When you run your own business, you don't have the time or the money to be a victim of fraud, a challenging problem that touches everyone. It is far better to take measures to arm yourself with strategies on how to prevent fraud from affecting your bottom line than to lose revenue that you work hard to earn.

March is Fraud Prevention Month in Canada and around the world. Some of the events taking place this month focus on practices that allow you to recognize and prevent fraud. As a first step for your business, you can turn to The Competition Bureau's Fraud Awareness for Commercial Targets initiative for the facts you need to keep your business from becoming a victim of fraud. This useful information includes:

  • Common business scams to avoid, such as scams involving office supplies, directory listings and phoney invoices
  • Identifying aspects of your business that could make you vulnerable
  • How to create a strategy that will help your business steer clear of fraud
  • A guide on how to train your staff to act as an effective front line
  • Procedures for reporting fraud

It is important to remember that if any of your business is done online, there is ample opportunity for fraud. One such example is the use of fraudulent credit cards, so it makes good business sense to have checks and balances in place to keep you from being ripped off. You may consider implementing some of these practices to prevent falling prey to fraud:

  • Use an external credit card processor
  • Make sure the payment clears before shipping the purchase
  • Verify the purchase by phone
  • Call the issuing bank for verification after requiring potential customers to include the bank's 1-800 number with credit card details

These extra steps may take time, but keeping your revenues where they belong is worth the effort. Perhaps this March is a good time for you to fraud-proof your business as the best offence can often be a good defence.

For more information on how to protect your interests, take a look at our section on Security and Fraud. If online sales are part of your growth strategy, check out our resources on E-business for more pointers.