Fraud is a huge threat to organizations and businesses of all sizes, and the rise of online sales to all parts of the world has – whilst increasing commercial opportunities – also caused an increase in fraud due to fewer face to face transactions, increased remote payments and more digitizing of customer and financial information.
The ACFE (Association of Fraud Prevention) reported that it’s costing business an average of $150,000 per year in fraud – or five percent of revenue for each business.
Some physical measures to combat fraud such as methods to detect fake currency and the use of tamper proof, secure checks with limited people allowed to sign them help in face to face transactions and payments but online transactions are still vulnerable.
So how can you secure online and other transactions?
Asking cyber security experts to undertake a thorough audit of your systems and procedures is time and money well spent; it enables weak areas and vulnerabilities to be identified and remedial action taken.
It’s preferable to ask expert outsiders to audit your company rather than relying on in-house tech people; they’re too close to the situation and may not be as objective as those from outside would likely be.
Passwords are a basic vulnerability through which cyber criminals try to access a company’s systems and sensitive customer and financial data, so a stringent company-wide password policy is crucial.
Allowing staff access only to those parts of the system relevant to their role is important, as is regularly changing passwords and using newer methods such as two-factor authentication where – along with the password – an access code or similar is required.
Keeping passwords private between colleagues is another basic yet vital precaution as is setting strong passwords with plenty of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.
Card and cash security
Credit card fraud is common as fraudsters use cloned cards – more easily done with more CNP (card not present) transactions.
Spotting suspicious transactions is easier said than done sometimes but it’s important to know some signs; machine learning tech is a worthwhile investment to help systems detect patterns suggesting fraudulent activity.
Bogus cash transactions by way of deliberate use of fake currency should be checked thoroughly using point of sale currency checking equipment and training staff in how to detect fake money.
Helping your staff recognize and resist fraud attempts is important, especially as some fraudulent activity can be highly convincing at first.
For example, phishing emails can work well for fraudsters as they convince the recipient they’ve received an email from a bona fide source such as the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) or a bank asking for specific information. Falling for this and clicking the link provided or visiting a bogus website that looks convincing can help the fraudster gain access to systems and passwords.
The importance of password security, remaining vigilant when talking on the phone to customers and suppliers, and other methods should not only be taught to staff but training should be ongoing so as to keep knowledge up to date.