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If you’re like most business owners, you’ve invested resources in creating a Facebook business page that engages your customers. You may have spent years growing your following and building trust.
What if something leaves your business page vulnerable to a Facebook hack?
Here is what you need to know to protect yourself—and your business—from a Facebook hack.
How Often Do Facebook Hacks Occur?
Unfortunately, Facebook hacks are quite common. According to the New York Post, as many as 160,000 Facebook accounts are compromised each day. Users tend to be more relaxed about security when using social sites like Facebook, leaving them vulnerable to hackers.
How does this affect your business page? Facebook allows users to access business accounts through their personal profiles. Every person with admin control over your Page is vulnerable to a Facebook hack that could leave your page open to hacking.
Hackers typically gain access to Facebook pages through phishing scams, email attachments with malware, data breaches that reveal passwords, or users’ carelessness (such as not logging out of Facebook or using easy to guess passwords.)
Large-scale data breaches may happen less frequently, but the scale can be staggering. For example, in a widely reported Facebook hack and data breach, hackers gained access to nearly 50 million exposed accounts.
What Do Hackers Do With Your Facebook Business Page?
Hackers who gain access to your page can post their own links, attracting your fans to click on spam links—leaving them vulnerable to Facebook hacking as well.
They might create and approve ads via your Ads Manager to promote malicious content, with high spending that could cost you thousands before you can take action.
They could also use the information stored in your Facebook account for identity theft or to access other online accounts, including hosting, banking, or other social accounts.
All of this can cost you time, money, and the trust of your audience. While you may stop malicious activity relatively quickly and even recoup some costs, you could lose access to your page for a time. The opportunity cost of not being able to market via this platform can have a significant impact on your business.
9 Strategies to Protect Yourself From a Facebook Hack
Many strategies to protect yourself from a Facebook hack are standard online security steps you should use on every online platform. If you haven’t paid much attention to online security, start with the basics, then explore security features in each platform or app.
Hint: If you’ve been using the same password for years across multiple platforms, you’re long overdue for an update.
1. Make the Most of Facebook’s Security Settings
A look at your Facebook settings will lead you to a detailed section called Security and Login. Review each section for tips and information on best practices to keep your account secure.
Make sure to scan your computer for malware and viruses regularly. Antivirus software helps spot problems that might leave you open to Facebook hacks, such as keyloggers or redirect viruses.
Keep your software up to date; this ensures you are using the most secure versions of your browser and other apps, including any recent security updates or improvements.
Remember that your business page is only as secure as the people who have access to it. Protect your personal profile, and share security updates and best practices with your team.
2. Create a Strong Password
Passwords are the first line of defense in online security.
Your password should follow the guidelines on each site you use. This is likely a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Choose something unique to you, with a tricky combination of these characters to create a password others would find hard to guess.
Do not use the same password on every site. Instead, use different passwords for every online account. For example, you might use one for your secure financial accounts but a completely different password for your social accounts and other platforms that might be easily hacked.
In the case of a Facebook hack, you’ll at least be protected from the hackers using your Facebook password to access more secure accounts, like banking or retirement accounts.
Consider a password manager like LastPass or 1password so you don’t have to remember dozens of passwords. These platforms store all your passwords in one place so you only have to remember one password. They can also generate random passwords that are more secure.
Make sure you never enter your password anywhere except the Facebook app or at Facebook in your web browser.
If you’re using your internet browser, be careful entering the domain into your search bar. Hackers sometimes spoof domains close to the real Facebook domain to capture login information from users who aren’t paying attention.
3. Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication simply means if you ever log into your Facebook account from a new device, the platform will automatically ask you for your password and require an additional security check. This step usually includes entering a security code sent via text or email to a pre-approved address or number.
To set up two-factor authentication in Facebook, visit your Settings page, select Security and Login, and then edit the section labeled Two-Factor Authentication.
Facebook will prompt you to provide contact information to verify your identity when logging in. You’ll also get alerts if someone tries to access your account from an unfamiliar device.
