COVID-19 and Small Business Cyber

Protect Your Business from Coronavirus Online Scams

Written by Bethany Seton

As lockdown continues, more  Australians are feeling the strain. The government is doing its best to manage the outbreak but Australians also have to do their part. Citizens are advised to stay at home and practice physical distancing if they must leave the house.

These measures have also impacted the way that small businesses operate. While some have been forced to shut down for an indefinite period, other businesses have been able to operate remotely. Some businesses have seen an increase in demand.

Whichever the situation you have found yourself in, safety is imperative. Whilst hygiene is paramount, so is cybersafety. Listed below are some of the online scams you might encounter during this difficult period and some useful advice on how to deal with them. Take a look.

Don’t trust people selling Coronavirus cures and testing kits

There is no cure or vaccine for the Coronavirus at the moment. No pill, vaccine or any other form of drug can treat or cure COVID-19 as of yet. Treatments including malaria medication and disinfectants have no scientific backing and can have extremely harmful side effects. Always follow your physician’s advice.

You also need to be wary of websites that offer home testing kits. There are not any official home testing kits currently on the market. Keep an eye on the WHO and the Australian government websites for the latest updates. If kits become available, you will find out about it through credible sources.

Keep your anti-virus software updated to avoid phishing scams

Everybody knows not to open suspicious emails, especially from unknown senders. However, if one uninformed employee opens a bad email, your entire server could become infected. Even though it seems like common sense, it’s essential that you instruct your workforce not to click on any unexpected links or open any unexpected attachments. Make sure  they know not to share sensitive company information without authorisation. If an email immediately asks for a password or demands immediate action, it is probably a scam.

It doesn’t matter how careful you and your employees are, you may still encounter malware. To prevent your data from being compromised, you should invest in a quality protection system. A well-known example of a malware protection system is Norton AntiVirus.

Carefully examine websites offering cheap goods

If your business is one of the lucky few that is experiencing a big boost in demand, you may need to purchase more equipment. Especially in these uncertain times, do not settle on the cheapest provider that you can find. Supply chains around the world are being affected, and a too good to be true deal is probably just that. If you can, choose a supplier that you’ve already ordered from and have a relationship with.

If you do need to find a new supplier, do your research. Check out their website, read their online reviews and talk to your peers to see what kind of experience they’ve had working with the supplier in question. You might buy cheap equipment only to find out that it’s faulty or does not live up to your expectations. Worse, the company might not exist and your products may never be sent to you. This tip is especially important when ordering products that your business may have never used, such as perspex screens for cashiers.

Research government relief funds and charities looking for donations

Many businesses have found themselves in a tight spot and many entrepreneurs feel that they would do anything to keep their business afloat. There are a number of government relief funds for small businesses. Be sure to avoid scammers posing as government agencies. If a relief program package looks too good to be true, it probably is. Do your research and stick to credited sources, such as government websites.

If you are one of the lucky few who is not financially hurting from the Coronavirus, you should consider donating to charity. Do your research and determine which charities seem trustworthy and effective. Make sure that they have a good reputation and then feel free to donate.

As you can see, illness is not the only threat in these difficult and uncertain times. To keep your business safe you need to be diligent, use common sense and do your research. This will prevent you from falling for some common scams and traps.

 

“The opinions expressed by BizWitty Contributors are their own, not those of BizCover and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Please read our full disclaimer."

About the author

Bethany Seton

Bethany Seton is a recent economy graduate. Before settling in an office, she decided to follow her passions for writing and traveling. Currently, she travels with her laptop and writes for various blogs, hoping one day she will gather all the experience she gets in one book.

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