Starting a business as an entrepreneur is an exciting time, but as you soon find out, it takes a lot of work. There are various startup costs, and you may need you to outsource certain tasks and figure out a marketing budget. In the age of the internet, all of these things are much easier because we can connect with people all over the world. Unfortunately, not all of these people are trustworthy, which is why every entrepreneur must beware of online scams.
This is a growing concern, and a recent survey of 1,000 people from CreditRepepair.com found that 73 percent of people are worried they’ll fall for a credit card scam. With over 2.8 million consumers filing reports in 2021 alone, it’s important that you’re aware of online scams to protect your identity as well as your money.
Today, we’ll discuss how to avoid these online scams, but first, we’ll discuss why this is such an important topic.
Are Online Scams Really That Common?
Now that you’re a business owner, you have to be much more vigilant about identity theft and online scams. Did you know that most people don’t even realize that they’ve been a victim of an online scam? While only 28 percent of Americans thought they’ve been a victim of identity theft, the number of actual victims was actually closer to 50 percent.
A common way cyber criminals steal identities or credit card information is through emails. If they’s successful, this can affect your ability to get loans and new lines of credit. It can also become an issue when it’s time to file taxes. If you have employees on your payroll, it’s even more important that you protect your funds.
3 Ways to Defend Against Online Scams
Let’s go over some simple ways that you can defend yourself and your business against online scams.
1. Know the Red Flags to Watch Out For
Whenever you’re dealing with strangers online, you should have a healthy amount of skepticism. Whether it’s through email or social media, if you need to send this person sensitive information containing your credit card information or your social security number, ensure the person is who they say they are.
Recently, there’s been a growing problem with email scams where a person pretends to be from a company like your bank or a vendor. They use all of the logos and identifiers that make it pretty convincing, but the goal is to get you to click a link or put in your information. Always look at the email address and verify that it’s from the company’s actual website. Many scammers just use a Gmail address, so they’re easy to spot.
2. Be Proactive
One of the main issues with identity theft or credit card scams is that people catch it far too late. Fortunately, in that same CreditRepair.com survey, they list some ways you can be proactive and avoid getting scammed, or at least catch it sooner rather than later.
- Turn on fraud alert and notifications: Most financial institutions are aware of these scams, so they give you the ability to turn on fraud alerts. Sometimes, you can even get a text message if the card is used to purchase anything over a certain dollar amount.
- Always use multifactor authentication: We love convenience, so we often save our credit card information on different websites, and this is another way someone can use your credit card. Turn on multifcator authentication on websites so you get a text or email with a code before a person can login.
- Check your statements regularly: Checking your statements multiple times a week is a great habit to get into. If you catch an unauthorized purchase on your card, you can quickly call your card issuer to report fraud and have the situation handled.
3. Educate Your Employees
If you have employees or anyone working with you that uses your credit cards, ensure they’re aware that cyber crimes happen more often than they think. You can let them know about common red flags, and if warranted, you may even want to have a quick meeting on the subject. Remind them that avoiding online scams helps keep the business up and running so they feel that they have a stake in this as well.
Lastly, it’s helpful to have a rule in place that nobody sends sensitive information via email unless it’s a trustworthy vendor or person you work with regularly.
You now know the basics to protect your company from the rising issue of online scams. By taking these precautionary steps, you’ll avoid a big headache and decrease the potential of butting your business at risk.