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I Experienced Bank Fraud, Here's What I Learned
After experiencing bank fraud pretty significantly at the end of January, I recorded this podcast episode to open up about my experience. One day I woke up, checked my bank account, and noticed a HUGE, and I mean HUGE fraudulent transaction from my bank account. Once I thought I had gotten it all figured out with my bank, we had more fraud hit another business bank account.
I’m generally a pretty resilient and tough person but this was one situation that really broke me. However, going through this sticky situation, I learned so much. Including just how important it is for you to have your business and personal assets separate + some really interesting insight from my bank about the amount of wire fraud happening every single day in today’s world (and how they suggest to best prevent it and also deal with it).
After having a bit of time to process and time pass, I am now ready to impart some of these lessons to you, and shed some light on how you can legally protect yourself, separate your bank accounts accordingly, keep your assets separate, and ultimately, why I HIGHLY suggest having an LLC or C corp.
WHAT IS FRAUD?
According to dictionary.com, fraud is deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.
Wire fraud is the use of electronic communication with the intent to commit financial fraud. A scammer poses as a trusted source, usually a vendor, company, or family member, and requests an immediate wire transfer of funds. The fraudster will usually play up the urgent need for the funds, often claiming an emergency, as a way to emotionally manipulate the victims.
Now why does this sticky situation matter to you as a business owner? Because it can literally happen to ANYONE, including your friendly online attorney who’s generally got her shiz together.
And fraud can look like so many different things. I’ve had messages from our community saying it looked like a “client” enquiring about booking you, setting the date, and then asking you to pay the florist, planner, etc and they’ll pay you back. It can look like a fishy email from Instagram, only for you to click the link and lose access to your account.
It can look like blatantly obvious scams, and it can look like your bank legitimately sent you a text message.
HOW CAN YOU LEGALLY PROTECT YOURSELF?
Generally speaking, try to use a card to pay for services. A credit card is honestly best because it's not tied to your bank account, but a debit card is fine as a second best option because you can hot card it and cancel it immediately and just get a new one. However, of course, the reality is that if you’re an online business owner like me, you probably have 9823 million online platforms tied to your card for it to auto pay monthly. That's the annoyance when things like this happen. BUT, my big big big suggestion for you here is to stop paying by check for things and also try your hardest to avoid paying using your bank account number.
*If you are using the same bank for personal and business purposes, get two different logins for your accounts!
Stop storing your passwords on Google chrome or any other type of auto password generator. This is one of the easiest ways for a hacker to get access to your online accounts.
- Check your bank accounts daily, if not every other day (that’s what the bank suggested to me).
- If you save passwords anywhere, save them in a highly encrypted, two-factor authentication password security program. We actually moved from Lastpass to Keeper because of this issue. And, I’m not going to lie, I’ve been talking with some cyber security gurus about what happened with me and they even said keeping a Rolodex or little notepad of your passwords is oftentimes LESS of a security risk than keeping them in an online platform. The chances are likely lower that someone will break into your home and find your notepad with your passwords than a hacker getting into the online platform (as we see almost weekly on the news or in our emails that a security breach occurred). Hackers are getting more and more sophisticated and it's really something we all need to be better about. It's not IF it will happen to you, it's when.
MORE FROM THIS EPISODE
Tune into Episode 152 and learn more about my experience with bank fraud including tips for protecting yourself, why you should separate your LLC accordingly, and more. Also, be sure to join The Legal Paige Facebook Community where thousands of entrepreneurs just like you are getting real-time answers about running a professionally and legally legit business.