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ATB Entrepreneur & Small BusinessMar 11, 2024 5:06:29 PM2 min read

Fraud prevention checklist for small businesses

The fraud world is fast moving, and new scams are emerging weekly, so it’s important for small businesses to stay one step ahead.

Here’s how you can mitigate the risk of cybercrime.

  1. Educate employees: Your team is a vulnerable access point of information. Ensure they don’t use work devices on public Wi-Fi. Provide training to them on detecting scams (like business email compromise), unusual transactions, financial irregularities or suspicious customer behaviour.
  2. Put systems in place: Establish clear protocols for handling transactions. Divide duties so that no single person has complete financial control over any aspect of your business.
  3. Secure data: Use secure payment processing systems and encryption methods to safeguard sensitive data. Evaluate what information you collect during transactions and why, so that you’re only gathering necessary data.
  4. Regularly monitor accounts and report suspicious activity: Routinely review bank statements, credit card transactions and accounting records for unauthorized activity. Foster a culture of transparency and encourage employees to report anything suspicious immediately.
  5. Use passphrases: The Canadian Centre for Cybersecurity recommends using passphrases to keep your information safe. Passphrases should not be shared and should be different for each platform, changed regularly and use a combination of letters, numbers and special characters. Using multi-factor authentication (MFA) can add an extra layer of security.
  6. Stay updated on scams: Follow legitimate news sources, the government and police organizations to get informed about common security threats and fraud schemes such as phishing, AI scams and fake invoices. ATB offers free webinars about topics including cybersecurity.
  7. Verify information: Before conducting business with new vendors, verify their legitimacy through background checks, references or online reviews. Get familiar with your suppliers so you can more easily identify fraudulent emails and invoices.
  8. Secure physical items: Safeguard physical assets like inventory, equipment and sensitive documents with security measures including locks, vaults, surveillance cameras, alarms and restricted access. Ensure your employees are trained on safeguarding procedures in your workplace.
  9. Stay compliant: Follow anti-fraud legislation and cybersecurity requirements, install virus protection software on company technology and back up data regularly.
  10. Seek professional advice: Consider hiring fraud prevention experts or consulting with financial advisors to develop strategies tailored to your business’ needs.

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