Insureon Blog

When Networking Can Hurt Your Business

16. February 2015 08:11

business people with tablets and smartphones

When you're a small-business owner, you have to be careful about what you publish on social media sites, lest you face a lawsuit over advertising injuries. Plus, you don't want to create a bad impression, so you probably avoid posting those pictures of your drunken beach vacation three years ago.

But even if you only use your profile to publish pictures of your Pomeranians (no judgment here – who doesn't like dogs?), your business can unwittingly be the target of new-fangled phishing scams thanks to the heap of information available on your social media profile. Luckily, you don't have to be a tech wizard to protect your business from these schemes. You just have to know what to look out for.

Sophisticated Scamming Meets Social Media

According to a report by Advisen, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) tracked specific phishing emails used to generate fake wire transfers. The following scams use the data available online or on social media sites to glean information about the targets:

If you and your employees have social media profiles that display work information, a sophisticated crook may learn…

And the business scams are surprisingly effective. IC3's data showed that last year, 1,198 US victims fell for these scams to the tune of $179 million in losses. Just this month, we found out about a scam that hit the country’s 55th-largest company.

The Lesson: Be Careful Who You Befriend on Social Media

Even if you use privacy settings on your business's social media profiles and your employees do the same, scammers can still find ways to dupe you. For instance, they may send a friend request to your business's Facebook account. If your aim is to grow your small business, you're probably not in the habit of turning down connections.

But that's where the danger lies: if you don't know the person, they could be requesting the connection simply to access your information. And you've seen what a clever fraudster can do with your data. They can craft a convincing email that ends with you losing money.

Fortunately, there are some easy steps you can take to minimize the chance of your business being targeted by a phishing scheme:

The real takeaway here is to not get blindsided just because you're busy. The extra time you take in vetting your networking connections can reduce your small business's exposure to scams. To learn more about protecting your business's data, check out the post, "Top 8 Data Breach Misconceptions."

Tags:

Data Breach | General | Risk Management | Small Business | Small Business Risk Management | Small Business Trends | Tips for All Small Businesses

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