Small Business Crimes and Scams - Free Enterprise
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Anthem Blue Cross, the nation's second-largest health insurance company, announced Thursday that a hack into its systems may have exposed the records of up to 80 million customers. This breach included Social Security numbers, addresses, and health care information, but no credit card numbers (which is really immaterial, with all that other information).

Small businesses, just as much as large businesses, need to take steps to ensure the security of customer data. Here's what business owners need to know:

In the wake of the large-scale hack of Sony Pictures late last year, businesses have begun implementing security measures to prevent being victimized by a similar attack.

As Bloomberg reports, unlike previous data breaches, which were primarily focused on financial data and trade secrets, the Sony hack included the release of a large amount of personal information on Sony employees. This information included details on employee pay, medical records, and confidential correspondence between Sony employees.

What can businesses to prevent similar data breaches from occurring in the future? Here are three ways some businesses are improving their data security:

When hackers compromise your business' systems, you may want to bring every cyber-facet of your company on full lockdown.

That's certainly what the U.S. State Department recently did after it learned that cyberintruders had infiltrated an unclassified email network used by President Obama's close circle of aides. Your company may not have the resources that the federal government commands, but there are some hard lines you can draw to re-establish security after a cyberattack.

Here three all-or-nothing hacking remedies you may want to consider:

The recently revealed "Darkhotel" hack has been responsible for stealing data from U.S. corporate executives, all via hotel Wi-Fi.

Security research firm Kasperksy Lab reported Monday that "Darkhotel" used compromised hotel Wi-Fi networks to trick hotel guests into installing seemingly innocuous updates for standard software which are actually malware. From there, CNET reports, hackers can access the infected computers through a "backdoor" and access all kinds of sensitive and personal data.

How can you protect your business and employees from falling victim to something like "Darkhotel?"

After a year filled with news stories about data privacy breaches, including Target and Home Depot, it seems that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is finally doing something about it. On Friday, the FCC proposed a $10 million fine against two telecom companies for data breaches that potentially affected 300,000 customers, The Washington Post reports.

How did this happen? And what does this mean for small business that store customer data?

JPMorgan Chase has revealed that personal information connected to 83 million accounts may have been accessed by hackers in a data breach this summer.

Included in the massive cyberattack were the names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and internal bank information of approximately 7 million small business account holders, reports ZDNet. According to JPMorgan Chase, hackers were not able to obtain account numbers, passwords, user IDs, dates of birth, or Social Security numbers; the bank reports that it has yet to see any instances of fraud linked to the data breach.

What are the details surrounding this latest data breach, and what can small business owners do to protect themselves?

Whiskey maker Templeton Rye is officially going to have to ward off a consumer fraud lawsuit after the complaint was approved by Iowa's attorney general.

The lawsuit alleges that Templeton misled consumers by claiming that its rye whiskey is created using a Prohibition-era recipe handed down through the founder's family on a scrap of paper. The recipe was attributed to famous Iowan Alphonse Kerkhoff in Templeton's marketing materials, but angry consumers claim that the whiskey is actually just a "stock" whiskey brewed in Indiana. And according to USA Today, Iowa's attorney general is allowing the lawsuit to proceed.

Did Templeton illegally mislead consumers?

The Better Business Bureau has issued an alert to business owners about a new scam targeting business vendor payments.

This scam is particularly easy to miss, reports the BBB, because unlike many other business scams which rely on selling business owners fake or useless products and services, this latest scam uses the names of real vendors that the targeted companies already do business with.

How does the scam work, and how can you avoid being taken for a costly ride?

A handful of California business owners were dealt a legal loss in federal court this week on their class-action Yelp extortion lawsuit.

A veterinary hospital, a dentist, an auto-body shop owner, and a furniture restoration store owner had joined in a class action suit against Yelp, claiming the online service had violated California's unfair business practices law and had extorted them, reports Courthouse News Service. The business owners claimed that Yelp manipulated the appearance of positive or negative reviews in order to pressure the employers into purchasing advertising through its site.

Why did their Yelp extortion suit flop in federal court?

High-end retailer Barneys New York has agreed to pay $525,000 to settle complaints that it racially profiled black and Latino customers at its flagship New York City location.

The settlement follows a nine-month investigation by the New York Attorney General's office that found a "disproportionate number of black and Latino customers being detained for alleged shoplifting or credit card fraud," reports The New York Times. Critics labeled the practice "shop and frisk."

What spurred the investigation, and what should your business' policy be for detaining customers suspected of shoplifting?