5 Things Businesses Can Do to Protect Consumers From Credit Card Fraud

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Data breaches rose 49 percent between 2013 and 2014 and compromised over one billion data records across 1,500 incidents worldwide, according to Gemalto Worldwide Digital Security. Perhaps even more alarming, the report found malicious outsiders were responsible for just 55 percent of data breaches in 2014, while 22 percent were caused from insiders.

Protecting your company from credit card fraud is on the forefront of your mind as a business owner. Beyond protecting yourself, preserving the integrity of your customer’s data and credit cards is paramount to keeping your reputation in-tact, keeping your business running and exercising your moral responsibility. As each passing month seems to bring new corporate data breaches with litigious multi-million dollar price tags attached to settle the damages, it can be intimidating to know how to get started in protecting your customers. Here are five simple ways to get started:

Update All Payment Processors

As of October 1, 2015, all businesses in the United States are required to use an EMV-enabled point-of-sale system or be held liable for any damages. Standing for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, EMV payment systems read the new chip-enabled credit cards that offer more protection to customers. Point-of-sale platforms and services, like Sage, provide both physical and online payment solutions that meet these new standards. The Sage website also offers more information on how EMV payment systems protect your company and get you up and running without interrupting your business.

Develop Anti-Fraud Work Policies

Developing a work culture with checks and balances may seem unnecessary to many small business owners, but it’s an unfortunate reality that malicious insider activity was responsible for 22 percent of data breaches in 2014. Small businesses may be especially susceptible due to a lack of resources to hire an employee to oversee security issues in the workplace.

Protect your company from internal fraud with small steps, checks and balances. Create a simple, safe and anonymous system for employees to report internal fraud for investigation. Require rigorous training for employees engaging with cash and receivables to spot bad reports and suspicious practices, and do thorough background checks on all employees.

Update Your Systems

Take inventory of your equipment and see what updates need to be completed and security features need to be added. Failing to update software and passwords can lead to easy access from hackers and malicious activity. Don’t ignore those pesky prompts and alerts, either. Many of the tools you use, from your banking apps to Chrome, send out automatic update notifications as well as alerts about potential data breaches of their own.

Switch to the Cloud

It’s true cloud computing has the potential to be breached like any other system. But moving your network, call center, files and media to cloud-based systems can reduce the risk to your own systems. Cloud-based vendors typically employ robust encryption features, around-the-clock data monitoring and crisis response. Unless you have your own dedicated employee to keep your data safe, it’s worth exploring how moving your business to the cloud can reduce both your risks and overhead.

Go Public

Even big brands with enormous security budgets can end up with messy data breaches on their hands. They may consult with multiple legal teams before going public, but they still end up sharing the information openly. If your company does encounter fraud, follow that example by letting your customers know what happened, what type of information was stolen, what else may have been compromised and what you are doing to solve the problem.

Offer identity theft monitoring services and required legal assistance if your customers end up facing a financial crisis. The sooner your company takes accountability for the issue and works toward a resolution, the sooner you can get back to solid ground and continue building upon a reputation for being proactive.

There are many things you can do to help protect your business and your customers from credit card fraud. Take the basic steps to prevent it from happening, and be upfront and proactive if it does. Your customers will appreciate your honesty and hard work in the long run.