Several years ago, thousands of dollars in textiles were charged to my business credit card. The unfortunate part is that I am not in the textile business and had not traveled to South Africa where the purchase originated.
You or someone you know may have had a similar experience. It is possible my corporate credit card’s information was stolen with the use of a skimmer (a malicious card reader used to create cloned credit cards), or more likely, through a data breach from a retailer.
As credit card and identity theft continues to rise, it is vital that you take precautions to keep your office transactions secure.
One of the newest methods to secure credit card transactions is the addition of EMV microchips to credit cards. Unlike magnetic strip cards that send the same information with every transaction (which thieves can intercept), EMV cards create a unique transaction code for each purchase. If you have not received one yet, you will soon. Unfortunately, many retailers have yet to upgrade their hardware and software to accommodate EMV transactions. It takes about 15 seconds to complete an EMV transaction because of the encryption process, and while that may seem like a long time as you stand in line, you should use a chip reader anytime one is available.
Another technology for making business transactions is using mobile payment via services like Apple Pay. These services create tokens for each transaction that protects the financial information you add through your smartphone. With your phone nearby, you can complete a purchase without your credit card information ever being stored or transmitted.
Online credit card transactions have a greater chance of being intercepted by individuals with malicious intent. The most important step you can take to protect your business transactions is to look for the lock in your browser’s address bar, as well as ensuring that the web address begins with https, a protocol for secure communication. You can also use third-party services like PayPal and Google Wallet to add an additional layer of protection.
Despite emerging technologies to protect consumers and businesses, credit card and identity theft are still possible. It is important for businesses to remain vigilant. Review your accounts regularly, and use all tools made available by your financial institution and credit card company to protect you and your business. Signing up for text alerts are simple, and can alert you to fraudulent transactions so you can take action as soon as possible.
The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Penton Agriculture.