Entries tagged with “Data Security”.
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Mar 5 2015
One of the vital functions for any business is payment processing. Finding the right payment processor for your small business is a decision that requires multiple considerations. Below are the services that you should expect from the payment processor you choose.
Experience and Reliability
Check the background of the company you’re considering. In addition to their financial stability, just how experienced are they? Experience and reliability typically go hand-in-hand because they are better able to address your needs and have a team and services that can quickly respond to whatever issues you may encounter.
Clearly Defined Fees
Before you sign up with any payment processor, you should fully understand any fees or charges that you might incur. In other words, what will the actual cost per transaction be. Even if you have a fixed rate, there still might be other fees and charges you need to take into account.
Given recent events, the security of your customer’s credit card data is extremely important. Ensure that any payment processor you’re considering fully complies with industry standards and all regulations when it comes to security. Not doing so could place your company under a legal liability should something go wrong.
Business hours aren’t always 9-to-5 so you need to know that your payment processor will have technical and other support available. In addition, you should have easy and quick access to this support, and the person at the other end of the line should be knowledgeable and helpful.
If you have any other questions about payment processing for your small business, please feel free to contact us.
Mar 4 2015
Tax season is a stressful enough time for most people. Now stress levels are rising to a head after fraudulent tax returns filed using the popular tax preparation software sparked concerns of a possible cybersecurity breach. The fake tax returns were discovered when taxpayers filed their state tax returns and instead were greeted with a message telling them that their taxes have already been filed. In the scam, the tax refund is issued to the fraudster who filed the initial tax return. The company involved did not believe that the system error was the result of a security breach, but that a failure did occur.
Historically, the vast majority of fraudulent tax returns have encountered involved federal tax returns. However, the government has cracked down on federal fraud activities. That has led fraudsters to try to scam state tax returns. The shift toward phony state tax returns is accompanied by an evolution in the methods that thieves are using to compromise financial data. Fraudsters used to file for phony tax refunds by stealing the personal information of taxpayers by using phishing attacks or identity theft. They would then use that information to create accounts and then file with the IRS.
Fraudsters are now taking advantage of weak password protocols. The fact that people use the same password across multiple sites is a major issue. That means a breach at another site that results in stolen passwords means that the information is vulnerable not just from the site where it was stolen, but also across multiple sites. The fraudsters work from a long list of stolen login credentials obtained from breaches at other companies.
Companies need to incorporate strict password protocols that ward off hacker attempts to enter networks. Users need to be aware that if their information was part of a breach at one company, it could be used to try to enter systems elsewhere. Finally, users should take it upon themselves to employ strong password habits: Don’t use the same password across multiple sites and make sure your passwords are strong, and are changed from time to time. To learn more about security procedures, contact us.
Mar 2 2015
It my be tough for many small businesses to offer their customers an option to pay with their credit card or debit card. However, just because it may be tough does not mean it can’t be done. Your small business still has the opportunity to get the competitive credit card processing deals that the other businesses have. How can you achieve this? Follow these small business financial success tips.
Accept Credit Cards
Although it may cost a bit more to accept a credit card, some customers prefer to use their credit cards over any other payment method. If you tell customers that they can not use their credit card, you can miss out on big business. As a small business, you can not afford to miss out on repeating sales.
Choose A Payment Provider That Has Stability
Since there are so many complexities surrounding the security and infrastructure in payment systems, there are now payment and technology providers that are all different in their size and depth. You will want a payment provider that will be able to process debit cards, e-checks, gift cards, and a variety of other payments. You will also need point-of-sale, mobile capabilities, the ability to accept phone payments, web payments, and other features that will fit your needs.
If you have a business plan, that does not necessarily mean you will have success. However, if you do not have a plan, you will certainly have a greater chance of failing. You have to execute all of the ideas that you have put in place. Contact us for assistance in executing all of your financial and business plans.
Feb 18 2015
Thanks to the internet, it’s easy to start a new business. Doing so can be as simple as putting up a site, listing some products for sale, and setting up a way to accept payments. Unfortunately, there is a downside: Many people who open online businesses don’t know what to look out for in order to prevent fraud. Criminals know this, so many of them specifically target small businesses in order to take advantage of that ignorance. Here are some fraud prevention tips for small businesses to help you avoid becoming a victim:
1. Use tracking and shipping insurance. One of the most common scams is for fraudsters to simply claim that they never received the item and then do a chargeback through their credit card issuer or your payment processor. In many cases, simply having the tracking number will be enough to defeat the claim since the shipping company’s site will show that the item was delivered. If that doesn’t do the trick, file a claim under the shipping insurance to get your money back.
2. Don’t get starry-eyed when a big order comes in. Many criminals count on small businesspeople to get so excited over a large order that they’ll stop thinking and just ship without checking things out. Of course, this is when you should check the most. Verify the shipping address and compare it with the billing address. It can even be a good idea to call the phone number given with the order and see if it goes to the person it’s supposed to.
3. Check the customer’s IP address. If everything looks fine on the surface but your intuition is warning you not to ship, look beyond the obvious. Track down the IP of the customer who ordered and run it through one of the services that tell what area the IP came from. It may turn out that the order actually came from a far-off country instead of where the shipping and billing addresses say it did.
4. Watch out for the fraudulent return trick. One little-known scam involves pretending to be an irate customer and demanding a refund. Some of these people won’t have even ordered anything from you to begin with. No matter what they say, always demand the actual return of your item before you go ahead and refund anything. Don’t do the refund until that item shows up at your door. Some surprisingly “disgruntled” people will just go away quietly.
For more tips on preventing fraud and otherwise saving money, just contact us. We’ll be glad to help.
Feb 5 2015
Fraudsters love to try to steal from small businesses. This is because large ones often have strong anti-fraud measures that make it hard for criminals to succeed. Small companies, on the other hand, often have no experience dealing with the shady side of business. This makes them easier to fool into sending out merchandise that will actually never be paid for. To avoid being victimized by this activity, follow these practices for fraud prevention for small businesses:
- Don’t get excited when a colossal order comes in. Instead, be very suspicious. Many thieves place giant orders that stand out above all of the others. This can get a small businessperson very excited and eager to ship in hopes of locking in the sale. Unfortunately, the presence of such an order should be seen as a giant, waving, red flag. Check these orders carefully for the ship-to destination, location of credit card registration, and whether the phone number given is in the area the order supposedly came from.
- If you suddenly experience a huge spike in order volume, step back a bit. Every small businessperson dreams of the day he or she will wake up to an inbox full of transaction notifications! Unfortunately, this could mean that a group of thieves has decided to hit you with a series of little transactions instead of one big one. Don’t assume that Google just gave you a #1 under your dream keyword or that you just got mentioned on CNN. Check and see if something like this has happened, and be very suspicious if your investigations reveal that nothing has changed to bring your company more exposure.
- Don’t assume that a disgruntled person was ever your customer. One unique scam involves a criminal emailing in with vile complaints and demanding a full refund immediately. The catch is that they’ve never dealt with you to begin with! No matter what a “highly disappointed customer” claims, always check and make sure that the person was actually your customer.
- Use a payment processor that has automatic fraud-detection measures in place. Typically, these anti-fraud suites can be set to flag or even automatically deny orders that fail to pass. It’s usually best to choose to flag these orders instead of automatically refusing them. That way, you can perform manual checks and find any legitimate orders that are caught in the initial net.
For more help in preventing fraud from harming your business, just contact us. We’ll be happy to help!