We only have to turn on the news these days to hear yet another story about the perils of online fraud. Fraudulent websites pretending to be legitimate but only existing to steal your money, fraud perpetrated via identity theft and fraudulent emails sent by criminals pretending to be genuine businesses who simply want you to update your personal details, only for those details to be sold to somebody else and used illegally. It’s an absolute minefield out there in the digital space and that makes it very hard for businesses to build and maintain the trust of their customers and for consumers to feel confident in using the Internet to do business.
Here are three important reasons you should avoid online fraud (and what you can do about it should you fall foul).
14 Million instances of identity theft in the US in 2018
We’re all guilty of spreading our personal information across the internet with great regularity, in fact we don’t really have a choice given the sheer number of opportunities to do so via social media, a plethora of online retail environments and any number of digital services and devices vying for our data. The issue isn’t the quantity of instances of our information but rather how secure it is both locally on our devices and externally in the cloud or on other servers. Without the requisite protection a business is likely to suffer the kind of malicious attack that can very quickly extract customer data that can be sold on to nefarious cyber criminals who are very good at making money out of our stolen identities. Protecting this data should be an absolute priority; best left in the capable hands of an expert team of cyber security professionals, like this company, and supported by your own network security protocols and keeping your team highly trained and aware of the potential dangers.
60% of businesses go bust within a year of a massive data loss
Another significant issue if a business is fraudulently attacked is data loss. Unsecured data, that isn’t regularly backed up, can lead to huge financial losses for businesses and customers alike. Almost all businesses rely on copious amounts of data to run smoothly on a day to day basis. Stock levels, customer information, logistics and financial data are all in constant use and the loss, theft or disruption of any of it can lead to tricky and expensive situations. Mitigate potential data loss with robust data backup plans. Regular backups to the cloud supported by a physical copy of your business critical data on a hard drive, that can be kept securely at a different location, can keep all bases covered.
Fraudsters can damage your online reputation
If your systems are compromised, your identity stolen, your data lost or you suffer any one of a number of potential digital disasters that can befall and unprotected network, there can be a knock-on effect to your reputation. Social media especially can give a voice to disgruntled customers, unhappy that their personal data has been hijacked and sold to the nearest online fraudster and lead to your brand being co-cited alongside these criminals. The press and PR organizations tend to have a field day with hot topics like cyber crime too so it pays huge dividends to ensure your digital reputation management strategy is well considered.
Avoiding online fraud can keep you and your customers safe from the clutches of cyber criminals, retain your business critical data and keep your positive online reputation intact.