Hanging with local pups at our Yappy Hour Event

On June 30th we hosted about 40 dog parents and their furry friends for our first ever BYOP:Bring your Own Pup event in Kendall Square. We even had some Instagram Celebrities @Knox_and_Bear in attendance. CLF member, Cambridge Spirits, hosted us for an evening of good company and dog kisses. While the people sipped some great local wine from Josh Paso Robles and Joseph Carr, we made "Puptinis" for the dogs (just chicken broth and some blueberries). We also featured some of our amazing pet-oriented members, including 100% organic treats from Camberville Dog Treats and an amazing doggie bouquet from Central Square Florist.

Sad you missed out? Don't worry Cambridge Spirits is dog-friendly 365 days a year! They have complimentary wine tastings every week so make sure to bring your best pal for a visit! 

Business Alert: Beware & Prepare for E-Mail Scams

It’s a business’ worst nightmare. An e-mail scam directed at one of or several unknowing finance employees wreaks havoc on a company’s bottom-line leading to thousands or potentially millions of dollars in losses.  Unfortunately, scams like and similar to this happen far too often all over the world and Cambridge is no exception.

Earlier this month, a company based in Kendall Square was schemed out of more than $300,000 through an e-mail scam. A financial controller received multiple e-mails believed to be from the company’s CEO asking to wire more than $300,000 in three separate wire transfers to an overseas bank. Believing that the e-mail was authentic, money was wired and it wasn’t until the employee and the CEO spoke to one another in person that the company became aware of the scam.  Within the past year, Cambridge Police Detectives also worked an e-mail scam that cost a Cambridge Park Drive company approximately $1.5 million and another on First Street that was nearly $250,000.

The Business E-mail Compromise (BEC) is a sophisticated scam targeting businesses working with foreign suppliers and/or businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payments. The victims of the BEC scam range from small to large businesses. These businesses may purchase or supply a variety of goods, such as textiles, furniture, food, and pharmaceuticals. This scam impacts both ends of the supply chain, as both supplies and money can be lost and business relations may be damaged. Between October 1, 2013 and December 1, 2014, the FBI estimates that businesses lost approximately $215 million due to e-mail schemes.

It is still largely unknown how victims are selected; however, the subjects monitor and study their selected victims prior to initiating the BEC scam. The subjects are able to accurately identify the individuals and protocol necessary to perform wire transfers within a specific business environment. Victims may also first receive “phishing” e-mails requesting additional details of the business or individual being targeted (name, travel dates, etc.).

CHARACTERISTICS OF BEC COMPLAINTS
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has noted the following characteristics of BEC complaints:

Businesses and personnel using open source e-mail are most targeted.

Individuals responsible for handling wire transfers within a specific business are targeted.

Spoofed e-mails very closely mimic a legitimate e-mail request.

Hacked e-mails often occur with a personal e-mail account.

Fraudulent e-mail requests for a wire transfer are well-worded, specific to the business being victimized, and do not raise suspicions to the legitimacy of the request.

The phrases “code to admin expenses” or “urgent wire transfer” were reported by victims in some of the fraudulent e-mail requests.

The amount of the fraudulent wire transfer request is business specific; therefore, dollar amounts requested are similar to normal business transaction amounts so as to not raise doubt.

Fraudulent e-mails received have coincided with business travel dates for executives whose e-mails were spoofed.

Victims report that IP addresses frequently trace back to free domain registrars.

SUGGESTIONS FOR PROTECTION
The Cambridge Police Department and IC3 suggest the following measures to help protect you and your business from becoming victims of the BEC scam:

Avoid Free Web-Based E-Mail: Establish a company web site domain and use it to establish company e-mail accounts in lieu of free, web-based accounts.

Be careful what is posted to social media and company websites, especially job duties/descriptions, hierarchal information, and out of office details.

Be suspicious of requests for secrecy or pressure to take action quickly.

Consider additional IT and Financial security procedures and 2-step verification processes. For example –

Make sure all company software is up-to-date with all security patches being updated and installed.

Make sure anti-virus and malware softwares are installed and regularly updated.

Out of Band Communication: Establish other communication channels, such as telephone calls, to verify significant transactions. Arrange this second-factor authentication early in the relationship and outside the e-mail environment to avoid interception by a hacker. 

Digital Signatures: Both entities on either side of transactions should use digital signatures. However, this will not work with web-based e-mail accounts. Additionally, some countries ban or limit the use of encryption.

