Calgary – One in four Alberta small and mid-sized businesses (SMEs) were hit or targeted by fraud artists last year, according to ATB’s latest Business Beat survey.
“For every honest, hardworking Alberta business owner, there seems to be someone who wants to siphon off her or his earnings, and they’re getting pretty sophisticated at it,” says Wellington Holbrook, Executive Vice-President, ATB Business & Agriculture.
“It’s credit card fraud. It’s email phishing. It’s theft of equipment. It means there’s now another set of skills needed to protect the bottom line.”
Consider last year’s numbers:
Average cost to an SME hit by fraud: $24,000
What more than a quarter of victimized SMEs lost due to fraud: $10,000+
Per cent of retail SMEs reporting a fraud incident: 49
Rank of retail among sectors reporting a fraud incident: 1
Per cent of energy and construction SMEs reporting a fraud incident: 26
Rank of energy and construction among sectors reporting a fraud incident: 2
Per cent of fraud aimed at credit, debit cards: 29
Per cent using phishing, email schemes: 27
Per cent involving theft of equipment, inventory, other physical property: 27
And here’s one more number: 16 per cent of fraud was uncovered by a customer’s financial institution.
“And that was the leading category when it comes to how fraud comes to light,” says Holbrook.
“A reminder that we take fraud as seriously as the bad guys.”
Here are some other things to keep businesses safe:
- Ensure firewalls are secure
- Use anti-spyware and anti-virus software
- Never share your password; change it often
- Never give out your banking information over the phone or email
- If you sense anything suspicious, call your financial institution immediately
Our latest survey also recorded slight decreases in the ATB Economy and Business Indexes.
- ATB Economy Index: 87 per cent of Alberta business owners believe the Alberta economy will be the same or better six months from now, down two per cent from the previous quarter.
- ATB Business Index: 94 per cent of Alberta business owners believe their businesses will be the same or better off six months from now, down one per cent from the previous quarter.