We are always on the lookout for information that can benefit our customers and partners. Here is a list of 10 simple, cost-effective steps small business owners can take to prevent fraud, or mitigate its effects in their operations if it does occur. These tips are both timely and provide practical suggestions to help combat the increasing wave of fraud hitting small businesses:
- Hire carefully: According to PwC’s Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey, internal staff accounts for 37 percent of fraud, so your ability to protect your business starts with thorough recruitment and vetting of potential candidates.
- Have clear rules in place: Clearly stating your company policies and expectations makes it clear to workers what they can – and can’t – do in the workplace.
- Educate and train: Make employees regularly aware of potential ways the company’s financial health and reputation could be threatened. As an added precaution, train employees for a variety of positions – that way, you’ll have skilled staff in the event of someone leaving for any reason, and reduce any risk arising from having one person in a financially-sensitive position for an extended time.
- Review finances regularly: Check bank and credit card statements frequently (at least monthly). By knowing how much it generally costs to run your business and how much money is coming in, unusual changes will be more readily apparent.
- Make computer security a priority: It isn’t cheap to purchase quality firewall, anti-malware and email phishing detection – but what you stand to lose without them is a lot worse.
- Watch for regulatory changes: Local, state and federal requirements for protecting customer information and reporting fraud are always subject to change – stay on top of these. They can help keep your business safe and in compliance.
- Use checks with security features: Checks with security features such as holograms, heat-sensitive ink, chemical reactive paper and a true watermark make duplication difficult.
- Use a fraud detection monitoring service: Having a second set of eyes on the business can help detect fraud so you can minimize any damage that might occur.
In addition to fraud prevention, small businesses also need to be ready if it happens to reduce the impact. Consider these steps:
- Subscribe to a fraud remediation service: Fraud remediation professionals can determine the threat, investigate acts by unknown parties or employees of the business and lead the investigations needed to prepare cases and speed the path to resolution.
- Work with experts to implement a response plan: The first 48 hours after the discovery of a security breach or fraud are critical. A recovery service can provide an action plan to get you through them – and beyond.
At First Internet Bank, we’re committed to working with our clients and partners to help them grow and thrive. Keeping you informed and working closely with you to fight financial crime is an important part of that.