Delete Spam: Immediately delete unsolicited e-mail (spam) from unknown parties. Do NOT open spam e-mail, click on links in the e-mail, or open attachments. These often contain malware that will give subjects access to your computer system.

Forward vs. Reply: Do not use the “Reply” option to respond to any business e-mails. Instead, use the “Forward” option and either type in the correct e-mail address or select it from the e-mail address book to ensure the intended recipient’s correct e-mail address is used.

Consider enabling two factor authorization at a bank for issuing checks, ACH payments or wire transfers.

Beware of sudden changes in business practices. For example, if a current business contact suddenly asks to be contacted via their personal e-mail address when all previous official correspondence has been on a company e-mail, the request could be fraudulent. Always verify via other channels that you are still communicating with your legitimate business partner.

If your business has been victimized, please report it immediately and the Cambridge Police will collaborate with the appropriate agencies to attempt and recover your funds.  If you would like to learn more about protecting your business from these crimes, please contact the Cambridge Police Business Outreach team at 617-349-3236 or e-mail communityrelations@cambridgepolice.org.

This post was shared with us by our friends at the Harvard Square Business Association. 

Cambridge Local First says Goodbye to Co-Founder, Laury Hammel

It is with some sadness and a great deal of gratitude that we mark the departure of Laury Hammel from CLF. For the ten years that CLF has existed, Laury has been its heart and soul. His energetic, visionary cheerleading, his persistent, intelligent outreach to business owners locally and nationally has kept us on track, growing, improving ourselves and seeing both the bigger and the local picture in our work.

Now his own business obligations and his continuing work with other local firsts, and the national movement have drawn his time away from us. He leaves us in good shape, but with a gap to fill with inspiration and with broad and hopeful goals. There is plenty of opportunity here in Cambridge as the public conversation around ‘Local’ continues to be robust, complex, open to various interpretations, and better served by more and more data showing the power of locally owned, independent businesses to improve economies everywhere.

We are those business owners, and the more we do for each other and ourselves, the better off we all are. CLF works to improve the businesses of our members in many ways. In addition to the marketing opportunities, we provide seminars to inform and give you a platform to explore the legal, marketing, and social environments in which we all operate. We hold events where you can casually meet both other business owners and residents—your customers!—to better understand how your business can serve them, and thereby improve your bottom line.

With the departure of Laury Hammel, and at the end of the year, another founding member from the Steering Committee, we are seeking more board members. Now celebrating our tenth anniversary (!!) Cambridge Local First has become its own legal entity. The Steering Committee is now officially a Board of Directors.

We hope to see you (business owner or local patron!) at a Board meeting soon, or responding to a newsletter article, or at a Local Thirst, or other event. As a business owner, you ARE a leader. You can get more out of your membership by stepping up and joining us in leading this organization to even greater success…

Rachael Solem & Frank Kramer, Co-Chairs

Driving your Business’ Value: A seminar by Cambridge Local First

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How much is your business worth? Whether you are planning to sell your business, grant stock options/restricted stock to employees, or transfer shares to family members for estate planning purposes, it’s important to know what drives the value of your business. We will explore valuation of privately held businesses through the lens of potential investors, as well as valuation methodology and tax compliance according to IRS regulations.

Join us on July 15th from 9-11AM at Cambridge Trust, 1336 Massachusetts Ave in Cambridge, for an in-depth and personalized seminar. We keep our groups small so you are able to ask the questions you need answered. Refreshments will be provided. This seminar is proudly sponsored by Cambridge Trust Company. Tickets are $20 for Cambridge Local First members and $35 for the public and are available via Eventbrite.

Alicia Amaral is a Director for a national business valuation firm. She also teaches accounting and entrepreneurial finance at Tufts University. She received her Bachelors in Business from Furman University and her Masters in Accounting from Bentley University.

Register Today!

Ode to Dad

Sometimes they're grumpy, sometimes they're busy, sometimes they go get the mail in a pair of embarrassingly tight bleach-white briefs and there's nothing you can do about it. Dads are by nature, mysterious. But, it is our duty to bear witness to their bold dismissal of social norms, like public nudity. It also wouldn't hurt to take a couple notes. Dad's are stockpiles of wisdom on a variety of topics from fly-fishing, negotiating a raise, or how many miles you can drive with the gaslight on. Join Cambridge Local First as we explore all the different localcentric ways to appreciate the dads in our life for all their quirks in the hope that one day we'll be lucky enough to follow in their footsteps.  

