Business owners are dedicated to serving their customers. If you’re an entrepreneur, you know that it’s equally important to dedicate time to protecting your business bank accounts from fraud.
Financial institutions like Kerndt Brothers Bank offer safeguards to help you avoid scams. You can also take steps to help reduce the risk of cybertheft in your company and to minimize the damage if a breach does occur.
Here are some tips to help protect your accounts:
Use systems to protect against “phishing”
Small businesses are sometimes targeted for phishing schemes that trick employees into releasing company funds or sensitive information to fraudsters.
Here’s how one scheme works: A phony email, supposedly from a senior manager, is sent to an employee who handles bank transfers, requesting that money be wired from one business account to another. But the second account would actually be controlled by a fraudster. Once the transfer is made, the money would be withdrawn by the time the fraud is detected.
To protect your business, your company needs a system to provide foolproof verification when fund transfers are requested. For example, you may want your business to require authorization from two or more senior managers for significant disbursements.
You’ll also want to create a system for responding to emails or calls that appear to come from your bank and request passwords or other account details. They may be imposter emails that look authentic, but instead of containing links to your bank, they contain links to copycat websites designed to collect private information. If you receive such an email, go directly to your bank’s official website to continue communication, or call the bank at an official phone number.
Change passwords regularly
Encourage your employees to change passwords regularly, especially if they have access to online financial information. It’s a good habit to select account passwords with combinations of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols, making them harder to decipher.
It’s also a good idea to avoid using the same password for multiple sites and accounts. Otherwise, if a hacker cracks the first password, he would find it easier to get access to the other accounts.
Review bank transactions often
You’ll want to review your business banking transactions online for any odd activity, even if it seems minor. Once hackers obtain a business’s account information, they often try to make a small fraudulent purchase first to see whether it goes unnoticed. If it does, the hackers then attempt to withdraw a major amount. Catching a “trial” theft early can prevent bigger instances of fraud down the road.
It’s also a good idea to regularly monitor your bank statements. If you do find an unauthorized transaction, report it immediately to your banker.
An important part of being a small-business owner is protecting your business accounts from cybercrime. By implementing systems to guard against phishing, changing passwords regularly and reviewing accounts often, you can help make sure your company’s money is in safe hands.
Margarette Burnette, NerdWallet
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