Entries tagged with “data breach”.
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Feb 20 2015
Fraud prevention can seem like an overwhelming subject for those who run small businesses, especially if they’ve just opened up shop. Fortunately, there is no need for the massive layers of security or huge teams that are often associated with giant companies. Instead, fraud prevention for small businesses is best done by using common sense and a careful eye.
Find Out What Country Orders Really Came From
This is a big help for preventing fraud. Sometimes, an order will come through that seems to be from a legitimate location, but something might seem just a bit amiss. Perhaps the order is for more items than are usually sold, or there’s a comment in broken English, or there’s some other tip-off that all is not what it seems. That’s when you need to use the IP address of the customer to see where the order really came from. If your shopping cart software provides this information, just copy it and paste it into a reverse IP lookup site. A Google search will reveal plenty such sites. Once you enter the IP into the lookup site, the site will tell what country it’s located in. Don’t ship if it isn’t the country the customer gave in the order.
Check Your Records
If someone irately writes you demanding a refund, do a simple record check and make sure that the person ordered anything from you. Sometimes it’ll turn out that they did not. Of course, a dedicated criminal won’t just go away when you tell them that, so your next step is to tell them that you don’t give refunds until you have the item back. Don’t let them wear you down on that policy. Refunds given before items arrive are nothing but gifts for criminals.
Use a Merchant-Friendly Payment Processor
Many criminals work their frauds by demanding refunds from their credit card issuers instead of from you. Some payment processors always mindlessly side with the “customer,” and crooks take massive advantage of such policies. Look for a processor that is not so “customer-centric” that they end up becoming your adversary. Of course, you’ll still need proof that you upheld your end of the deal, so be sure to use trackable shipping.
For more tips on fraud prevention, just contact us. We’ll be glad to help you thwart criminals and ensure that all of your merchandise is not only bought, but paid for.
Feb 3 2015
Starting a business can be hectic. There’s a tsunami of administrative tasks to do, such as getting licenses and any needed office space. You also need to set up contracts with suppliers, figure out how you’ll ship everything, and of course, find a way to accept payments. With all of this going on, it’s easy to make financial mistakes that can cost a surprising amount of money. Keep these small business financial success tips in mind to prevent surprise losses before and after you open your doors:
- Don’t buy a huge amount of stock on speculation. While some wholesale deals require you to buy in large quantities, you don’t have to pick one of the largest quantities. It’s better to start by purchasing a minimal amount of stock so that you can see which options actually sell. When you’ve found out which items are the clear winners in your market, you can go ahead and up the amount you buy from your suppliers.
- Avoid high-cost merchant accounts. Not long ago, there was only one real way to accept credit card payments at a business. You would have to get a merchant account with a payment processor. This typically involves a variety of fees that can easily destroy a start-up’s profit. These setups typically have statement fees, transaction fees, set-up fees, gateway fees, and a grab bag of other fees that add up to substantial amounts each month. Now, accepting payments for your business has never been easier or more affordable. With some of the most modern processors, you can accept credit cards and checks, set up subscription payments and more – all for one low annual fee and a reasonable per-transaction charge. Even better, these solutions aren’t just for e-commerce sites. They work through a variety of physical methods, as well.
- Get professional tax advice. There is a huge amount of misinformation about what can be deducted, how much tax has to be paid, how to handle taxation on employee wages, and other things concerning how taxes affect small businesses. To get the real facts about how your taxes need to be handled, hire a tax accountant and have him or her explain everything. Of course, the accountant can prepare your return as well.
For more ways to save money and avoid financial mistakes with your new business, just contact us. We’ll be glad to help you avoid high merchant account fees and other pitfalls.
Jan 22 2015
A major internet service organization recently found itself the victim of a cyber security breach regarding financial data.
The company fell prey to hackers by a spear-phishing attack. Spear phishing is the attempt to get corporate information by sending an e-mail message that appears legitimate. The fraudulent message sometimes asks the recipient to click on a link to verify information. Instead, that link can download spyware, Trojan horses, or malware. That’s what was believed to have happened in the breach; employees clicked on links in an e-mail that apparently led to the installation of malware.
Besides giving the hackers access to e-mail, the scam also compromised content management systems, internal communication systems, and the company’s data system for managing domains. Security enhancements implemented months ago, by the firm, likely limited the unauthorized access sought by the hackers.
While this company will no doubt be more vigilant guarding against future spear phishing scams, there’s a lesson here that businesses of any size and type can impart to their own employees: Don’t click on links in e-mails that looks suspicious, particularly if the message is asking for information. To learn more, contact us here at ProPay.
Jan 12 2015
Being a merchant nowadays is very challenging – not only do you have to worry about the rebound from our recent economic recession – you also have to now worry about cyber security. According to Tech Crunch, more and more retailers are succumbing to hackers.
Many retailers, including major clothing, home-improvement, grocery, and restaurant chains have been attacked and successfully breached. “[one retailer] saw 56 million accounts compromised!” The article states that a major reason why most retailers are being breached is because they haven’t converted from mag stripe card readers to more up-to-date systems like chip and PIN. If there’s a takeaway to this: if you have a brick and mortar store – you should update your system to avoid any breaches. Keep in mind that whether it’s your payment processor or you that gets breached – you’ll experience a major dent to your reputation either way. Make sure to choose a cyber-secure payment processor – and update your hardware/software on your end as well.
ProPay has been providing thousands of merchants (with more joining each day) with excellent payment processor services since the 1990s. Contact us today to learn more about our state-of-the-art cyber security measures – and how we can help your business succeed further.
Jan 9 2015
Payment processors are becoming increasingly important as our reliance on the digital world increases. People are now purchasing items via Facebook and other social media sites – as well as using apps on their tablets and mobile phones. For most businesses, the days of simple cash transactions don’t apply anymore. Thus, the payment processor you choose must be well thought out.
Choosing a payment processor that has an excellent history of top cyber security is a must, considering that “hardly a week goes by without hearing of another data breach or a new strain of malware being discovered in the wild.” According to a FireEye Chief Technology Officer, hackers and their malware are only going to create more dire situations for 2015. FireEye is a “cyber security and forensics firm, [and they predict] mobile ransomware will surge in popularity.” They also predict “that point-of-sale (PoS) attacks will also become a more popular method of stealing data and money – and PoS attacks will strike a broader group of victims with increasing frequency.” What’s even worse, since cyber criminals are starting to become more creative, and a lot more are going into the business, payment processors will experience increased attacks.
The deal is, when a payment processor is hacked, the results are tremendous – “a single successful intrusion could provide access to pools of credit card data from many sources…” And sadly, some of these financial records might be your consumers’, which can lead to them placing the blame on you. Thus, make sure that when choosing a payment processor, you pick one that holds sound cyber security procedures – like constantly keeping up-to-date on new cyber security technologies. Some tell-tale signs include them being accredited by cyber security associations, and if they regularly join in on cyber security panels or conventions.
If you’d like to learn more about cyber security breaches regarding financial data, contact us today.