More and more your cashflow is at the risk of hackers. It may be money that’s due to you being redirected into a different bank account. Or, it could be you paying bills owing to your suppliers into the wrong bank account.
I’ve recently had the situation with a client where they received emails purporting to be from a supplier. The emails advised details of a new bank account. The challenge was that the emails looked legit.
I think the challenge as small business owners, is we’re so busy that we don’t stop and think. We accept the email from the hackers as real and act on it without considering whether it makes sense.
The last thing you want is to pay your hard-earned money to the wrong bank account. When you’re believing that you’re paying your supplier, only to find out you haven’t. This creates a whole rigmarole of contacting banks to get your money back.
Not only is this a nuisance, frustrating and time wasting for you, but you’ve left your supplier out on a limb without payment. Unless you have the funds to pay the bill again into the correct account. And then wait to get your money back from the wrong bank account payment.
Then there’s the situation when it’s your invoice that has been paid into someone else’s bank account. The incoming cashflow you were expecting to come in and were relying on isn’t there when you expected it.
I’m not sure which is worse. Both can have a severe impact on your cashflow. But, here are three tips to prevent this situation from happening in the first place.
Communicate to your customers or clients how you will tell them if there is a need for you to change bank accounts. You could include this information in a few different places. For example, in your terms and conditions, on your invoices, and in the email you send with your invoices.
Let them know to contact you immediately if they receive any notification of a change in your bank account. The quicker they tell you of a potential breach of your security (email or otherwise), the sooner you can take action to minimise the ongoing risk.
When you’re on the receiving end of a notification of a bank account change, phone them. Phone them, even if it does look like it’s real.
Make sure you phone the number you have on file for the supplier. The phone number that is on the email or correspondence you’ve received may not be your suppliers’ number.
The quicker you get on the phone to check, the better it will be for your supplier. They may not know that they have been hacked. Remember, you’d want to be told as quickly as possible if the shoe was on the other foot. So, do unto others as you’d want done unto you.
There’s a wonderful app called Snapchat that a client of mine told me about. It’s a quick and secure way to send bank account or credit card details. When the receiver of the email clicks the link to open the secure information they have 30 seconds to read it. Like Mission Impossible, the message is then deleted forever.
It’s super cool. You feel a bit like you’re in the movies or a detective when you open the email and it tells you it will self-destruct in 30 seconds!
There may be other apps like this that will defeat and delete the risk of hackers. I haven’t checked, coz I just love the way this one self-destructs.
But think about what other information you send out over email. You can use this to provide any confidential information, not just bank account details.
Whilst the above are important procedures to use, don’t forget to make sure your passwords are hard to decipher, and that you change them regularly.
The more we talk about these issues of hackers with our customers, clients and suppliers, the more we help each other to minimise the risks and ensure the integrity of our cashflow.
Originally published on www.smallville.com.au