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4 Ways to Protect Yourself From Business Fraud

Every company is susceptible to fraud. This is largely because there are so many different kinds of fraud.

Cybercriminals adapt their ways almost as quickly as cyber security firms make new products and services. It is almost impossible to protect against every type of attack.

1. Secure Your Accounts

If you have not made separate bank and credit card accounts for your personal life and company, you should do so now. If cyber hackers get their hands on one account, they will not have access to the other. Make sure to look into the security systems your bank uses online banking to be sure things like automatic logout are available. Make a monitored reimbursement policy for team member expenses and stick to it. If you are going to give credit cards to your employees,  be sure that the card provider has suitable fraud protections in place.

2. Safeguard your computers

Hackers are experts at cracking systems in computers. A firm firewall could help protect your business data, while antivirus software could help detect breaches early on. There are several cyber security vendors. Look for the product that best addresses your needs. You should set up strict protocols that require employees to make passwords that are hard to decipher. Make sure to have your employees change their passwords every sixty to ninety days.

Click here to learn pregnancy protection laws in California!

3. Do an employee background check

When you are expanding your workforce, it is critical to find people who are not only well-qualified but who are also trustworthy. Do not rely only on references and work history. Make sure to conduct a thorough background check.

There are companies that could provide this service for you. Many of them charge between thirty to fifty dollars per report. When you narrow down the list of potential hires to one or two, you could run a check on the finalists prior to making your final decision. You should make sure you obtain proper permission to run the check

4. Make a secure entry

A secure entry system could keep out unwanted visitors. Some key-card systems bring out time-stamped records of an employee’s entries and exits from your office.

Management can also limit access to specific areas to certain people. For example, you could use a key card system to only let the tech managers inside the server room. Limiting the access to sensitive areas will keep you and your business safer.

Do you have a question about business fraud in California? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

Courtesy of Cuselleration

Learn 7 Steps to Avoid Business Fraud

All businesses should take the time to mitigate any risks of fraud. Smaller and mid-sized operations are vulnerable to business fraud, and the after effects can be devastating for everyone involved.

Business fraud usually falls into three different categories: theft, financial statement fraud, and asset misuse. The vast majority of business fraud schemes are related to outright theft, such as stealing cash or claiming fraudulent expenses, and asset misuse, like granting kickbacks.

Business fraud can be tough to tackle, especially for smaller businesses who might be tight-knit and incorporate many family members. Considering your employees as friends or family can make it hard to confront cases of business fraud and theft. Plus, smaller businesses usually have less financial oversight, less knowledge on fraud schemes, and remain vulnerable to even small instances of fraud (since they can completely derail operations).

If you are looking to avoid business fraud, keep these seven steps in mind as you operate your enterprise.

Separate Accounting: Smaller businesses usually have one person who works on everything pertaining to finance. This system makes it easy for people to skim the company and misdirect money to other places. All businesses should have at least two people working on the finance side, or develop a relationship with an accounting firm on the outside.

Learn About Employees: Most business fraud is carried out by an employee on the inside. Take the time to really understand an employee’s background and knowledge before hire. Background checks should be a necessity, along with occasional time off, since this could expose a scheme in place.

Run A Tight Ship: All businesses need to be very careful about who has financial knowledge. This means restricting access to account information, building a verification system for reimbursements, and carrying out audits on accounting books.

Watch Your Bank Accounts: Online banking makes it easy to check out accounts and statements at any time. Be sure to compare the online data with your paper copies to make sure everything is on the same page. Watch out for checks that are not in order and strange payment recipients, who could be the benefactors of a scam.

Properly Train Employees: One of the best ways to avoid business fraud is to train workers on how to spot it. Encourage them to report strange behavior through an anonymous system and craft a business code of ethics to keep everyone accountable.

Click here to learn why you have a lawyer review your contracts!

Protect All Credit Card Numbers: Credit card fraud is becoming a popular way for people to steal money from businesses. A good way to ward this off is to separate all business and personal accounts. This keeps funds safe on both sides if the other accounts are breached by credit card fraud. All businesses should be very careful about who they give out credit card numbers too and use online payment services to mitigate any risks.

Audit Regularly: Businesses should subject themselves to regular audits on all financial activity to stay accountable. Non-scheduled audits, especially if they are from an outside source, can help detect fraud that might have gone unnoticed otherwise. Many companies are experienced at carrying out audits for businesses of all sizes and will give valuable advice about warding off business fraud in the future.

Keep the above seven steps in mind to fight against business fraud. It can strike a business of any size, but good due diligence will keep your operations safe and protected.

