Tag Archives: Fraud

Another Way to Protect your Data

There’s no end of articles out there telling you how to protect your data. Having strong passwords is obvious. But think about employees and independent contractors that have access to your online data.

When is the last time you reviewed who has access to your online accounts? People move on, and task assignments change. People who work for you should only have access to the data they need in order to do their job. No more, no less.

Invest the time to review and update who has access to your online accounts on a regular basis. While you’re at it, change those passwords too. Doing so could reduce your risk of damage to your finances and reputation.

Here’s a list of places to start:

*Accounting Software
*Online Banking
*Employee Benefits
*Credit cards (online access and physical cards)
*Sites you purchase from online
*Twitter
*Facebook
*LinkedIn
*HootSuite
*SproutSocial
*WordPress
*Newsletter software (MailChimp, Constant Contact)
*Online document sharing (Dropbox, GoogleDocs)

Are you a victim of fraud?

I have had the misfortune on several occasions to speak with business owners who were victims of fraud. Fraud can destroy your business by the way of ruined relationships and cash flow problems that force you into bankruptcy.

Regardless of the size of your business, you don’t have to spend a lot of time and money to reduce your exposure to fraud. Simply put, set boundaries and hold the people who work for you (or otherwise represent you) accountable. Some see these accountability measures as an accusation. (You don’t trust me! or But we’re all friends!) I call them protection. In the words of Ronald Reagan, “trust but verify.” Accounting is about financial responsibility and transparency.

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What is Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV)?

EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa. What is it and how will it affect you and your business?

U.S. banks will be switching to this new type of credit card by October of 2015. All cards will be equipped with a super-small computer chip that is extremely hard to counterfeit. Europe already has this technology in use in an effort to combat fraud. According to current statistics, the U.S. is currently the capital of credit-card fraud. Here is a link explaining the vulnerability of the U.S. to credit fraud that may help you understand the advantage of the new computer chip technology vs. the old magnetic strip technology:  – http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-12-23/why-the-u-dot-s-dot-leaves-its-credit-card-system-vulnerable-to-fraud

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How to Protect Your Debit Card

The debit card hacking debacle at Target was unraveling as I was traveling across country to visit family for the holidays. Being so far from home, canceling my debit card was not really an option. During a phone call with my bank I learned a lot about how to protect my debit card.

Most banks allow you to change the pin for your debit card by calling the number on the back of the card and using their automated system. It’s a good idea to do this periodically and takes only a few minutes.

Your bank will automatically set a daily spending limit on debit purchases. Not only was I not aware this limit existed, I was shocked to see how high my bank set this limit on my behalf. Call your bank to set this limit to match your spending habits. That way if your card is hacked, you can limit the damage.

Just as there is a daily debit purchase limit, there is an ATM withdrawal limit that is separate from the limits set by the ATM machines. Again, I was surprised to see how high the bank set that limit. When you call your bank to change the daily debit purchase limit, change this one as well.

And don’t forget about your online banking password. When is the last time you changed it? I know, it’s another password to remember but it’s for your own protection. And while you are at it, if you have the option of choosing different security questions, do that as well.

Finally, log in several times a week to review your transactions and immediately contact your bank regarding any questionable transactions, no matter the dollar amount.