Tips to Prevent Fraud and Increase Cyber Security

June 17, 2019

The SEC published an investigative report in 2018 on the cyber threats that are lurking around businesses. The investigation brought to light just how severe cyber threats were with nine different public companies losing over millions each in two different schemes. One of the schemes had a company lose over $45 million from a wire transfer to an incorrect account number.

Over $100 million were estimated to have been lost due to cyber attacks and most of it was unfortunately never recovered. In the same investigation report, the FBI can be quoted that over $5 billion has been lost since 2013 due to business email compromises. The two main email schemes investigated by the SEC were those that involved fraudsters emailing a company and pretending to be either a vendor or a company executive and requested that their funds be diverted to another account, the scammers. Think your and your team are too skilled to fall victim to internet scammers? Think again.

Big and Small Entities

Right now, you are probably sitting there thinking, “How could this have happened at a large business with super fancy high tech security gadgets?”. Fraud unfortunately can happen anywhere and with any organization no matter what size. Fraud usually begins with a cyberthreat of some kind. Email and online interactions make it very easy for fraudsters to pretend that they are someone else. Earlier this year two school districts lost over $5 million dollars that were set aside for new building construction and improvements. How did this happen? Well, an employee was convinced by email that the vendor bank account numbers needed be changed. Identity fraud and email scams are not isolated to just one industry. It’s nationwide!

Little ways to prevent fraud

Employees are both the biggest risk and an important portion of a business when it comes to protecting a company from fraud. Below are simple steps that employees of any sized business can take to help prevent any company from becoming victims of fraud.

  1. Pay Attention to a company’s information security policies.
  2. Don’t Click on email links or attachments. Instead, type the link into your web browser when wanting to open a link. For attachments, avoid receiving them without having them scanned for viruses first. Use a portal system that allows documents to be shared directly to individuals that aren’t sent through email servers.
  3. Review information that is coming in. Glance at the email address that messages are coming from, the spelling and grammar included in the body of the message and keep up to date on the current trends of cyber security breaches. By doing so you will be able to know what red flags to be on the lookout for.
  4. Use different passwords for different websites or access points. This helps reduce the possibility of a hacker being able to access all your information. We suggest using a password storage tool. This will allow you to save all of your information in one spot while all you need to do is remember one super strong password instead of multiple weak ones.
  5. Verify. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, particularly if the request is a little out of the ordinary, outside of the usual procedures or it’s coming from someone that you are unfamiliar with. For any request, call the client, vendor or individual to verify the request made.

How we help to increase our clients’ cyber security

As you all may know at this point in the year, we do not hold conversations via email that may contain your personal and important information. Liscio is our portal that offers a secure way of communication and data sharing between us and you. Continue to message team members regarding your taxes, scheduling meetings or asking questions. The risk of email fraud is significantly reduced when using Liscio. Now that we have successfully cleared tax season take time this summer to roam around the Liscio website and mobile app. Check out individual messaging, document uploading and review your and your business’s information. The more information we have in Liscio the more we will be able to use it to its maximum capabilities. If you are still a little hesitant, please feel free to reach out to us to schedule a simple training session. We want to make sure you are good to go before next tax season. 

 

 

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