One thing I don’t love about running an online business, however, is the possibility of credit and debit card fraud. Dealing with fraud and chargebacks is, quite frankly, a nightmare. Fraud costs me time and money. Worst of all, it threatens the trust that my customers place in me and my business.
With all the news about Target and Home Depot, a lot of small business owners may think that these problems only affect the big retailers. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Small businesses are vulnerable to hackers and fraudsters too. Fortunately, there are many steps we can take to keep ourselves safe from this type of crime. Here are some of those steps:
- Create Strong Passwords: All of your business computers, including employee smartphones, should have strong passwords (not “Password123,” for example) that are changed at least every few months.
- Safely Dispose of Sensitive Data: If a piece of paper has customer credit card information on it, be sure to shred it. Don’t just recycle it or throw it out. Likewise, if you’re going to buy new computers, make sure you delete sensitive data off of the old ones first.
- Install Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware Software on Your Computers: These programs will help block the malware that hackers can use to steal credit and debit card numbers.
If steps like these sound unfamiliar, consider working with a third party security provider to beef up your anti-fraud defenses. In my experience, working with these companies can be very helpful.
By following these and other steps, we small business owners can help reduce our exposure to fraud and keep our customers safe!