Combating technology fraud could be one of the most important resolutions for businesses in 2017.
The past 12 months have shown online crime on the rise, with research revealing that a quarter of all small businesses have suffered from problems such as credit card fraud, delivery address fraud or identity theft.
While increasingly advanced technology has enabled faster, smoother communications, the downside appears to involve paying a heavy price.
Here are the three commonly occurring forms of technology fraud and how we can better protect against them
1. Online fraud
Being duped over the internet is no longer a new phenomenon and appears to be a growing one. Whether it’s a stolen credit card or a customer giving a false address to avoid detection, it’s up to businesses that deal with customers online to take preventative action to reduce the risk of these crimes happening to them.
Preventative measures include verifying the details of new customers, particularly any customers placing large orders in their first transaction. Signs to look out for are people ordering high value goods in large quantities, using a PO Box for their address or the purchaser’s address being different to the credit card address. While these could be legitimate orders, sellers should clarify this by running checks on and with the customer, before proceeding with the order.
2. Trusting email too much
Is it really that person at the other end of an email? A tendency to trust email and an eagerness to do our jobs has seen a few businesses face severe financial losses in the last year. Barbie manufacturer Mattel sent over £2.3 million to a fraudulent account in China, after its finance executive believed he or she was acting on email instructions from the new chief executive. Manufacturer Mattel eventually got its money back, but most companies are less fortunate and often have to weather the loss.
Using email as a primary communication tool saves time, but when it includes a request related to finance, passwords or any sensitive information, precautions should be taken. Fake emails that look legitimate and are from people you know, including senior management, appear to be on the rise. Check with the individual by phone or face to face and ensure that any actions are confirmed before going ahead.
3. The inside job
Sadly, employee fraud is a common enemy of many businesses, but particularly small ones. Internal fraud This causes losses for small businesses that equate to an average of around £114,000 a year, with around 5% of revenue reportedly lost every year to fraud. This kind of fraud can include the theft of cash, fraudulent invoicing and payroll schemes or the misuse of supplies.
Having internal controls in place and carrying out regular risk assessments are important, as are running checks on employees before they join a company and safeguarding assets and documents on and off site.
Businesses could also look at training employees to identify and understand fraud, having a code of ethics in place and encouraging whistle blowing.
While an end to end security solution is the ideal answer to these issues along with businesses being kept up to date on the latest threats and how to tackle them, there are products that can be a huge factor in the fight against privacy breaches and fraud. These include:
Smart HD cameras and CCTV systems
Cross cut and micro cut shredders
Laptop locking cables and locks
Security passes and badge printers
Fireproof, waterproof safes – for keys, cash, laptops, devices and all sensitive documents
USB flash drives – look for FIPS certification, indestructibility and superior password security
Cross cut shredders for home and mobile workers
Privacy filters for commuters and frequent travellers
Laptop cables and locks