While technology continues to revolutionize business industries, its ever-changing nature constantly poses new risks that we must actively protect our businesses against. According to the Better Business Bureau’s Scams and Your Small Business Research Report, the sum of losses for small businesses due to cyberattacks amounts to approximately $7 billion per year (2018). These attackers impersonate well known credit card companies, government agencies, charities and tech support companies to gain money, network access or sensitive information. While you may have heard of these, the following are additional scams to be aware of so you don’t get caught in the cyber web.
Phishing and social engineering
Attackers gain private information or access to a company’s network by using social interaction. They may pose as an employee, researcher or other trustworthy source and will ask questions to gain enough knowledge to infiltrate. For example, you may receive an urgent email from your credit card company claiming there was a fraudulent charge and you must enter your account/personal information. These attacks increase substantially during holidays, natural disasters, major political elections and other significant events.
Utility company imposter
In this case, scammers pretend to be utility companies claiming your service will be stopped immediately if payment is not received for a “late bill”. Requiring payment over the phone is a huge red-flag indicating a possible scam.
Problem solving services
Scammers pose as companies offering inexpensive solutions to common business problems but will disappear after the up-front fee is paid.
If you receive an “award” for a competition and you are not familiar with the company or the nomination process, be cautious. These scams may require a fee to redeem the “award” or will lead you to a website where you are required to submit confidential information.
Cyberattackers are constantly developing new methods for conning businesses; however, there are many ways you can protect your company from falling victim. Many of these scams involve creating a sense of urgency in their victims.
- Remain calm and do your research before providing any compromising information.
- Always consider the method of payment and whether you have verified the invoice or transaction.
- Train your staff to recognize potential red flags and implement controls to prevent unexpected and/or unauthorized payments.
- Dedicate time to secure your company’s confidential information and avoid questionable websites or online communication with unknown sources.
Research and knowledge are key to protecting your business.