Ever think about your small business assets? Are they safe from fraud, cybercrime and identity theft? The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners tells us that companies with less than 100 employees lose around $155,000 a year as a result of fraud. (Tweet this stat!)
Businesses smaller in size have a higher fraud rate than larger businesses and a frequent source of fraud is credit card abuse. This tends to be true due to business owners not taking the time to look at every line item on their monthly statements.
Don't be a fraud victim! Here are four tactics you can put into play to better protect your business from the most commonly seen forms of cybercrime and fraud.
Related: Find an employee background check provider
Protect Your Bank Account and Credit Cards
This one takes the number one spot on this list because it is a common area of fraud for those that run employee-based firms and for sole proprietors. Begin by separating your credit cards and personal banking from your business accounts to make sure certain fraudsters can't access every penny you have. Choose a business credit card specific to your company for business expenses only, instead of using your personal card. An added bonus of separate accounts: tracking your business expenses becomes much simpler. Come tax season, you'll be glad you did it.
- Use your head when it comes to using your card. Don't give your plastic to just anyone. Don't hand out your credit card number to members of your team you don't know well.
- Use online bill pay and always store your paper bills with your account info in a secure place.
- Use a secure mailbox for both sending and receiving your bills. If you don't have access to one, take a trip to the post office and drop off your mail directly.
Educate Your Staff
When it comes to fraud, employees are likely your biggest point of vulnerability, yet also your first line of defense. Regularly hold training sessions on security threats, both on and offline. Make sure both your new hires and staff with some years under their belt attend to learn more about the basic prevention measures they can take to help protect your business. Enforce the training by creating policies that guide employees on how to properly handle confidential information.
Run Employee Background Checks
To prevent fraudulent behavior among your staff, start with hiring the right people. Don't take the decision of hiring employees lightly. Entrust basic background checks prior to employment as a smart business practice. This is especially important if your employees will handle cash, high-cost merchandise or have access to financial data.
Institute a Password Policy
Protect your IT systems with this easy step: have a password policy. Ensure all members of your team change their passwords regularly (think every 60 days). Set rules requiring all passwords to contain one upper case letter, a number and a minimum of a specific number of characters.
- Don't use the same password for every account. That's just asking for trouble if your password is uncovered and allows a fraudster to obtain all of your personal information.
What are some ways you protect your business assets against cybercrime and fraudulent behavior?
Bio: Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.