Canadian accountants observe Fraud Prevention Month
March 02, 2015

While the Internet has arguably been one of mankind's greatest inventions, it's also generated a number of risks and threats. Despite any dangers that lurk in the darkest corners of the World Wide Web, the fact of the matter is that we live in an age where the Internet cannot be ignored by anyone. Small businesses, accounting firms, individuals - they all need to be connected, and the possibilities are endless. 

However, that is not to say everyone who goes online can simply be naive and assume the risks won't materialize. But, again, we live in an advanced time - that means that the software options available to protect against these threats are also evolved. 

In Canada, March is Fraud Prevention Month, which means that there is no better time for accountants to make sure their company data, as well as information on their clients, is protected. What do they need to know so that they can stay safe while still embracing all the technology options available to them? 

Stay vigilant
Phishing schemes are one of hackers' most useful tools. Nefarious forces send a seemingly innocent email, pretending to be an authority of some type asking for specific information. For instance, if an individual was recently at the doctor's office, he or she might get an email asking about the Social Security number associated with the medical file for billing purposes. But the second the reply is sent, he or she can expect a big problem.

It's bad enough when this happens to one person - imagine an accountant putting the fate of a client or the firm as a whole in jeopardy due to phishing. Knowing what these emails look like is key to fighting them.

Safeguard the website
There are many protections accountants can take to make the company's website nearly impenetrable from the outside. Consider certifications that would ease the minds of clients who sign into an account or provide sensitive information over the Web. This can really assure them of safety - as 890 CJDC reported, citing a survey from the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, 32 percent of Canadians have fallen victim to fraud.

Protect the network
It's also very important to keep the company safe from the inside. Each device that accesses the network needs to be outfitted with antivirus programs, including oft-ignored cellphones and tablets. Internet access should be password protected and connections must be encrypted. If there are any paper files on the premises, they need to be behind lock and key at all times.

Nexus: G-WEBCD4