There are two major reasons that you want to do all that you can to prevent business identity theft if you own or operate a business of any size. The first reason is that you don’t want the financial information of your own business to be compromised by someone who might try to use your business credit to run up debts under an assumed identity. The second reason is that you want to make sure that your customers are safe from identity theft in order to both avoid legal problems and to maintain your reputation with your customers.
Here are five things that you can start doing right now to prevent business identity theft from happening to your business:
1. Physically secure your building and your records. The building where the business is located should be physically secure with an alarm system in place to make sure that no one can get on the premises. As a further precaution, you should make sure that all physical records containing identifying and financial information are carefully locked up so that even if someone does break in, they can’t easily steal any of those records.
2. Make sure that computers are secure. It is important to invest in a high level of computer security so that your computer has a lower risk of being hacked. In addition to the security measures that you take on each computer in the office, you should also have a business organizational structure which limits the access of any financial files to only those few employees who really require that information.
3. Learn to shred and keep secrets. The main thing that a business person needs to learn is that the financial and identifying information that the business is involved with must be kept as secret as possible. This means shredding all financial documents in an appropriate-grade paper shredder and being careful not to reveal identifying information to people who don’t need to have it. Developing those habits seriously cuts down on identity theft issues.
4. Stop being a sucker. Would you believe that the most common way that identity thieves get information is that they ask for it and someone hands it over? Practice caution whenever you get an email or phone call requesting information, even if the person claims to be the customer.
5. Stay educated. There are many different scams out there implemented by identity thieves and they are changing all of the time. The smart business person will choose to be educated and to stay educated about the latest problems in business identity theft.
Businesses themselves can become victims of this problem but the real concern is that the mistakes of a business will lead to a customer’s identity theft. A business owner’s responsibilities include watching your business credit (including credit cards) as well as protecting your customer’s financial information to keep all parties safe from identity thieves when it comes to your place of business. Smart choices and the drive to stay on top of this issue should prevent a majority of the problems that have the potential to arise.