Not many small businesses do business these days without the services of third-party vendors, some of whom have access to your company’s sensitive information. Even if you run a tight cybersecurity ship, what happens if your accountant loses a laptop or the payroll company that connects to your network experiences a security breach? Your business could be in jeopardy, of course, but that’s not all.
Blog Posts Tagged with Small Business
An employee gets a phone call, pop-up, or email warning about a problem with the office computer. In an effort to be helpful – or perhaps concerned they clicked on something that caused the glitch – the employee follows instructions to send money, turn over personal information, or provide access to your system. As a small business owner, you know it’s a tech support scam, but are you sure every member of your team has the savvy to spot it?
When cyber crooks send messages trying to trick people into disclosing passwords or account information, they often mimic a recognizable email address to make it look like it’s coming from a trusted source – for example, from your company. It’s a practice called spoofing and it packs a double wallop. Not only does it put consumers at risk for identity theft, but spoofing can unfairly damage the reputation for trust you’ve worked hard to earn.
Phishing scammers have gotten more sophisticated. They still send out mass emails asking consumers for credit card numbers or bank account information. But they’re also targeting small businesses by imitating the look of messages your employees routinely receive.
Mention the word “ransomware” at a meeting of small business owners and you’ll feel the temperature in the room drop by 20 degrees. A ransomware attack is a chilling prospect that could freeze you out of the files you need to run your business. When FTC staff met with business owners across the country, you cited ransomware as a particular concern. New resources from the FTC can help protect your company from this threat.
An employee catches up on some work while visiting the local coffee shop. She grabs her Double Mocha to go, but accidentally leaves behind a flash drive with hundreds of Social Security numbers on it. When she returns, the flash drive is gone. Then there’s the staff member who needs to free up file room space. After he tosses a stack of old company bank records into the garbage, a dumpster diver spots the trash and walks away with a windfall.
The FTC hosted roundtables across the country asking small business owners how we can help you address the challenges of cybersecurity. Based on your feedback, we designed to-the-point tips now available at ftc.gov/cybersecurity. Last week we kicked off a 12-part every-Friday Business Blog series with cybersecurity basics.
One of the Utah-based defendants’ corporate names was Vision Solution Marketing, but you need to hear their sales pitch to get a sense of how they peddled their big-money “business coaching” services to consumers. In addition to imposing multi-million dollar judgments, FTC settlements ban the defendants for life from selling business coaching or development services. But you really should listen to these phone calls.
As a small business owner, you know that cyber criminals will steal data any place they can find it, whether it’s from a global giant or a Main Street store. So where can you find just-the-facts security advice tailored to your needs? At ftc.gov/cybersecurity. The FTC has boiled it down to a dozen need-to-know topics for small businesses and we’ll address one each week in the Business Blog.
Do you work for a non-profit? Or maybe you’re on the board of a charity or active in a professional or service organization in your community. If so, you know the group collects all sorts of private information, including details about members or people you serve and financial information related to donors. Your own personal information, too, is probably in the group’s records of employees and volunteers. Cyber criminals would love to get their hands on that data.
Small businesses are concerned about ransomware, email imposters, and other common cyber threats. So FTC staff hosted roundtables to ask business owners what we can do to help. You came from different parts of the country and different economic sectors, but your answers were consistent and you didn’t mince words: 1) You want straightforward advice that’s easy to implement; and 2) You want consistent guidance from the different federal agencies that deal with cyber threats and data security.
Laidlaw v. Organ was an 1817 Supreme Court case concerning an allegedly deceptive trade practice affecting a small business. You may be surprised to learn who argued that case and why it’s relevant 201 years later.
When an emergency strikes, your business’s most vulnerable asset may not be in the stockroom or warehouse. It could be the data that has been central to your success. September is National Preparedness Month. The FTC has six steps you can take to help protect your company’s information from the unpredictable.
If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. But the same can’t be said for a mailer that looks like an official invoice. It could be an “o-fishy-al” offer that deceptively mimics the appearance of a government document.
If you’re in a small business, you probably need a way for people to pay you – and ways to lower your costs. Scammers have been working both of those angles, promising businesses that they can save on leases of credit card processing equipment. They’ve also been promising that businesses can cancel any time. But is that what happens?
Small business keeps America in business. But while you have your shoulder to the wheel and nose to the grindstone, it can be tough to keep an eye out for scammers. That’s why the FTC and law enforcement partners across the country have your back. Just one example is Operation Main Street: Stopping Small Business Scams, a coordinated initiative involving 24 civil and criminal actions against B2B fraudsters.
When it came to Mobile Money Code’s “system,” money was mobile all right. It traveled in a one-way direction from consumers to the pockets of the principals behind the get-rich-quick venture. That’s what the FTC alleged in a lawsuit filed against an international network of defendants. The FTC says they used affiliate marketing to promise that people would earn “60k a month on 100% autopilot,” but the typical consumer never got off the runway.
The company’s name is MOBE – pronounced Mōb, not Moby – but according to a lawsuit filed by the FTC, the defendants tell quite a fish story to the consumers they hook with money-making promises.
A common phrase in the world of charities is that there are many ways to give. Making an online donation is one way, and using an “online giving portal” is becoming a popular option. Check out our new articles – one for consumers and one for businesses – that describe these portals and what to consider before using them.
Vision Solution Marketing and related defendants pitch services to prospective entrepreneurs and people looking to supplement their income. Among the defendants’ products is business “coaching” that sets people back as much as $13,995. But given the host of alleged misrepresentations cited in a lawsuit filed in federal court in Utah, the FTC says the defendants definitely aren’t playing on consumers’ team.