Every year, small businesses and corporations are targeted by online scams. You hear about it on the news when businesses experience data or network breaches. But how can you protect your own business from becoming the next victim? Well, you can start by being familiar with the most common online business scams and the steps you need to take to stop them.
Know What Social Engineering Attacks Looks Like
Most people have heard of phishing, but many business owners and managers are not sure what the term means. You may know that clicking on suspicious links or emails can get your business into trouble, but what you likely don’t know is that phishing is just one of the many ways scammers can use social engineering to sabotage your business operations. Social engineering attacks aim to evoke an emotional response that influences an individual to reveal confidential, sensitive information. For businesses, this could include account numbers, customer data or any data that can be used for the scammer’s gain.
Because these attacks can be so detrimental to your business, it is important to be aware of them and train all applicable employees on email and internet best practices. Those practices should at the very least include how to handle suspicious emails and not clicking on unusual links or attachments. Emails and links could contain ransomware or viruses, so it’s also vital to teach employees what to do if they happen to open a contaminated message. Taking proper triage steps can help your business regain control after being victimized by one of these scams.
Avoid Getting Scammed By Bogus Services and Consultants
If you conduct your business online, search engine optimization can drive more traffic to your sites. There are tools and services that can help, but there are also SEO scammers who are constantly trying to scam businesses out of money for their “services.” If you hear an SEO consultant mention a partnership with Google, there’s a high probability you are being targeted for a scam. Google does not participate in SEO partnerships, and falling victim to this ploy could leave your business out hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Over the past couple of years, scammers have also started using fake awards to con business owners, managers, and employees into handing over money or credit card information. The Better Business Bureau can help you determine if an award company is legit or fake, but it also helps to know that most “best of” awards are not going to charge you to receive the award. Also, be on the lookout for people offering business coaching services. These services often require access to intellectual property that could leave you vulnerable to legal problems.
Be Aware of Other Online Scams That Can Harm Your Business
There are many ways that scammers can target your business. In fact, some use threatening government emails to get employees to release vulnerable information. You can protect yourself from these threats by knowing that government officials will never threaten arrest, licensing suspension, or other legal action via email communication. The FTC provides valuable resources to help consumers and businesses detect scams and report them to officials.
Malware can impact your operations as well, and if you do not have the right security precautions in place, it can be hard to detect it before serious damage is done; you could lose data or the integrity of your entire network. Since data breaches are the most common form of attack against businesses of all sizes, it’s wise to put proper protections in place to prevent infections from happening. Quality encryption and security practices can protect small businesses in the same way they shield corporations from online mayhem, so every business owner should consider taking measures to safeguard sensitive data.
Don’t let your business fall victim to online scams. It’s easy to prevent the massive damage they can cause for your operations and your bottom line. Educate employees, seek out the right security, and make sure you stay aware of the latest online threats to your business.
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