4. Read Emails Facebook Sends Out
Facebook often sends out emails to verify suspicious or unusual activity. Make sure the email address on file is one you check regularly and read the emails you receive in case Facebook is trying to flag suspicious activity.
Staying on top of the risks, being familiar with common phishing attempts, and understanding the latest security recommendations from Facebook can go a long way toward keeping you safe online.
You can see a list of recent email messages sent by Facebook in your account settings under Security and Login, in the Advanced Section.
5. Have Multiple Admins for the Account
How else can you protect yourself from a Facebook hack? Give careful thought to the people you give admin access to for your business page.
It’s a good idea to have more than one admin for your page in case you ever lose access or are unable to log in. If your profile is hacked, another admin you trust can keep the page running and help you gain back your access.
However, that doesn’t mean more is better. Periodically checking to remove people who no longer need access to your page. If someone needs temporary access, grant it at the appropriate level, then remove it when their task or project is complete.
6. Use Proper Page Admin Levels
Facebook provides several page admin levels, which enables you to grant different access to different people. Be careful who you add, and only grant them access they need to complete assigned tasks.
Perhaps you need an employee to post to the page to carry out your Facebook marketing. Review the different levels and their permissions and only provide admins the level of access they need to do the job.
Giving every person you add as an admin the ability to remove and add other admins means they could potentially remove you—with little recourse to regain access. They could also add admins you don’t know and take over your page.
Only people you trust absolutely should have the ability to remove and add admins. This chart breaks down the permissions for each level:
7. Report Any Unusual Activity to Facebook
Report any unusual activity to Facebook to keep your account secure. You can report messages, profiles, or posts right on Facebook to let them know you have concerns about something you see on the platform.
Reporting can allow you to use Facebook more safely and flag any suspicious behavior to Facebook.
If you are uncomfortable with behavior or messages from another user, simply block them to ensure they are removed from your friend’s list or page. This action will also prevent them from messaging you on the platform.
8. Log Out of Facebook After Using Shared Computers
Have you ever used a computer at work, the library, or a coworking space? You’ll need to exercise extra caution to log out when you’re done. This step is critical to remember when using accounts that contain personal information.
If you’re using Facebook from a computer you don’t own, always log out immediately afterward. You have no idea who may use the device after you, and staying logged in leaves your account wide open.
If you ever can’t remember if you logged out after using Facebook on a device you don’t own, change your password immediately so your security is never in question. You can also log out remotely from all devices in Security and Login Settings. Protecting access to your accounts can stop a Facebook hack from happening at all.
9. Don’t Accept Friend Requests From People You Don’t Know
Hackers often gain information they need to guess your password by adding you as a friend on Facebook. They may even add mutual friends, making them look like a safe person who is already in your network. Or they may directly impersonate someone you know.
If you don’t know someone, don’t accept their friend request. If the request seems suspicious or duplicated, reach out to your friend by text or email to let them know someone is using their likeness or identity online.
Allowing access to your personal profile can provide access to information like your birthday or high school. This information makes it easier to hack into your business account or impersonate you to gain access to other social accounts, your friends, or even your audience.
Preventing Facebook hacks on your business page requires more than posting engaging content and creating Facebook ads. There are real security risks you need to be aware of to protect your investment—and your customers. Luckily, a few simple steps can help protect you.
Stay up to date on the security features of each platform you use, and protect your personal Facebook profile as well as your business page. Take advantage of alerts, emails, and other notifications to help you act quickly should a Facebook hack occur.
These steps will reduce your risk so you can enjoy growing your audience and connecting with your customers without expensive and stressful setbacks. If this seems overwhelming, connect with us for help so you can focus on running your business.
What steps can you take today to prevent a Facebook hack on your Business Page?
Are you feeling inspired to change the name of your business? It’s understandable. Sometimes something just strikes you as perfect and you feel you need to take action right away. However, you might want to hold off on that for a minute. Don’t change your business name until you understand how risky it is.
STOP! Don’t Change Your Business Name Until You Read This
Even if the name of your business is super boring right now and you have an idea for the catchiest name ever, it is a big risk to change your business name. The name of your business is incredibly far reaching. It is on all insurances, licenses, bank accounts, credit accounts, and it is tied to your EIN if you have one.
