Even the most seasoned business owner can be vulnerable to email scams. Read on to find out how to identify email scams and what business owners can do to protect themselves.
Businesses that cultivate an online presence are especially susceptible to cyber attacks. If a fraudster is able to access a computer containing important information about the business, it can be easily stolen and exploited for malicious purposes — which is why it is important to be prepared in the event of such scams.
Here are some ways for business owners to combat email scams:
- Be wary of suspicious emails
- Activate multi-factor authentication for all online accounts
- Change passwords every now and then
- Notify customers immediately
- Get in touch with authorities
Be wary of suspicious emails
The phrase “think before you click” must be taken into heart by business owners who want to save themselves from possible email scams. Basic email attacks or spear phishing has become increasingly prevalent in the past years, with entities from cybercriminals to spammers to international spies using this scheme to malign unknowing businesses.
Spear phishing scams appear as regular emails and are links that trick victims into divulging critical information — such as usernames and passwords — or download malicious software into the computer’s system. If an email looks suspicious and has a weird, seemingly made-up address like “mailnator.com”, chances are very high that this is a phishing scam. Businesses would do better to refrain from clicking these links and report it to authorities instead.
Activate multi-factor authentication for all online accounts
One of the most simple yet effective ways for businesses to protect themselves against email scams is to secure their online accounts, particularly for emails and social media. Google mail, Facebook, Instagram and online banking services almost all have a multi-factor authentication system, a fail-safe way of protecting a business against email scams.
A multi-factor authentication system safeguards a particular account from possible scammers by sending a confirmation code to the account owner’s phone or backup email if the system detects an unusual log in from an unrecognized location or a device. Business owners simply need to confirm by entering the passcode sent to their device in order to authenticate the login.
Change passwords every now and then
Another easy yet effective way for business owners to protect their business from possible scams is by periodically changing passwords on all of their business’ relevant accounts.
Passwords should always be long and complex, ideally a mixture of letters, numbers and special characters, if applicable. Some experts recommend that businesses should refrain from using words found in a dictionary as most hackers utilising programs that enter every word found in a dictionary to force entry into a website.
It is also essential to refrain from picking passwords that can be directly related to the nature of the business. Instead, consider creating passwords that are acronyms for certain songs, quotations or movie lines which are harder to decipher in the event of a possible phishing attempt.
Moreover, business owners should always keep in mind that emails should be closely guarded since these are gateways for hackers who want to gain access to other accounts such as social media profiles.
Notify customers immediately
If the business unfortunately falls victim to any kind of email scam, one of the first things that business owners should do aside from securing their accounts is to immediately notify their customers of the said scam. This mitigates the possible risk of scammers targeting the business’ customers.
If the business has a solid social media presence, they can opt to announce the said scam on a particular platform, although the best way to do this is to announce the scam on all platforms so business owners can be sure that all customers are properly informed.
Get in touch with authorities
If a business owner has confirmed that an email scam has indeed victimised their business, it is best to immediately report this to the proper authorities that can take proper actions against the scammer. If customers become inadvertently affected by the email scam, business owners can advise their customers to forward email scam occurrences to the same authorities who are in charge of the business’ email scam case.
Business owners can also go the extra mile and educate their customers on the importance of securing their own emails and personal accounts so they can be protected against malicious entities. Learn more about outsmarting online scammers here.