Entries tagged with “Risk”.

Fraud can have disastrous consequences on a small business. Knowing how to identify your risk factors is a key element when it comes to preventing fraud within your enterprise. Because small businesses are more prone to spending less time and money on fraud prevention due to limited assets, the risk is vastly higher than those of huge corporations.

Due to technologies such as mobile devices that can span numerous operating systems, criminals now have even more ways to infiltrate in-house networks to steal your information.

Even though it may sound daunting, small businesses can administer safeguards and procedures that can maximize fraud detection. Consider the following low-cost strategies that can lessen the possibility of fraud for your small business.

-When hiring new employees, be thorough. Call all former employers and always conduct a background check. This can help you to single out potential candidates that may have a criminal background.
-Make sure to implement a standard code of conduct and share it with all of your employees. Make sure that they are aware of any repercussions for not following appropriate protocols.
-Keep close track of all of your bank statements. Be aware of how much is coming in and going out at all times. Being detail-oriented and watching out for inconsistencies is crucial when it comes to taking control of your finances.
-Use firewalls and anti-malware software. Protect your network by using unique passwords that have random upper and lower case letters and numbers.

Sadly, no business is free of the threat of fraudulent behavior. Being diligent when it comes to identifying your risk factors can greatly diminish the chance of being a victim. If you would like more information on fraud prevention, please contact us.

Cyber security breaches regarding financial data seem to be a recurring theme lately.  From large department stores to national banks, hardly a day goes by that you don’t hear about a cyber attack on one business or another.  Just recently news broke that another national brand, this time in the home and office industry, is investigating a possible data breach in the Northeast. In response to all of this, the fourth annual Cyber Security Summit opened Tuesday in Minneapolis.  All businesses, large or small should be aware of not only the possibility, but the probability of this happening to them.  They should be working on ways to beef up their own cyber security.

One of the ways to prevent cyber security breaches is to encrypt your data so that even if it is stolen, it won’t be able to be read. Another is to make sure your systems PCs, laptops, etc. are protected by firewalls and up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware programs. Work out a system for detecting breaches- monitoring traffic and creating a central log of security-related information to alert you to suspicious activity on your network would also be helpful.  Hackers may know your router’s default settings so always change the username and password for new routers immediately.  Did you know that pass phrases are more secure than traditional passwords?  Use long pass word phrases when securing sensitive data. An example of this is “Ilovepizzapie”.  Use proper capitalization in your pass phrase to increase its complexity and make it even more secure.

To find out more on how you can protect your business from potential cyber security threats, please contact us.

If you have ever bought anything using a credit or debit card, chances are there were some extra fees added on.  It’s not uncommon for extra transaction fees to be added onto a purchase, especially when done online, but one thing to watch out for are hidden fees that you are unaware of and which are sometimes undisclosed.

Recently, there have been a couple well known entertainment based companies that have been identified as charging its customers hidden fees during the course of transactions. According to reports, one of the companies was not including these hidden fees in the total price of tickets purchased. Thus, when consumers reached the final confirmation page, it displayed a total that was significantly less than what they were actually being charged.

A few of their undisclosed fees were as follows:

-A payment and processing fee if a costumer used a debit or credit card amounting to 1.95% of the total price.

-Randomly-priced service/delivery fees which were based on each individual event that the ticket was being purchased for.

-A handling fee which was charged solely based on the number of tickets purchased.

In sum, these hidden fees could rack up almost 10% of your total ticket price which you would simply be unaware of. What can you do to prevent being charged hidden fees?

-Be Vigilant! Check your online transactions via your bank’s or credit card’s online account management. Recent transactions show up within minutes – days after the transaction goes through. Do not wait for your monthly statement – this will only slow any recourses you may have of getting a refund on unfair fees.

-If there are any hidden fees charged which were undisclosed, contact the payment processor and dispute them. If you don’t agree with their explanation, contact the Better Business Bureau.

A great payment processor you can trust is ProPay. We have been a trusted, steadfast payment solutions company since 1997 and have never charged our customers hidden fees.  Contact us today for more information.

Cyber security breaches regarding financial data seem to have become increasingly common over the past year.  Our last example of this series gives the example of a large bank corporation that fell victim over the summer. It’s reported that this particular cyber-attack affected nearly 80 million households and small businesses combined.

The hackers reportedly accessed the applications and programs that run the banks computers.  One article described this access point as “a road map via which they could cross check with known vulnerabilities in each program and web application, in search of an entry point back into the bank’s systems.”

The hackers were able to obtain the names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of account holders. While no fraud has been committed yet, the information obtained is a virtual goldmine for those potentially plotting an attack sometime down the road.

The sophistication of the attack has the bank and investigative agencies in shock. The hackers were able to obtain the highest level of administrative privilege, leading some to surmise that they were Russian computer experts, perhaps even backed by the Russian government.

Whatever their origin, the hackers have managed to shake the confidence of businesses and consumers nationwide. Up until this point, banks had been seen as some of the least vulnerable institutions to cyber-attacks due to the extensive security measures which they employ.

The bank is now planning to spend  millions of dollars on new security measures. Ironically, they might have been able to save at least part of this sum if they would have managed to retain more of their security staff. A great many of the individuals employed by them in this particular area had already left to work for other banks, and more are currently preparing to leave.

Having the right staff in place to adequately perform security measures might have saved them not only money, but a great deal of worry as well. For the right security measures to keep your firm’s financial data safe, contact us.

There have been a few famous cyber security breaches regarding financial data in the past year. Here is our next example of one that involved a financial security breach at a large department store.

Hackers broke into the credit card payment system of the department store early last year. The company’s security system apparently issued alerts sixty thousand times but even so, the hackers were able to move around inside the system for more than half a year, all while continually causing alerts every day they were there.

The problem, in this instance, was that the number of alerts that occurred in the system per day was so high that those that corresponded to the actual break-in were only a tiny percentage of the total according to employees at the company. According to some estimates, as many as three hundred and fifty thousand credit cards were exposed during the attack, and some nine thousand have been used by fraudsters since then.

According to some security experts, the main problem was that the point of sales network for the company had all of the registers connected to a central computer. Because of this centralized system, it was easy for hackers to continually add their software back onto registers every day.

The breach could have been prevented had the company more closely monitored the connections between the registers and the central computing system. Every section of the process has to be monitored and secured or a breach at any point could circumvent point of sale security, which is exactly what happened in this case.

For more information about keeping financial transactions secure against hackers, please contact us.