Imagine, every legal document and identification number that relates to your business has your business name on it. Furthermore, if you have a web presence, your social media accounts and website connect to that name. If your URL has your business name in it, that complicates things even further.
Learn more here and get started with building business credit with your company’s EIN and not your SSN.
Of course, you’re thinking you’ll just change it in all the places and you’ll be good. That’s great, but what if you forget something random from a long time ago? What if your business name is on a document you forgot even exists? You may not think it matters much, but it does. Your business name can affect almost every aspect of fundability. Do you know why it’s risky to change your business name? Understanding exactly what fundability is and what affects it can go a long way toward helping you understand.
What is Fundability
Fundability is the ability of your business to get funding. When lenders look at funding your business, they consider if it is a good idea to make the loan. What do they look at to make that determination? It’s a lot more than you may think, and I guarantee that it reaches further than you realize.
The first aspects of fundability have to do with how your business is set up.
Consistent, Separate Contact Information
This is your business phone number and address that is separate from your personal phone number and address. That may not mean you have a separate phone line, or even a separate location however.
Honestly, you can get a business phone number and fax number pretty easily that will work over the internet instead of phone lines. Then, the phone number will forward to any phone you want it too so you can simply use your personal cell phone or landline. Whenever someone calls your business number it will ring straight to you.
You can use a virtual office for a separate business address. This isn’t what you may think. A virtual office is a business that offers a physical address for a fee, and sometimes they even offer mail service and live receptionist services. In addition, there are some that offer meeting spaces for those times you may need to meet a client or customer in person.
But imagine if your phone number and address are listed under one name, and then you change the business name. It is complex and time consuming to change your information everywhere. Something is almost certain to get missed, and customers are going to be confused.
This is an identifying number for your business that works in a way similar to how your SSN works for you personally. You can get one for free from the IRS. However, if you change your business name, you’ll have to make sure you have an EIN that is attached to the new name. Furthermore, you’ll have to ensure all the accounts that you have using that EIN are changed to reflect your new name.
Incorporating your business as an LLC, S-corp, or corporation is necessary to fundability. It lends credence to your business as one that is legitimate. It also offers some protection from liability.
Which option you choose does not matter as much for fundability as it does for your budget and needs for liability protection. It’s best to talk to your attorney or a tax professional about that issue. However, when you incorporate you are going to lose the time in business that you already have. You essentially become a new entity. Basically, you have to start over. You’ll even lose any positive payment history you may have accumulated.
This is why it is important to incorporate as soon as possible. Is necessary for fundability and for building business credit, but so is time in business. The longer you have been in business the more fundable you appear to be in the eyes of lenders. That starts on the date of incorporation, regardless of when you actually started doing business.
If you want to change your business name and you are not yet incorporated, then when you do incorporate is the best time to make it happen. Do it sooner rather than later.
Business Bank Account
You should already have a separate bank account for your business transactions. If you don’t, you need to make that happen now. There are a few reasons for this. First, it will help you keep track of business finances. It will also help you keep them separate from personal finances for tax purposes.
There’s more to it however. There are several types of funding you cannot get without a business bank account. Many lenders and credit cards want to see one with a minimum average balance. In addition, you cannot get a merchant account without a business account at a bank. That means, you cannot take credit card payments. Studies show consumers tend to spend more when they can pay by credit card.
Now, here is how your business name, and the risk when you change your business name, comes into play. This account has to be in your business name. If you change that name, you’ll have to go through the hassle of changing the name on that account. Not only that, but if you have any drafts coming out, you will have to make sure information is updated with those accounts. Otherwise, you could end up with unpaid bills.
For a business to be legitimate it has to have all of the necessary licenses it needs to run. If it doesn’t, warning signals are going blare. Do you know what else will set off some major red flags? If your business name and the name on your license do not match.
I am sure you are wondering how a business website can affect your ability to get funding. Think about it. These days, if you don’t have a website you may as well not even exist. Yet, having a poorly put together website can be even worse. It is the first impression you make on many, and if it appears to be unprofessional or confusing it will not bode well for you with consumers or potential lenders.
