Business FraudWhile it’s an unfortunate byproduct of doing business, the risk of fraud is a very important reality that every company must face for their own protection and long-term good.  As more and more processes move to the wild frontiers of the networked world, there are certain common precautions that should be taken by any business.  Here are some of our recommendations for your protection:

1. Beware of Phishing Emails.  While incorrect spellings, broken English and mismatched graphics may have made it easy to spot the scams in the past, cybercriminals are becoming much more sophisticated in their processes.  Today, it’s easier to be fooled and scammed into clicking through something that looks official.  Make sure you pay close attention to the URLs an email is redirecting you to.  If you have any questions about the authenticity or origin of a message, do yourself a favor and call the company to make sure the communication is legitimate.  The time you take to verify is well invested considering the stakes.

2. Protect Your Personal Information.  With an increasing multitude of online sign-ins and accounts, it can be tempting to use simple, easy-to-remember passwords across all of them.  While this makes it easier for you to log in to your accounts, it also makes it easier for cybercriminals to log in to your accounts.   Should you be the victim of a phishing attempt or spyware, you are potentially opening up all of your online information to that individual.  One of the best ways to protect your password is to use a program like Keepass or LastPass to create, store and encrypt your usernames and passwords to your various online destinations.  You can also encrypt the log in to these online sites with a technology like Yubikey, a USB stick that adds a unique key to the end of your passwords that is only accessed by inserting the key into a USB port and pressing the button.

3. Implement Strong Cash Controls.  In addition to your virtual security, you still need to maintain security in your various cash operating procedures.  This means having multiple check signers, a non-signer reconciling accounts, and an impartial third party accounting consultant overseeing the entire process.  The better the checks and balances of your system, the less likely your business is to be the victim of internal monetary fraud.  In addition, it’s important to make sure that all of your employees, especially those coming into contact with money, pass a thorough background check.  This is really a no-brainer, but we didn’t want to fail to mention it.

These are but a few of the most critical points to consider when attempting to protect your company from the various risks of fraud.  The good news is, solid policies and employee education goes a long way in preventing fraud.  If you’d like more information on how we can help you design accounting and/or software implementation policies to protect your company, contact Lescault and Walderman at 866-496-2042.