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What Your Employees Need to Know About The Latest Scams

Posted March 12, 2015 by Lynn Brown


Are your employees up on all the latest scams targeting small and medium size businesses?

With March being Fraud Prevention Month, it’s a good time to better protect your business and ensure you have the right safeguards in place. 

Cyber attacks against small businesses rose by 31% in 2013 compared to the year before making them the fastest-growing group of targets, according to an article posted at Small Business Edge.

But more than 40% of small businesses don’t have an adequate IT security budget, according to a 2013 Ponemon study.

While insider fraud is also an on-going concern, here’s a look at some of the most prevalent scams that are being used to commit fraud and identity theft.

Pretender/Office Supply: One of the top 10 scams identified by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in 2014, scammers use fake and urgent invoices for services and supplies such as online advertising, paper rolls, etc.

Affinity: The top financial scam on the BBB list, the fraudster infiltrates a close community such as a workplace and lies to gain trust and steal money usually through an investment scheme.

Hit-and-run: Forecast to be one of the top scams in 2015 by, victims are tricked into handing over money they don’t owe for everything from bogus fines and unpaid taxes to supposedly unpaid utility bills.

Directory: A caller verifies a listing in a (fake) business directory, and charges for it.

Malware: A persistent threat in 2015, expects to see a further switch in emphasis to malware downloads on smartphones.

Mobile phone: Fraudsters call or text but hang up. The missed call is registered and many business people call the number to find out who called – and get charged for it.

Healthcare and Affordable Act: This is the newest scam according to – con artists offer cheap (actually non-existent) insurance.

Phishing and scam: Unsolicited or junk email or calls are used to trick people into clicking on a link or pop-up message or providing confidential information.

What can a company do to improve fraud prevention?

  • Have a written and comprehensive security policy that adheres to compliance standards and provides the workplace with leadership and direction.
  • Utilize current technology to protect employee and customer data and the company’s network.
  • Introduce a BYOD policy that champions proactive security measures including anti-virus/anti-malware software on mobile devices. It should also outline rules and responsibilities around data access, device use, and employee behavior, in and out of the workplace.
  • Create a list of authorized vendors and suppliers, and implement strict controls and procedures on purchasing and accounting processes, according to The Little Black Book of Scams.
  • Keep employees up-to-date by communicating information about scams in newsletters, intranets, by email and via bulletin boards.
  • Provide a tips hotline, and teach employees how to spot fraudulent behavior in the workplace.
  • Encourage secure work habits. Implement a Clean Desk Policy. Partner with a document shredding company so that all confidential information in digital and paper form is destroyed when no longer needed; the company should provide locked consoles and secure destruction services. Use a Shred-all Policy too.

For more ways to fight fraud, find out how to secure your office’s five most vulnerable areas.

Let Shred-it help keep your workplace secure.

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