Do you have a question about business fraud? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

Courtesy of Cuselleration

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Facts About the Right to Repair Act

You probably hear a lot about ‘damages’ when it comes to attorneys and litigation. But what do damages really mean? There are two types of damages, actual and economic. Actual damages encompass physical injuries and property damage, while economic damages centralize around the cost of a repair that did not encompass a physical injury or lead to property damage.

A good example to think about both has to do with construction. Actual damages would consist of things like a bad roof that leads to water damage, or even a collapse that injures someone inside of the building. Economic damages would have to do with the actual cost of repairing or replacing the bad roof, aside form any other property damage or injury claims.

Background

In 1998, the California Supreme Court said economic damages from construction defects are not able to be recovered in instances of negligence or strict liability. They made this ruling in Aas vs. Superior Court.

In response, the Right to Repair Act came into effect. The Act says homeowners in newly constructed housing can sue for economic damages if the residence did not meet certain construction standards.

The Act came into existence thanks to the work of legislators in California through SB 800. The intention of SB 800 was to mitigate the effects of the Aas decision.

Here’s a few facts about the Right to Repair Act to keep in mind.

It applies to all claims relating to construction defects

Homeowners also have the ability to file a claims related to personal injury, breach of contract, strict liability, and fraud, without having to adhere to the pre litigation stipulations spelled out in the Act.

It now covers more than just economic loss

A California Supreme Court Case in 2018 said the Act can now cover cases relating to property damage that arise out of defects related to construction.

Click here to learn about financial fraud laws in California!

It is now the exclusive way to recover property damages that are related to construction defects

However, personal injury damages are still outside the scope of the Act and are not listed as a recoverable category.

Homeowners must still comply with the pre litigation procedures spelled out in the Act even if their construction defect is not specifically listed in the Act

The California Supreme Court, when taking on this question, said homeowners are not able to bypass the pre litigation procedures because the Act has a ‘catchall standard’ in addition to the specific construction standards that were listed.

The decision by the California Supreme Court was seen as a big win for builders, contractors, manufactures, and design professionals

This was because of a couple of reasons. First, the vast majority of claims still had to go through the pre litigation procedures as spelled out in the Act. It also substantiated that the Act still applied to construction defects that were not specifically laid out in the jargon and wording of the Act itself.

The Right to Repair Act might seem like a complicated piece of legislation. There’s an extensive amount of background that corresponds with how it’s interpreted and seen today. Overall, homeowners do reserve the right to bring claims, but usually still have to go through a pre litigation process, except in certain instances.

Do you have a question about the Right to Repair Act? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

Courtesy of Cuselleration

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3 Reasons You Should Have a Lawyer Review Your Contracts

It can be tricky as an entrepreneur to call up a lawyer to review a contract. But failing to do so can have devastating consequences for your business.

A lot of things can go wrong thanks with a bad contract. You could end up forking over a lot more money than you should. You could lose your rights to valuable property, and even expose yourself to risky (and costly) lawsuits.

Therefore, it is important to spend the money on having a lawyer review contracts. It will be a lot more expensive for an individual to come in at the end of the day to revise and fix a bad one.

Here are three reasons why you should have a lawyer review your contracts.

1. Courts Find Them Easier to Enforce
A good contract means that it holds weight in court. But a generic contract or one you wrote yourself, thanks to the internet might not be able to actually be enforced in your area.

If you’ve chosen to broker an oral agreement, it might not even be valid for certain types of transactions.

On the other hand, contracts that have been reviewed and edited by a lawyer ensures that important jargon and terms are included so the contract is valid. Plus, a good lawyer will make sure the agreement is up-to-date based on state laws.

This is particularly important when it comes to non-compete agreements. They can be a variable way for you to keep talent from working with a competitor, but a non-compete you crafted yourself probably will have some sort of error that could make the whole agreement non-enforceable.

2. Contracts Reviewed or Written by an Attorney Are Thorough
Poorly written contracts, or one with glaring gaps, could open you up to disputes or expensive lawsuits. Lawyers are experts when it comes to contracts. They understand how to write them in a clear manner and how to mitigate any potential problems on the horizon.

A good attorney who reviews a contract will be able to fill in the gaps that someone might have missed and will have the legal know-how to suggest additional clauses.

Lawyers know that a good contract includes stipulations about what happens if one party does not hold up their end of the bargain.

Well-written contracts also take steps to limit your liability in a scenario that is beyond your control. Additionally, they will incorporate so-called “boilerplate” clauses that will minimize frivolous disputes.

