A new year is here, and for businesses, that means there could be brand new goals on the horizon.

One goal should certainly include protection from online phishing and fraud. A recent statistic shows that businesses lost up to $676 million in 2017 due to business email compromise scams. And that dollar amount climbs higher each year.

When a company is hit by a scam, production can come to a standstill. Below are 4 tips for protection against online scams you can integrate in the new year.

Secure personal information.

Companies should be wary of sharing personal information online through email, social media, or instant messaging. Emails that ask for sensitive details such as bank account numbers and usernames should be red flagged. Banks and other legitimate organizations do not request for such information via email. Keys, passwords, and PIN numbers should be kept hidden, and invoices and other important documents should be shredded when no longer needed.

Learn how to spot fakes.

Phishing emails tend to contain blaring warning signs that point to fraud. Some of those signs include:

• Typos or misspellings
• Grammar errors
• Urgency to act now or soon
• Generic greetings (“Dear Customer” or “Dear Sir/Madam”)
• Wrongly capitalized words
• Exclamation marks

Cybercriminals also create and attach fake invoices, legal documents, flight itineraries and other seemingly important documents to trick victims and gain access to information.

Do not click on suspicious links.

Scammers commonly use shortened links such as Bitly, so pay careful attention to those links. Copying a link from a message and pasting it to a browser should be avoided. Likewise, close suspicious pop-up windows immediately. Users can do research around a company or message before making any other moves as well.

Make sure websites use encryption.

A secure website should include “https://” preceding the website address in the browser bar. Another way of checking for a safe site is finding the lock icon which should also appear on the browser bar. These indications mean that the site is secured with encryption and less likely to be used by a cybercriminal hunting for valuable data.

Prevent costly consequences with alertness and attention to detail regarding emails and messages. A simple click of the wrong link can quickly turn into a nightmare for your business. Outsmarting cybercriminals by preparing for phishing emails and online fraud can be a perfect start to your new year.