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5 Ways to Protect Your Business from Scams

During busy times, scammers take advantage of reduced capacity to sneak fake emails and false invoices through your business. ASIC has noted specific scammer activity this year that targets ASIC Registry customers and asks them to give personal information or pay fees. While ASIC has nothing to do with these communications, the emails, invoices and links can look scarily convincing. Yikes!

So how can you protect your business from scams?

1. Understand how scams work

The most commons types of email scams are phishing scams and pharming scams. Scamwatch describes phishing scams as “attempts by scammers to trick you into giving out personal information such as your bank account numbers, passwords and credit card numbers”. Pharming scams are cyber attacks that try to redirect you to fake versions of legitimate websites. They do this by infecting your computer with malware — which triggers the redirect — or exploiting a weakness in your DNS server software.

2. Err on the side of caution

If an email looks suspicious — don’t open it! In fact, delete it straight away. Certainly never open attachments or follow links from an email that doesn’t address you directly or asks you to supply personal information online — legitimate companies like ASIC would never do this. If you’re not sure, scan the email attachment with security software before opening it.

3. Keep your anti-virus software up to date

“Remind me later” you might often find yourself clicking. It’s ok — we all do it! But it’s very important that your security software is up to date. Why? Because scammers are experts at finding security holes. Particularly if you’re using common programs and systems because everyone knows when the updates come out. So turn on automatic updates for your operating system and do program updates when they’re available through the official websites. You’ll find your functionality improves too!

4. Use clear operations procedures

Set your business up with very clear procedures and policies that dictate how to manage financial transactions, such as those with ASIC. This applies to paying, managing and verifying accounts and invoices. Limit authorisation on who handles these transactions and make sure they know how to identify scams. Also keep track of when accounts require regular payments. For example, ASIC will issue a renewal notice 30 days before the due date, so anything outside this time frame could potentially be a scam.

5. Use reputable companies and websites

It’s worth investing in reputable suppliers you can trust to keep your business secure, particularly when it comes to finances. When looking at new relationships, do an online search to check recommendations and feedback from other customers. ASIC keeps track of unlicensed companies that have made unsolicited calls to Australians and don’t hold a current Australian Financial Services licence or Australian Credit Licence. Avoid these companies! And if you need more support, CCASA can work with you to manage your ongoing transactions with ASIC.

These 5 tips will help keep your business secure and safe. But if you do suspect a scam, you can report it to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission or visit Scamwatch for more information.

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