Spending the time and money necessary to ensure your website is professionally designed and works well is vital. Paying for hosting is important too. Don’t use a free hosting service. Also, your business needs a dedicated business email address. It should have the same URL as your Website.
Now, imagine your URL and email are tied to your business name. If you change that, you have to redesign your whole site to reflect the new name. Changing those things takes time and money. That’s not even to mention how confused people will be when they do an internet search for your business using a different name, or when they get to your website and see a name they aren’t expecting.
Learn more here and get started with building business credit with your company’s EIN and not your SSN.
Business Credit Reports
These are reports, like your personal credit reports, that detail the credit history of your business. It is a tool to help lenders determine how credit worthy your business is.
Where do business credit reports come from? There are a lot of different places, but the main ones are Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, Equifax, and FICO SBSS.
Lenders see this report. They rely on it heavily when it comes to making lending decisions. Even if your business credit is stellar, seeing your business listed under a bunch of different names can cause a problem. They start worrying about things like fraud, and that can cause an automatic denial.
Even worse, if things aren’t taken care of properly, you could end up with accounts reporting to two different credit reports, wrong accounts on wrong reports, or some other confusing credit report fiasco simply from choosing to change your business name.
Other Business Data Agencies
In addition to the business credit reporting agencies that directly calculate and issue credit reports, there are other business data agencies that affect those reports indirectly. Two examples of this are LexisNexis and The Small Business Finance Exchange. These two agencies gather data from a variety of sources, including public records. This means they could even have access to information relating to automobile accidents and liens. While you may not be able to access or change the data the agencies have on your business, you can ensure that any new information they receive is positive. Enough positive information can help counteract any negative information from the past.
The same issues apply. If your business name doesn’t match across the board, lenders could get uncomfortable.
In addition to the EIN, there are identifying numbers that go along with your business credit reports. Some of them are simply assigned by the agency, like the Experian BIN. Some, like a D-U-N-S number, you have to apply for, of course using your business name.
Here’s another place where you have to follow through if you change your business name. You have to make sure your new name isconnected to your old D&B number, or get a new number. It can become very complicated.
Then other numbers, like your BIN from Experian, will need to be updated as well.
Business Credit History
Your credit history has everything to do with everything related to your credit score, which is a huge factor in the fundability of your business.
Your credit history consists of a number of things including:
- How many accounts are reporting payments?
- How long have you had each account?
- What type of accounts are they?
- How much credit are you using on each account versus how much is available?
- Are you making your payments on these accounts consistently on-time?
Learn more here and get started with building business credit with your company’s EIN and not your SSN.
The more accounts you have reporting on-time payments, the stronger your credit score will be. I’ve already touched on this above. When you change your business name, this information can become very confusing unless you handle things very carefully. The less confusing things are for lenders, the better.
Is it Really that Risky to Change Your Business Name? Yes!
When you change your business name, you start a sort of domino effect. The problem is, the dominos weave in and out of a spider web formation that reaches further than you can probably imagine. If just one is out of place the whole thing can fall. Lenders hone in on discrepancies, and sometimes the result is simply denial. No questions asked, they just deny the loan based on too many inconsistencies.
The only really good time to change your business name is when you incorporate. Still, even then it is best not to. Consistency is key, and trying to backtrack and make changes everywhere they need to be made costs time and money. Trying to explain gaps and changes on a report and how everything ties together is even riskier. The more complicated things are, and the harder a lender has to work to see that you are fundable, the less likely approval becomes.
To make a long story short, you need to carefully weigh any benefit you think you may gain from changing your business name against all the costs. While there could be a few very specific situations where this isn’t the case, as a general rule the benefit doesn’t outweigh the cost.
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I’ve written a lot on how businesses need to embrace a new online growth strategy without depending on any *single* tactic (like search traffic, for example). There’s a popular belief that search engine traffic is the most reliable (and steady) source of web traffic – that’s something I don’t agree with. I’ve founded startups that… Read more »
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