Be Proactive

Brace your business for the schemes. ACFE emphasizes being proactive: “Establish and maintain internal controls specifically designed to prevent and detect fraud.”

A big part of that is training employees to spot it: “Do workers know the warning signs of fraud?” Ensure that staff know at least some basic fraud prevention techniques.”

Another important step is securing data from hacking attacks. Visa estimates that approximately 85% of data breaches occur at the small business level via schemes that can both steal money and hurt customer confidence.

Says BBB’s Southwick: “If a data breach strikes your business, not only can resolving the issue take an immediate investment of time and money, customer trust can take a serious hit and that will affect your bottom line in the long run as well.”

The Bureau recommends “taking proactive, strategic steps to protect your customer and employee data — and developing a plan for how you would respond should something occur that compromises that data.” (There’s a thorough step-by-step guide from BBB here.)