Tips On How to Protect Your Brand from Online Fraud

Illustration by Serhii Mudruk via Dribbble

The online world is a vast and intricate place, one that can be perilous to navigate for the company that fails to watch out for cybercrime.

Online fraud can have disastrous consequences for a brand should they fall victim to a deceitful scam.

It is not all doom and gloom by any stretch of the imagination though – when used correctly, the online realm can be an ideal place to grow and nurture a brand.

Brands (no matter how big, small or somewhere in between) need to look out for their safety online.

Fraud can hurt your brand in a number of ways and to some grave extents if left unchecked and undiscovered, so in an effort to make sure this never happens to you, here are some important tips on how to protect yourself as you hurtle down the road toward success.

1. Use the Right Software

Some of the best, most highly advanced fraud detection software, like the ones used in banks, is very capable of sniffing out a fraudster from a virtual mile away.

While you may not need quite the same system, introducing some form of detection software (for example, document verification) will greatly boost your fraud prevention efforts in no time at all.

The right software also pertains to your firewall, your anti-virus program and your encryption tools.

Plus, it is important to remember to always keep your software up to date, including your browsers and the operating systems of any personal devices that you may use to access your company network.

An unprotected, outdated personal device can be a vulnerability in a business network, so try and encrypt your devices, or avoid using personal ones if possible.

A successful identity thief could ruin the good name of your brand and make away with some stolen money and a great deal of sensitive data. Since data privacy concerns are already prevalent in the eyes of many online users, having this happen to you could devastate your branding efforts in the blink of eye.

2. Protect Against Plagiarism

Plagiarism is very serious and it can greatly harm your brand if you fall victim to it. Say your content was stolen by a malicious website and then it was used to entice people into falling for a scam – this can be a stressful, unfair and damaging situation to be in.

Protecting against plagiarism is a must and, thankfully, you can report it directly to Google who understand the gravity of this kind of violation and generally act on it quickly.

If you suspect that your content has been stolen, it is best to act as soon as possible, because failing to do so may result in Google flagging your website and content as plagiarized, and even though this is probably an easy misunderstanding to clear up, it could still result in downtime and negative publicity for your brand.

3. Be Cautious and Skeptical When Making Decisions

Rule number one of spotting a fraudulent email is to be cautious and carefully scan the message for clues.

You can apply this method of skepticism to your general online activity and you might just find that the odds of you falling victim to a cyberattack start to decline.

Scams and malicious website often promise deals that are simply too good to be true, and if this is the case, you should always practice caution when making any online decisions.

In fact, it is likely best to ignore unsolicited emails, adjust your spam settings and never click on suspicious links, ever.

4. Ensure Your Employees Are Digitally Savvy

If a brand develops a name for itself as an untrustworthy operation in today’s digital climate, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to shake that negative label.

Customers look to brands to take care of their data and put their best interests first. If you cannot manage to do this, and human error leads to a breach in your network as a result of online fraud, you could find that your brand image takes a nasty nock.

Avoid this by ensuring that you and your employees are digitally savvy and know how to practice the highest level of cyber hygiene.

Sometimes, offering your staff training opportunities is a good way to boost their skillset and close the digital skills gap.

Every now and again, undertrained employees can inadvertently cause damage to your business by misplacing data or leaving your network open to vulnerabilities.

Vulnerabilities can allow for fraudsters to infiltrate your network and do some immense damage to your brand. Training your staff is probably going to be one of the best ways to reduce the chances of a mistake taking place.

 icon-lightbulb-o Tip: If you are able to develop a company culture that recognizes the inherent business value of online security, you may be able to raise security levels across the board.

5. Conduct Internal Audits

If you suspect your brand is suffering from a fraudulent attack, conducting an internal audit should help you get to the root of the problem.

In the name of good cybersecurity practices, this audit needs to go much further than just the surface.

There are plenty of aspects of a business network to check, such as the router security, personal device encryption, any cloud services you might use, inventory, and any wireless equipment that is operating on your system.

It is also worth conducting a surprise assessment every now and then, as even though it could hurt to hear, inside fraud is still a growing problem for many American businesses.

6. Brand Management

If you are a victim of fraud and the word gets out, brand management is extremely important.

Data breaches are difficult to deal with, and there will be many disgruntled, confused and upset customers to acknowledge, not to mention the power of headlines.

The best way to approach this is to be upfront about the situation with the customers, as this can help reassure them that you are doing and have done everything you can thus far to protect their details from further harm.

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