For the out-of-state dad...

Dad might not be in arms reach this year, maybe visiting him isn't feasible with your workload. However, there are a bunch of great ways to send a thoughtful gift to him.

Does your dad love the meat sweats? A savory or sweet tooth respectively? With the advent of the all-knowing internet you can send your daddy dearest a customized gift to match his tastes perfectly. Try Salt & Olive for a curated bonanza of lux (in store they have even more!) Their neighbor Follow the Honey can deck out some raw honey for Pop. Let us not forget Formaggio Kitchen's online shop. A hand selected savory "I love you" is only a click away. 

Of course an important step to gift giving is intent. You're going to need an outlet for all your dad-feelings. Let's get emotional with the amazing card selection at Black Ink in Harvard Square, or Bob Slate Stationer, right across the street. 

Need more options? Check out local online maker marker, The Grommet. They've curated a bunch of amazing gifts, made by real people, for every kind of dad. 

credit: Hungry Travelers featuring Formaggio Kitchen

Before the big day...

Searching for the perfect present that sums up years of gratitude and "I'm sorry"s for the accidental destruction of his favorite power tool, kitchen gadget, or automobile? You can absolutely find it in Cambridge. 

Does your dad love remembering the good old days? Why not facilitate his "When I was your age..." mantra with a vintage record from Planet Records in Harvard Square or a classic Hawaiian shirt from Great Eastern Trading Co in Central Square? Oona's Experienced Clothing in Harvard Square is full of blasts from the past. If you want to remind him of what city lines looked like when he was your age you can buy him a historic map of Cambridge from Ward Maps in Porter Square. 

Maybe your dad is more interested in what's going on now. Might be a good time to dazzle him with the latest technology that can improve his day to day antics. Check out Sound Lion in Harvard Square for amazing audio finds. For something right up his alley check out the selection of  gifts from Boutique Fabulous in Inman Square, or Graymist in Huron Village. If you're feeling very grateful it might be a special treat to head over to Swiss Watchmaker in Harvard Square, they carry the creme de la creme of wrist-wear. 

credit: Yelp featuring Swiss Watchmakers

For the dad about town...

If your dad is in Cambridge this Father's Day consider one of Cambridge's dadtacular restaurants or clubs. 

There's hundreds of great restaurants in Cambridge with enough selection to please the palate of the meat&potatoes or vegan dad alike. One tip, reservations! You want to show the old man how under control you've got everything so step it up by calling ahead to Alden & Harlow, Ole Mexican Restaurant, Cambridge Common, Craigie on Main, Christopher's, Frank's Steak House, Courthouse Seafood, East Coast Grill, Tupelo, Park, or any of the incredible class act dining establishments we call our own. Want something specific? How convenient that you're already on our website! Check out our online directory of locally owned restaurants. 

Maybe dad's a music man, or maybe he just thinks he is. Let the toe-tapping and bottom lip-biting commence! Check out Cambridge's incredible venues like Passim, Ryle's Jazz Club, the Lizard Lounge, and Toad. They're just that perfect mix of hip and comfortable that will create a safe space for all his awkward dance moves. 

credit: The Boston Globe featuring Frank's Steakhouse

When in doubt, go with what he loves!

Whether it's a neat bourbon or a rosemary bush, you know your dad best. If you're stuck go with what you'll know he'll love. Your boring is ultimately his classic and appreciating him for who he is, well that's half the battle you fought when you shared the same roof! (Or maybe still do!) Father's Day is great opportunity to say "Hey man, I know who you are, and I love you for it. Now please go put on some pants.

Maybe your dad is a tough sell. Maybe he's just enough to have everything he could want. My advice is not to both getting him something you'll hope he'll use. Better to get him something you know he'll enjoy like a vintage wine, locally brewed beer, whiskey, or cured meat. These aren't things he's likely to buy himself which is why you can make a point to treat him. Great places to pick stuff up include, Central Bottle Wine and Provisions, Savenor's Butcher & Market, Cambridge Spirits, or Liquor World.   

Does dad have a green thumb? Does he spend more time in the garden talking to his sweet pea's than he does talking to his biological sweet pea? Now is the perfect season to head to one of Cambridge's amazing florists to set him up with the perfect plant. Did you know most herbs can be grown inside the house? Now he'll be able to hang out with you and still croon to one of his green children. 

credit: swelectricinc.com featuring Cambridge Spirits