Did you know that the biggest target of identity theft isn’t actually individuals – it’s businesses (business identity theft is real)!
Most of us are aware of the serious risk that is personal identity theft. We secure our mailboxes, keep our passports and other forms of identification in a safe place, and we certainly are careful with the information we share online.
Business identity theft is highly lucrative with fairly minimal risk, so it’s no surprise that it is the number one for-profit crime in the US, costing businesses worldwide roughly US$221 billion annually!
Identity thieves are on the lookout for unsuspecting businesses – big and small – as their next easy targets. Keep reading to find out how you can protect your business from becoming the next victim!
What is business identity theft?
The majority of business owners don’t fully understand the risks of identity theft. As a result, many don’t have adequate protection. Business identity theft is not merely an information security breach, nor the loss or theft of consumer information. It is more accurately described as a person or other entity impersonating the actual business itself. Identity thieves make illicit gains by defrauding creditors, suppliers, business owners, consumers, and even the government.
Remember – no business is immune from the threat. Criminals have been known target businesses of any size and structure, and in any industry, so don’t be complacent by not protecting your business.
What steps should I take to protect my Business?
The best way to protect your business is by being proactive and making sure you’re always a step ahead of identity thieves. Once someone gets hold of your sensitive information, they will often rack up massive charges very quickly.
This can put your customers’ financial records at risk, damage your credit history, and cause a multitude of other problems. You don’t ever want it to reach this point!
Follow these five steps to drastically reduce the risk to your business…
Minimise stored information
The more data you store, the easier it is for criminals to steal more information and put it to bad use!
You should only store information if it is absolutely necessary. If you absolutely need to store information, it is a good idea to store corresponding information in different places.
For example, keep your username stored in one place and the corresponding password elsewhere in a way that makes sense to you but not to others. This will make it very difficult for criminals to make use of your information.
Have a data destruction policy
Make a habit of eliminating information that you no longer need.
For example, delete old data from files that haven’t been used for a long time. Also, if you replace computer equipment, it is strongly advised that you destroy the old equipment so thieves can’t recover the information stored on it. Include these steps in your business’ data destruction policy so all of your team understands what is expected of them.
Protect paper documents
Keep all sensitive information in a safe place, such as in a locked drawer. Only trusted employees should have access to such documents and deal with them responsibly. Once confidential documents are no longer needed, they should be shredded. This will protect your business from any recycling bin-diving thieves!
Have password protection for everything
This might seem obvious, but for every software platform or website your business uses, it should require a password to log in. It is best to make complicated passwords and use different passwords for every log-in. By doing so, it means that if someone somehow uncovers the password for one of your accounts, they won’t automatically have access to all of them!
Implement data encryption
Technologies are available to prevent business identity theft. By using a data encryption system, any information leaving your business can be kept secure. This technology uses an algorithm to convert normal text into indecipherable mumbo-jumbo (in layman’s terms) so it cannot be understood by unwanted parties.
Get Protected Today!
Business identity theft is a serious problem which unfortunately is becoming more and more common for businesses worldwide. There is no better time to get protected than the present.
About Your Guest Blogger: With over 20 years’ legal and business experience, Katherine Hawes is the founder and principal solicitor of Aquarius Lawyers. To find out more about her fixed rate small business packages, please see: Digital Age Lawyers