Technology is evolving rapidly every day; It is constant, and with the changes and introduction of AI technology into the mainstream market, the technology has boomed even faster and even bigger than ever before. It’s not just about advances in tools, phones, computers or even workplace safety, but something more. Although all these changes are good, they can also be considered bad at the same time. Scams are nothing new; From the classic Nigerian prince emails to Microsoft calls, scams have basically been around forever, targeting virtually anyone with access to a computer.
However, people, including companies, are getting smarter, but fraudsters are also getting smarter. As you know, being scammed is detrimental to your mental health, your finances, and your safety, but unfortunately it has destroyed businesses before. So what can small businesses do to avoid falling victim to scams, especially as scams become more sophisticated and less obvious? Well, here’s exactly what you need to know!
What awaits you in this article:
You need to understand the landscape of online scams targeting businesses
Like technology, scams are evolving, and frankly, it may be getting to the point where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to determine exactly what’s real and what’s not. With deepfakes, AI photos, and AI voice replication becoming so widespread, things could really get harder. But until then, when the lines become too blurred, it’s best to at least have a solid idea now of what the current situation looks like. So the five current ones you can expect right now are:
- Social Development
- Ransomware attack
- Financial fraud
- Identity theft
- phishing scam
These not only affect individuals, but also many companies. In fact, it’s not just big companies; Scammers and hackers like to target small businesses because they are usually the least knowledgeable about how to protect themselves. Additionally, large companies have large departments that avoid this, such as their IT department. Therefore, you should definitely consider IT support for small businesses as it is one of the best ways to protect your business from threats.
Secure your physical environment
Yes, you absolutely need IT support, be it in-house or outsourced, but honestly that shouldn’t be included as you also need to deal with your physical environment. It’s true that most fraudsters only infiltrate and compromise your business remotely, such as online, but that’s not all.
There is always a chance that they will gain physical access to your business, be it your office, your home office, your workplace, your store or whatever. Therefore, make sure you have a security system and monitoring in place and use a paper shredder whenever possible.
If your small business isn’t insured, you’re doing it all wrong! You absolutely need to protect your business, and insurance is the right way to do this. Unfortunately, because fraud is so widespread, most business insurance policies typically cover it to some extent. Therefore, it is best to shop around.
Educate your employees about social engineering
While it is extremely important to teach employees standard safety measures, such as: Such as clicking on suspicious links or visiting questionable websites (the basics that everyone should know), but it shouldn’t end there. Yes, there should be training for this, but one thing that many companies don’t provide training on is social engineering.
Nowadays it is especially important to pay attention to social engineering due to AI images and AI voice replication. But they need to know not to reveal sensitive information, even if it sounds like someone they know. It’s difficult, but as fraudsters become more sophisticated, companies need to be more careful.
Monitor network traffic and behavior
If you have an IT team, you can trust them to take care of things. However, if you don’t have one, you need to regularly monitor network traffic and user behavior for signs of anomalies and potential fraud. Early detection can prevent a minor problem from becoming a major breach.
Always conduct extensive background checks on your employees
Is it rude or unprofessional to have to run background checks on employees or hires before they are fully onboarded? No, definitely not; In fact, you’re probably protecting your business too. Although not common, some employees may apply and work at a small company just to get an idea of how well the company is secured and then plan to steal or commit criminal activity within it. It’s dark to think about, and fortunately it’s not an everyday occurrence. But in general, you should just be wary of those who might have access to sensitive data, and a background check can help.
Conduct regular security audits and vulnerability assessments
The thing about scammers is that when they see a vulnerability, they will do everything they can to exploit it. For this reason, you need to conduct regular audits and assessments in your company. This can happen both online and in your physical space, but the point is that there are no vulnerabilities to exploit.
Be careful about what is posted online
One thing that many business owners and employees do would be to promote themselves and the work they do. This can be LinkedIn, social media, websites and much more. The problem would be revealing far too much information that could easily be exploited by fraudsters. Essentially, you may be indirectly giving scammers and hackers enough information to pave the way for phishing, social engineering, identity theft, etc. So make sure you don’t post too much about your online activities or your team, no matter how tempting it may be.
Educate your customers whenever you can
Just as companies can be targeted, customers can also be targeted, and unfortunately, companies can still suffer reputational damage because their customers are being defrauded (even if the company literally had nothing to do with it) . So make sure you educate your customers about this and what potential scams are out there posing as your brand.