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Business Tips to Prevent Fraud

May 16, 2019

Help protect your business accounts and data from ever-increasing and sophisticated fraud schemes by reviewing the following tips for safeguarding your accounts and data:

Key principles of a sound security system

Password management

  • Never share your passwords; store them in a secure location.
  • Create passwords at least eight characters long using a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Avoid using common words, your login name or personal data.
  • Change passwords regularly.
  • Don’t use the same password for each online account you access.

Keep computer operating systems current

  • Older computer operating systems may not offer the same level of protection as newer systems. Some manufacturers provide frequent updates automatically through email or Internet connections. Check your manufacturer’s website for information.

Use most current web browser versions available

  • To offer our members the most secure access, Columbia continually upgrades our online services. This may require you to upgrade to a current web browser to access your accounts.


  • A firewall makes it harder for hackers to locate your computer and get into your programs and files. Consider installing a “border” firewall that separates your network from the Internet. Set access controls that determine who gets through the firewall and what they will be allowed to see. This will ensure that only trusted employees with a legitimate business need will have access to the network.

Keep anti-virus software up to date

  • Install and update anti-virus software. Regularly running anti-virus and anti-spyware programs on the computers and servers on your network can deflect emails with infected attachments.

Block pop-ups

  • Activate a pop-up blocker to block all pop-up windows while you are online. Check for legitimate programs available from vendors free on the Internet.

Perform regular spyware scans

  • Spyware and adware programs can follow your web viewing activity and potentially relay information to a sketchy source. Regular scans can remove these programs from your computer. Check for legitimate spyware and adware programs available from vendors free on the Internet.

Use secure websites

  • For shopping and other transactions, be sure that the web page you are viewing offers encryption of your data – look for a lock symbol in the lower right-hand corner of your browser window and check to see if the web page address you are viewing begins with “https” (the “s” means it’s secured).

Be wary of downloads

  • Downloading programs from unknown sources may infect your computer with stealth programs or viruses that can compromise your security without you even knowing it.

Cut the power

  • If your computer is connected to the Internet, shut it down when it’s not in use to avoid unwanted access.

Keep employee authorizations current

  • When an employee leaves your company, be sure to have his or her name removed from all authorizations.

Know your vendors

  • If a vendor requests changes in payment, require all changes to payment account numbers be made in writing and verify by calling the vendor’s phone number located in your files.

Review your account statements regularly and report any suspicious activity immediately.