How to protect your small business against fraud
Fraud occurs when someone intentionally deceives a company or another person for personal gain. Fraud represents a very real risk to many small businesses but it is relatively easy to prevent. The most common types of fraud are internet, employee and identity and this is how to prevent them:
Every month the media seems to cover another story about a big-name brand being the victim of customer account hacking.
To prevent your data, contracts and customer information being shared with the world, stop cyber-attacks at the source and encrypt your data. Email encryption prevents content being read by anyone else other than yourself (the sender) and your intended recipient. Many industry-approved protocols are available (i.e. HTTPS) which also prevent fraudsters accessing the contents of your computer server or hard drive.
Also, if you have an out-of-office sales team, remind them to keep company laptops, tablets and mobiles in hotel safes and not in their car or public places overnight as thieves may steal the device and sell the data if they cannot use it themselves.
If you suspect cash from the till is being stolen, or notice that sales are up by revenue if down, you could be the victim of civil fraud.
As a small business, your enthusiasm for your company must flow to your employees and out to your customers to improve loyalty. If your employees work against you and you lose their trust, a bad egg may start to steal from your business.
If you feel one of your employees may be responsible for fraudulent behaviour, you must enlist the help of forensic accountants. It is important to choose a fraud investigations team who can be discreet whilst your employees work otherwise they will be aware they are being investigated and may delete files or account and make their activities harder to trace. As IT is at the heart of most businesses, you should seek help from specialist forensic accountants such as the team Frenkels Forensics who can analyse, locate and recover data very discreetly.
The fastest way fraudsters gain access to your personal and business details is by rifling through garbage to find bank statements and account details.
It may sound basic and obvious but it is still one of the fastest ways thieves steal your money. If you are dealing with customer data in paper form, then only collect the details you require, and then shred any personal information when the business no longer needs it.
Obviously there are many other types of fraud to be on the look-out for but these three are the most common, yet easiest to prevent.