Small Business Crimes and Scams - Free Enterprise
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A newly discovered security flaw called "Heartbleed" has many businesses scrambling to beef up their online security.

The Heartbleed flaw affects websites that use a security software called OpenSSL to protect users' data and passwords. As The Washington Post explains, sites vulnerable to the flaw are like doors with defective locks. No matter how much consumers change their passwords, if the "lock" is broken, user data is vulnerable.

So what does your business need to know about the Heartbleed flaw?

Business owners beware: A website domain-name registration scam is catching some entrepreneurs off-guard.

But the BBB says it's easy to protect yourself from this scam, once you know how to spot it.

How can business owners avoid buying domain names from scammers?

Is It Legal to Bet on the Oscars at Work?

Are you and your colleagues thinking about throwing down some cash by the water cooler to bet on the Oscars?

You might think placing a bet on "12 Years a Slave" for "Best Picture" would be a nice way to cheer on an excellent frontrunner, liven up your work day, and make a few extra bucks.

But is it actually legal to bet on the Oscars at work?

Yelp Defamation Lawsuit Ends in a Draw

A closely followed Yelp lawsuit in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., didn't end with a clear winner. A jury found that a homeowner had indeed defamed a contractor by writing scathing reviews on Yelp and Angie's List.

But then came the surprising twist: Jurors determined the contractor, in turn, had also defamed the customer by responding to the customer's comments with accusations of his own, reports The Washington Post.

Yelp defamation lawsuits are becoming a reality for customers and business owners alike. But as this case reveals, it's tough to predict who will reign victorious in such a suit.

After Target Hack, 3 Tips for Vendor Cybersecurity

Following Target's massive data breach, everyone wanted to know how it happened. We may now have an answer. It seems the Target hackers breached the chain's security systems by first using electronic credentials stolen from a vendor, The Wall Street Journal reports.

It's a cautionary tale for small business owners: Create a robust security system that extends to vendors and other interconnected business relations, or else your business could be vulnerable to a similar attack.

Here are three tips for vendor cybersecurity:

What Can Businesses Do to Stop Human Trafficking?

January 11 is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. And though it's a global issue, small businesses in the United States may indeed have a role to play in the effort to stop human trafficking.

While some may only associate human trafficking with sexual slavery, the term actually applies to all people who are harbored or recruited to perform labor through force, fraud, or coercion, as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement explains.

Companies are becoming more aware of trafficked people in the workplace and can take active steps to stop human trafficking.

5 Ways to Fight Retail Return Fraud

As Christmas draws nigh, so does the day after Christmas when customers will attempt to return gifts. And some stores are ready for an onslaught of return fraud.

In order to combat this wave of phony returns, big toy and electronics retailers are shortening their return periods this year, reports NBC's "Today."

Don't be caught snoozing after Christmas. Here are five ways your business can combat retail return fraud:

3 Simple Ways Businesses Can Thwart Hackers

Target fell victim to a security data breach involving stolen credit card and debit card information for 40 million of its retail customers. The massive breach is proof that even corporate giants are vulnerable to security threats. The truth is that there is no such thing as 100-percent secure. But businesses can take preventative measures to at least minimize the risk.

Here are three simple ways to prevent many breaches:

Don't Get Sued For Fake Holiday Discounts

In some ways, the consumer quest for massive holiday deals and discounts has left business owners with no choice but to spiral into a deep discount abyss and engage in a Black Friday arms race. The constant question they face is akin to a ruckus game of limbo: how low can you go?

Many big retailers have circumvented the issue by offering "fake discounts." They work backward with their suppliers to set starting prices that, after all the markdowns, will yield the profit margins they want -- but still give consumers the impression of a blowout sale, according to The Wall Street Journal. The problem is that fake holiday discounts and deals could potentially constitute a deceptive business practice.

Here are three potentially deceptive Black Friday discount schemes that can make your business see legal red:

SBA Offers Free Small Biz Cybersecurity Course

The Small Business Administration is offering a new online course on cybersecurity to help small business owners protect themselves against cyberattacks.

SBA's new course, "Cybersecurity for Small Businesses," provides an overview on how to secure business information, identify security threats and guard against potential hacker attacks.

Here's an overview of the topics the SBA's course covers, with FindLaw's own tips to boot: