What you need to know to ensure you don’t get duped

Just when you think you’ve thought of every possible risk when it comes to your business, from viruses to worms to other scams, there’s another danger that’s lurking in cyber space – and that’s phishing schemes. If you’ve never heard of them, or even if you have, it’s crucial to be aware of exactly what they are, how to spot them, and what you can do to prevent your company from falling victim to one. Here’s an overview of what you need to know:

What are phishing schemes?

Phishing schemes are attempts by criminals to lure unsuspecting people into giving them their confidential information. Phishers send out what appears to be a legitimate email from various institutions, including banks, credit card companies, and Internet service providers. These emails not only look real, they are successful at tricking individuals into providing sensitive data, such as social security numbers, bank account numbers, confidential customer data, user names, and even passwords.

When it comes to your business, the damage of a breach like this could be catastrophic. For examples, once the crook has this information, they can hack into your bank account or steal your customer’s credit card numbers.

How do you identify a phishing email?

The problem with phishing emails is that many look very real, especially to the untrained eye. However, you can thwart most of them if you pay close attention and train your team how to spot them. Here are some key things to be on the lookout for:

  • Emails from unknown sources that demand you take action right away
  • Messages that claim your account information or any confidential information is needed
  • Emails that contain words like “urgent,” “an illegal log-in attempt,” or “your account has been suspended”
  • Messages that ask you to confirm any personal or financial information
  • Emails that contain misspelled words or spoofed logos

While these tips can help, the best action to take when you get a suspicious looking email is to delete it right away. And if you’re unsure if a specific message could be fraudulent, do not open it or click on any links.

Train your team

One of the most common ways that businesses fall victim to phishing schemes is when an employee unknowingly opens a fake email or gets hooked. They give up confidential information without hesitation, thinking that they were doing the right thing. To avoid any weak links in your line of defense against phishers, make sure you educate your workers on what phishing emails look like and what to do when they receive one. There are so many different ways that phishers try to dupe their victims, it’s a good idea to hold a training session to go over what your team needs to be on the lookout for.

Other tips on avoiding an attack include:

  • Make it a company policy that employees are not allowed to give out any financial or confidential information without approval
  • Invest in anti-spam and anti-virus software
  • Make sure your accounting department is on the lookout for any suspicious transactions on your business accounts and credit cards

Mistakes happen and people get fooled. It’s a sad reality that we even have to be on our toes for fear that a criminal will trick us. But knowledge is power and the more you know and understand about phishing schemes and other Internet crimes, the better prepared you are to protect yourself and your company.

Consider investing in cyber liability insurance

In addition to following these tips, make sure your business is covered with cyber liability insurance. This type of policy will protect you in the event that your data is breached and it can be the difference between a simple inconvenience and suffering a major loss. There are many different types of coverage available, so if you’re not sure what you need, give us a call at 305-648-7070 and we will be delighted to discuss your options.