As security breaches become more sophisticated, more detrimental and more widespread, small business owners and consumers alike should be aware of the possible types of fraud they could fall victim to. There is a fine line, however, between being aware and being paranoid. Personal information, credit and debit card numbers, and other commonly targeted assets are all necessary means for doing business, so while executives, security experts and legislatures confront the growing threat of fraud, business owners should remain cautious without becoming too paranoid to operate.
It can be near impossible to do business cash only, and can most likely be impossible to secure a business loan based on a cash-only business history. Lenders often require payment history and cash flow when considering a small business for a loan, and by operating a business on cash, it can be hard to provide this type of information. You may also be limiting yourself to customers who are willing to pay with cash.
So what are business owners to do when teetering between the risk of business fraud or scaling back their business by operating cash-only? One suggestion would be to take advantage of the lessons that previous instances of business fraud can teach you to help reduce the chances of fraud:
- Constantly monitor your account activity. Depending on the size of your business, this may seem like a time-guzzling task, but mobile apps and websites make checking your various bank accounts fairly quick and easy.
- Take the time to educate your employees about business fraud and teach them how to be cautious when opening emails, visiting websites on the business’s network, and disclosing business information.
- Make sure you are doing business with people who are equally careful with their business accounts and information. A security breach on one of your supplier’s computers could put your company’s information in the hands of thieves, for example.
- Communicate regularly and candidly with your customers. It is important to communicate with customers to help create trust so they feel safe doing business with you. Let them know that you have increased security measures in light of recent cases of business fraud, if that is the case.
One way to help protect your business is to use Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp.’s tools. If you’re interested in real-time monitoring of your business identity for changes, inaccuracies, and missing information; as well as alerts to activity within your business credit file that may indicate identity theft, including changes to your business name, address, phone number, ownership, and website address, consider CreditMonitor™ to help you protect your company.
Photo Cred: Altemark, Flickr