With the help of a good lawyer, a contract becomes a document that helps resolve problems. It becomes something that can help shorten the length of any disputes, and make sure you stand a better chance of
winning the case.

Click here to learn the 5 ways for your business to avoid legal issues!

3. Attorneys Can Help Craft Contracts That Save You Money
An experienced attorney in your industry will know about the types of standard language and terms. As a result, their expertise will translate in a contract that favors you, their client.

Having an attorney look over a contract, or taking the steps to revise one, can be a useful way for you to potentially save a lot of money. An attorney on your side can give advice about how to push the boundaries in your favor, or at least advise you about reasonable terms and negotiation standards.

If you are writing a contract on your own, and the other side has an experienced attorney working on theirs, you might be subject to unfair terms or be put at a bad negotiating vantage point.

Overall, getting good legal advice when it comes to contracts can make or break your business.

Do you have a contract that needs to be carefully reviewed by an attorney? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

Courtesy of Cuselleration

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How to Protect Your Business from Copyright Lawsuits

Think your company has the next ‘big idea’, good enough to break into your industry? Chances are, someone else has had the same idea. At Von Esch Law Group, we’ve seen too many start-ups and business owners face patent litigation from companies waiting to file lawsuits against unsuspecting entrepreneurs. Here are 4 tips for avoiding copyright infringement throughout each stage of your development.

  1. Be cautious if it’s not your own.

 

You may think this goes without saying, but so many business owners get caught in this tricky copyright trap. If a piece of content was not created by you or your company, whether in person or on the internet, a high level of caution is required when deciding if it’s acceptable to reuse. If you find content you want to use for business purposes, especially photographs and music, check the permissions or license to see whether you can use it for free or need to pay a fee.

  1. Big companies do care.

With so many massive corporations pushing out content daily, it can be tempting to take a small piece of their content – like an Instagram post or 3-second video clip – for your business’s personal use. However, more often than not, they’ll be looking out for this small form of plagiarism. New software has made it possible for companies to monitor any content being republished on the web, no matter how small. Play it safe and avoid this type of copyright infringement.

  1. Don’t forget to look for “fair use”.

While these infringement laws may seem scary, there may be a way around them. “Fair use” is an exemption offered to those who wish to use a piece of content with a copyright license for educational purposes. While this option requires you to read the fine lines, it often allows you access to otherwise prohibited content for educational use.

  1. Start early.

Just had an idea for a business, product, or service? It’s never too early to start researching the current patents associated with your idea. Whether you assign it to your development team or look into it yourself, thoroughly researching the copyrights related to your product can help you avoid a major headache (and lawsuit) in the future.

In addition to following these tips, our team at Von Esch Law highly recommends hiring a legal team to walk you through each step of your business or product development. We specialize in business law and have helped countless clients avoid costly lawsuits. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation with our team!

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How To Spot a Ponzi Scheme

A Ponzi scheme occurs when a scammer uses funds from new investors to pay the returns to existing investors. There is no real money being generated and when the scammer is unable to get more new investors, the scheme eventually falls apart. Being able to recognize this type of investment fraud is imperative if you want to avoid losing thousands of your hard earned money to a scam. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has laid out warning signs to alert potential investors to a Ponzi scheme.

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What are California’s Disability Discrimination Laws?

The topic of disability and what can be done to make accommodations for disability at work can sometimes be unclear. California employment law offers a wide range of legal protection for employees who can establish a valid claim for disability discrimination in the workplace. But what constitutes as disability discrimination in the state of California?

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4 Reasons To Start A Business Today

Everyone wants more money, but hardly anyone is willing to start a business of their own to get it. The fact of the matter is, the biggest earners in the world are no longer the kings and sultans (with some exceptions) but from businessmen and businesswomen who were willing to risk it all. The funny thing about the risk of running a business is, it isn’t as risky as you might think.

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6 Apps To Help Your Business Legally

Thankfully for startups everywhere, a pen and paper are not our only resources anymore! There are hundreds of gadgets, services and applications to assist your business and improve productivity. Whether you’re a new business, or you have been around for a while, trying to maneuver through the legal aspect of your business can often be complex and confusing. However, there are a few apps that can make this process quicker and simpler. We’ve compiled a list of the six apps you need to download now for your business!

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5 Ways For Businesses to Avoid Legal Issues

Starting a small business is difficult enough as is without any legal potholes or problems. As a small business owner you have enough to worry about, and you don’t want to be stressing out about business law. We can help your business stand on its own two feet, make sure it’s legally protected and offer advice on the best practices moving forward. However, for some simple tips that can be easily followed, take a look at this list we created of easy ways to avoid legal issues for your small business.

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