Identity thieves are on the rise, easily tampering with ATMs and public credit card readers with ‘skimming’ devices that the average person may not recognize. It’s all over the news that Target and Neiman Marcus had been hit with massive credit and debit card security breaches. The BBB is issuing warnings about “One Ring” calls because if you return the call, it may lead to big international charges. Locally, a Beloit, WI business reported that it was a victim of a “name hijacking.”
Business name Hijacking. The hijack in Beloit was in the form of a duplicate website being created, nearly identical to the business website. The criminals behind fraudulent website scams use the online storefront of your business to collect data, make threats and ultimately collect money. They will sometimes use a website like yours, but with a different suffix. (Instead of “.com” they will use “.net”)
- Be vigilant. Start by monitoring your company name and address on the internet. Do this on a regular basis because if you find fraud in early stages, you’ll be more likely to recover. Your reputation and future business is at stake. If you don’t have time to do this on your own, hire a professional.
- Report cybercrime. File a complaint with your local police department and the FBI’s cybercrime division. They can investigate and have the scam site shut down. In the meanwhile, put a “scam alert” on your own website. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is another valuable resource.
Investigate Suspicious Activity such as requests to verify orders you didn’t place, receiving phone calls to verify business details, and invoices for things such as storage and shipping charges that just doesn’t make sense.
Credit Cards. Your business credit card offers far more fraud protection than a business debit card. With debit cards, if you wait too long to report the fraud, your bank account could be cleaned out and your bank might not reimburse you. Credit card or debit, use caution when purchasing from an ATM, even to purchase gas “Skimming devices” are very difficult to detect! Even after looking at the photos, I don’t think I could spot one?
- Avoid using ATMs which are poorly lighted.
- Choose a bank ATM over standalones.
- Protect your pin by covering the keypad with one hand.
- If anything looks unusual, give it a wiggle. (Loose parts, suspiciously placed cameras and unusual signage are all red flags.)
The best prevention is education. Be aware and stay square!