Protect Your Business' Online and Public Presence
Export and delete all information from web applications associated with expiring domain names
If your business owns a domain name that is expiring and is not going to be renewed, and you have used that domain for emails, calendaring, or other online applications such as Google Apps, be certain to delete all information in these apps prior to allowing the domain to expire. Known security vulnerabilities can allow anyone who later purchases the domain to access the applications associated with the domain, such as email accounts, passwords, other online account credentials, contacts, social networking accounts, and calendars.
Use Google Alerts or a similar service to monitor the Internet
Because thieves can easily impersonate your business in other states or on the Internet, a very simple and proactive step you can take is to use a free Google feature known as Google Alerts. Rather than taking time away from your business to actively conduct an Internet search, Google Alerts allow you to quickly set and receive email alerts of search results and news stories that match terms you specify, such as your business name.
You can enter your search query, create, and manage the details of your alerts at: www.Google.com/alerts
Whois Database and domain privacy services
Thieves, scammers, and spammers frequently utilize the public Whois database, which provides information regarding the registered owner of an Internet domain name (including owner name, key contacts, address, email, and telephone number) that can be used in a variety of scams and also for spam email. If your business owns one or more Internet domains and/or maintains a website, you might consider opting for a domain registration privacy service which replaces your business information in the Whois database with that of the domain privacy service (proxy information). Your business retains full ownership and control of the domain, but your information is better protected from scammers, spammers, and prying eyes.
Be alert for impostors on the web and in the phone book
Common tactics to impersonate a business in order to steal customers, or intentionally defraud a business' customers, range from hi-tech to low-tech. Cyber-criminals can lure in your business prospects and existing customers through phishing email scams, or through the use of phony websites intended to deceive your clients into believing that they are dealing with your business. Some business imposters establish a page in your business' name on popular social networking sites, such as Facebook or LinkedIn. These pages can include your business' logos, images, and information, but provide alternate contact information. Likewise, bogus yellow page listings with deceptively similar business names in local phone books are a low-tech, low-cost tactic that can easily confuse clients and prospects, who may inadvertently call the impostor company. Such tactics can not only cost your business lost revenues, but can also dilute and damage your company's brand and reputation, and be used to defraud your customers in a manner that causes your business to appear to be the culprit.