Small Businesses in North Carolina Vulnerable to Cyber Incidents

A closer look at the small business landscape in North Carolina reveals that an overwhelming 99.6% of businesses in the state qualify as small businesses, employing 499 individuals or fewer. These small businesses collectively make up a significant portion of the workforce in North Carolina, accounting for approximately 44.4% of all employment in the state. With such a substantial presence, it’s imperative to take notice when scammers target these small businesses.

According to a recent report from the Identity Theft Resource Center, a concerning 73% of small businesses have fallen victim to cyber incidents over the past year. James Lee, the COO of the Identity Theft Resource Center, highlights the alarming trend, stating, “The number of small businesses being attacked has grown tremendously over the last 3 years.”

One such small business affected by this wave of cyberattacks is Pearle’s Paintings, an artist who utilizes Facebook to promote her creations. Her ordeal began with a seemingly innocuous Facebook notification. When she received a message warning that her account would be deleted unless she provided her information, Pearle Northrup took the bait.

“I didn’t provide my information they would delete my account immediately,” recounted Pearle Northrup.

By clicking on the link and entering her login details, Pearle unwittingly granted control of her business and Facebook pages to the scammer, who proceeded to make unauthorized charges on her business account. It’s a scenario that 43% of small businesses have experienced, resulting in revenue loss.

James Lee emphasizes the importance of small businesses seeking assistance from external advisors for cybersecurity. He notes, “The main thing any small business needs to do is make sure you have an outside advisor helping you with your cyber security. It’s just too complex to go on your own.”

The Identity Theft Resource Center, a non-profit organization, can provide assistance to small businesses facing cyber threats. It’s worth noting that these types of hacks are not limited to businesses; they can also affect individuals. Typically, it begins with a Facebook notification or message claiming that one’s page is disabled. The crucial advice is not to fall for these scams and avoid clicking on any suspicious links.

As cyber threats continue to rise, it’s essential for small businesses and individuals to stay vigilant and take measures to protect themselves from potential scams and cyber incidents.

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