If you ever think you might be victimized by fraud, you probably are. Businesspeople are typically victimized by fraud in several ways.

When people see an opportunity to make a fast dollar, it’s because of their arrogance. They assume they’re smarter than the system. In intricate financial deals, they don’t hesitate to jump at the chance.

Businesses are vulnerable when their management information systems don’t produce accurate, detailed and timely reports.

Revenue streams can be disguised in complex organizational structures. Salespeople exploit employers by manipulating their sales results to get year-end bonuses.

Don’t be complacent in placing your trust. You can anticipate fraud if your company isn’t independently audited.

You should be taking precautions for clear moral behavior with excellent accounting controls, including monthly reconciliations of your bank account.

Ironically, you can be victimized in surprising ways.

Here are 10 simple tips you might not know:

1. Be astute what you share on social media. If you publicly share your Facebook page, crooks will learn information that can be easily anticipated to answer security questions asked by your bank and credit card accounts.

For example, don’t share your birth date, where you were born, information about your family members or maiden name.

2. Don’t let your bookkeeper write checks, sign the checks and reconcile the bank statements.

3. If you discover an embezzlement by an employee, threaten to file a 1099 form with the Internal Revenue Service unless the money is repaid in full within the three-year statute of limitations.

You’ll simplify your nightmare. Embezzlers are often more afraid of the IRS than the threat of prosecution. In this way, you’ll get a tax deduction for your loss, and the IRS will pursue the employee for the taxes.

4. Don’t use just any flash drive. If you find one lying around, don’t be tempted to use it. Fraudsters often leave them lying around sometimes marked with a label, “confidential.”

You see, the flash drive might contain a virus. When you plug it in, you’ll make it possible for criminals to steal important information for their fraudulent purposes.

“The challenge for capitalism is that the things that breed trust also breed the environment for fraud.”

-James Surowiecki

5. When you dispose of your copier, remove the hard drive. Copiers contain hard drives that record information from all documents you print.

Crooks buy used copiers and hook them up with their computers to get information about every document the former owner copied.

6. In shredding documents, know that regular shredders make you vulnerable. For a veteran criminal, it takes very little time to reassemble the papers. So use a micro-shedder.

7. Don’t use a water-based ink pen to sign checks; chemicals can easily wash checks. Prevent crooks from easily altering your checks. But a low-cost Uni-ball 207 pen.

Instead of using your debit card, use a credit card. If they get access to your debit card, they can steal your money. But they’re stealing from MasterCard or Visa when access to your credit card.

8. The monthly charge for a credit-monitoring service – tracking the three credit bureaus – is a lot less than what a fraud will cost. You’ll be getting information in real time, not after the fact.

9. Only buy checks through your financial institution. Checks sold by online check-firms and other inexpensive small providers or are just that – inexpensive and cheaply printed – leaving you open to fraud.

The best firms take security measures, such as high-resolution borders, prismatic printing, thermochromatic ink and toner anchor.

10. Use your bank’s Positive Pay system. In this process, you give the bank your checks’ numbers and amounts paid.

This is important because the bank will automatically reject fraudulent checks – ones with wrong amounts or numbers.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are additional relevant tips:

Embezzlement Tips to Protect Your Nonprofit or Company Assets —  Embezzlement is a widespread nightmare in business and the public sector. If you surf the Internet using the key word, embezzlement, you’ll find seemingly countless headlines. Upper management commits 18 percent of fraud, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) in 2010. ACFE also said accounting department employees commit 29 percent of fraud.

Liars and Cheats – Clues You’re Dealing with a ‘Pinocchio’ in Business — Italian writer Carlo Collodi probably had no idea what he was starting in 1883 when he wrote the children’s novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio. It was the story about a woodcarver who created a wooden puppet that wanted to become a real boy. Pinocchio’s short nose would grow longer whenever he told a lie.

Strategies to Prevent Internet Terrorism — Online Fraud — Merchants are certainly aware of online fraud. But are their efforts working? Apparently not for many.

Identity Fraud Escalates in Smartphones, Social Media — Skyrocketing mobile malware threats amid widespread use of BYOD, bring your own devices, will lead to a $1.88 billion services market in 2013. That’s according to ABI Research. Cybercriminals are successfully attacking vulnerabilities in individual devices and networks to an ABI report.

11 Travel Tips – Save Money, Prevent against Cyber Theft, Fraud — The most vulnerable travelers are businesspeople. That’s because they have to use Internet and e-mail. They’re in danger expressly from vulnerabilities, such as from wirelessly accessible passports to using WIFI.

Security Steps for Your Mobile Device in Online Banking, Purchases — Almost 90 percent of Americans use a cell phone and more than 50 percent have smartphones, according to published reports. They also indicate 28 percent of smartphone owners use their devices for online banking.

“The challenge for capitalism is that the things that breed trust also breed the environment for fraud.”

-James Surowiecki


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.