You’ve heard about the “dark web” and wondered how it affects businesses – including small businesses. That was one of the topics addressed at an FTC conference earlier this year on identity theft. Recent headlines about high-profile data breaches have added even more urgency to the discussion. So why should the dark web matter to your company?
Blog Posts Tagged with Small Business
In our Stick with Security blog series, we’ve done our best to dive deeper into data security by focusing on the lessons learned from recent cases, insights from closed investigations, and the questions and comments we’ve received from businesses.
If you own a small business or work for one, you’re probably concerned with protecting your business’ data. You want to make sure that sensitive information isn’t accidentally deleted, turned over to a scammer, or hacked. So this week, during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, let’s focus on making sure you know the resources the FTC has to help you and your employees understand cybersecurity, maintain your business’ computer networks safely, and keep sensitive information protected.
High-profile hackers grab the headlines. But some data thieves prefer old school methods – rifling through file cabinets, pinching paperwork, and pilfering devices like smartphones and flash drives. As your business bolsters the security of your network, don’t let that take attention away from how you secure documents and devices.
Recent headlines offer a reminder that no business is immune from cyberattack. If you’re a tax professional, the sensitive information you handle makes you a particularly appealing target. Find out how to reduce your cyber risk at a free webinar for tax professionals.
It sounds like there was some “inventing” going on at Florida-based invention promotion firm World Patent Marketing, but a Preliminary Injunction in a case brought by the FTC suggests it wasn’t the kind that unsuspecting consumers bargained for when they forked over millions of dollars based on the defendants’ misleading promises about patenting and promoting their products.
Ask a business person where their office is located and the likely answer is “everywhere.” They’re working from home, staying in the loop while traveling, and catching up on email between sales calls. For productivity’s sake, many companies give their employees – and perhaps clients or service providers – remote access to their networks. Are you taking steps to ensure those outside entryways into your systems are sensibly defended?
Who’s coming in and what’s going out? Businesses that want to stick with security build commonsense monitoring into their brick-and-mortar operations. Whether it’s a key card reader at the door or a burglar alarm activated at night, careful companies keep an eye on entrances and exits.
Tax professionals are prime targets for identity thieves. Why? Your clients’ information — bank and investment accounts, Social Security numbers, medical records, and more — can be a virtual goldmine in the wrong hands. That’s why securing it against a data breach is critical to protect your clients and your business.
When it comes to data security, what’s reasonable will depend on the size and nature of your business and the kind of data you deal with. But certain principles apply across the board: Don’t collect sensitive information you don’t need. Protect the information you maintain. And train your staff to carry out your policies.
Legend has it that King Arthur gathered his knights at a round table. Because the table had no head, it signaled that everyone seated at it was respected, and their contributions were welcome. At the FTC, we love the concept of a round table. It's a way to bring together stakeholders for a mutually beneficial discussion.
Our job at the Bureau of Consumer Protection is to protect consumers by enforcing the FTC Act’s prohibition on deceptive and unfair practices. It’s important that we carry out that mission effectively and efficiently.
Of course, phantom debt collection – the practice of pressuring people to pay “debts” they don’t owe – harms consumers. But as an FTC complaint demonstrates, when phantom debt collectors strike, they could affect your company, too. According to the FTC, a Florida-based outfit engaged in a scheme to defraud consumers through the collection of debts people didn’t actually owe or the company didn’t have the authority to collect.
It typically started with a schmoozy call to an unsuspecting small business or nonprofit. Sometimes the caller claimed to be “confirming” an existing order, “verifying” an address, or offering a “free” catalog or sample. Then came the supplies surprise – unordered merchandise arriving at the company’s doorstep followed by high-pressure demands to pay up.