The Covid-19 pandemic has had a drastic impact not only on people’s health and wellbeing, but on that of businesses too.
This was especially poignant for many companies that had to venture into the online world for the first time. Unsurprisingly, the uncertainty that coincided with the sudden digital migration created the perfect opportunity for fraudsters looking to capitalise on the confusion.
In fact, South Africa has the third most cyber victims worldwide, losing R2,2-billion a year, with low investment in cybersecurity and immature cybercrime legislation making the country the ideal target.
So, what can companies do to ensure that their business is safe from cyber-fraud in 2021?
“The first step towards insulating your business from cyber-crime and fraud is to make sure you’re using trusted digital channels when making and issuing payments,” suggests Nicho Bouma, CIO of Pay@. “Banking apps are a great example, as they’re frequently screened and vetted for security breaches with a dedicated team on hand to ensure your safety. At Pay@, we’ve extended this safety into the physical world by ensuring that all payers have a unique identifying code. This means that, when customers make a bill payment at a retailer or via a third-party payment solution they are able to use this code and authenticate the legitimacy of their bill.”
In a similar vein, it is important to have a robust data verification process in place that can monitor information on payment transactions: “Data helps you track and inspect all sorts of information, from the people issuing or receiving a payment, to the amount and various other forms of personal information. Luckily, all transactions leave a data trail of some kind. By tracking and verifying data, you can ensure that payment transactions are authentic, detect would-be fraudsters, and also streamline the payments process for legitimate users.”
Above all, businesses need to be careful and aware of emerging trends in cybercrime, says Bouma. “New scams are always surfacing and most often it is your customers who will be the first to see them. Make sure that you have good communication and support channels for your clientele; this way, if something happens, you’ll be quick to know and respond. At the same time, your customers will feel more secure and more comfortable doing business with you.”
“At the end of the day, there will always be people looking to devise new and clever ways to scam both you and your customers. The trick is to be smart, careful, and conscious of your environment. This way, you’ll be better prepared to fend off any would-be fraudster before they get the chance to exploit you,” concludes Bouma.