All industries and businesses are susceptible to fraud. In fact, fraud is one of the most common ways that businesses and individuals can lose money. According to CPA Canada, “In 2019, nearly 45,000 Canadians fell victim to fraud, losing more than $96 million, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.”
Despite this, many Canadians haven’t taken simple preventative measures that would put protection against fraud in place. Let’s look at a few examples of easy processes and procedures to implement in your business.
There are countless variations of fraud designed to attack every industry. There’s no way to defend yourself against all of them. However, there are steps you can take to prevent the brunt of fraud from affecting your business. One of the first steps to take is to educate yourself on fraud and learn how to recognize it. If you can recognize fraud, you can stop it in its tracks.
Social engineering is a tactic used by many scammers for fraud. It involves persuading the individual to reveal confidential information, opening up the opportunity for successful fraud. Scammers manipulate people into revealing this information by making them feel like they have to, such as posing as an authority figure or appealing to strong emotions such as fear. Even just being aware of this tactic can often stop it from advancing any further.
How to Protect Your Business from Fraud
Intellectual Property Scam
An intellectual property scam involves receiving mail seemingly from a federal agency such as the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) telling you that you need to renew your business’s intellectual property rights. Next, they’ll require you to pay for the renewal.
There are a few ways to check the validity of this message. Check the email it was sent from: the official CIPO email ends in @canada.ca. CIPO also has a list of fees that tell you how often certain IPs must be renewed, and how much renewal costs.
Phishing is a scam where someone convinces you to tell them sensitive business information, like credit card numbers. The scammer will pretend to be someone else, whether it’s a service provider, financial institution, or government organization.
If you receive an unsolicited email seemingly from one of these organizations, don’t click on any links or attachments. Additionally, don’t respond to the email unless you can verify its credibility. If the email is suspicious, you can flag it as spam and any further emails from this address won’t appear in your main inbox.
Malware and Ransomware
Malware is a relatively common cybersecurity issue involving a program that harms your computer. On the other hand, ransomware holds your computer or information ‘hostage’ and the scammer demands payment to get it back. This software can gain access to your computer in a few ways; links, email attachments, and downloads from unsecure websites can all put malware on your computer.
Always download programs, videos, and music from a trustworthy source, and never click links or attachments from suspicious emails. Check out our blog on ways to avoid malware for more information.
Educate Your Employees
As a business owner, it’s crucial for you to know the dangers of fraud, but your employees need to be educated as well. If scammers successfully get through to your employees, your business is at risk of becoming the victim of fraud. You can train your employees in cybersecurity through a seminar or other event.
If you’ve been a victim of fraud, there are a few ways for you to report it. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre can be contacted to report scammers, whether you’re a victim or not. If you lost money due to a scammer, ensure you contact your local police force as well. In the case of identity theft, contact your financial institution and credit card company.
Get High-Quality Cybersecurity Support
Cybersecurity is essential for any business using digital tools, cloud computing, and online communications. If you don’t have an up-to-date cybersecurity and data recovery plan, it’s time to reach out to expert managed service providers who can protect your business. Reach out the IT and cybersecurity experts at Alt-Tech Inc. today for a security consultation.