How to Protect Your Online Business from Fraud and Scams

By William Powell

Creating an online business promotes digitization, leading to cross-border brand awareness and limitless e-commerce opportunities. However, these benefits also come with potentially malicious activity. As the business owner, it becomes your responsibility to protect your online business from fraud and scams. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to mitigate the risk of your business becoming compromised or fraudulently represented. 

5 Steps to Protect Your Business from Fraudsters & Scammers

Cyber crime has become a business model, and unfortunately it is incredibly lucrative. As a business owner it is your job to keep your site secure and customer data safe. Given today’s cyber threat landscape it can become a daunting task. By following the five steps below, you can rest a bit easier at night, knowing you are doing your due diligence to protect your business from these looming threats. 

#1 Enable access control  

Data breaches have become far too common for online and brick and mortar organizations. However, this form of cyber crime has also proven to be a fast money maker, so do not expect the threat to slow down anytime soon. To avoid cyber criminals from exploiting your network, you need to secure your assets with proper access control. 

Many organizations have access control in place for data centers or certain file access to avoid fraudulent activity; however you must also consider controlling the access for hardware found within your wireless installation. Being an online business requires constant connectivity, and if someone or something has access to the hardware keeping you connected, it can severely jeopardize your ability to operate. 

#2 Comply with global regulations 

As mentioned previously, creating an online business allows for cross-border brand awareness and even global sales. However, if you are operating in various corners of the world, you must be sure to comply with the proper information security regulations in each region. For instance, businesses who operate, or have customers within the European Economic Area (EEA) must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR.) Similar data privacy regulations are in place around the world. Although the entire US has yet to adopt a regulation similar to GDPR, California has passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) providing California residents more control over their personal data, and how it is shared. Again, compliance with these regulations are mandatory for each region your business operations and serves.

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#3 Keep your customers informed 

Too often scammers will prey on business customers, and thanks to the world wide web, they have a multitude of ways to target your customers. For instance, angler phishing uses social media to create fake accounts to get information from individuals. An example of this would be creating a duplicate page of your business social accounts, and then offering support services through this fake account. They could then request payment information, personally identifiable information, and more. If you see any social accounts misrepresenting your organization, report them immediately. 

To avoid your customers from falling victim, and tainting your brand image, you need to effectively communicate to your customers how and where they can reach you. This requires all outlets from your website and social channels to your Google Business Profile to provide consistent information to avoid customers from straying onto other sites with misinformation. Additionally, if you see any fake accounts, be sure to educate your customers that it is indeed, not your organization. This may be through an email blast, or sharing the fake accounts on social media explaining they are indeed fraudulent. 

#4 Verify your social media accounts

Social media originated for personal use; however, over the years it has developed into a significant marketing opportunity for businesses. Today, social media is still used for personal and business use, but how people use it is different. Individuals are using social media to research companies, check reviews, and even reach out for support needs. By verifying the business social accounts, customers can rest assured knowing they are reviewing accurate information and reaching out to the correct business, instead of a scam account. 

#5 Establish trust 

Trust is a vital element in the conversion and retention process. If a customer does not trust your brand, they likely will not acquire your services or products. Alternatively, if they do have initial trust and buy the product or service, and then become aware of a security breach, or the victim of a scam portrayed as your company – that trust is lost. By taking proactive steps to safeguard your digital infrastructure, like utilizing blockchain technology, you will mitigate that risk. 

The Recap

Customers need to be able to trust that your business is keeping their information secure. By following the above steps, you will be able to establish this trust by reducing the risk of you and your customers from falling victim to cyber crime, scams, and fraudulent activity. 

William Powell is a writer and educator with a passion for marketing. He enjoys learning about the latest business trends and analyzing how global events impact domestic and international economies.



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