go about our business in relative peace.
This, however, doesn’t come easy - you need to make an active effort to keep your operations secure. By following the steps set out above and by fortifying your defences with the support of cybersecurity service providers, online scams will be the last thing on your mind.