Identity theft is a crime on the rise; it’s rising so much in fact, that 32% of U.S. consumers worry they will be targeted in the next five years. Individual consumers, however, are not the only ones who should be concerned about identity theft. Businesses are also quickly becoming victims, as shown by a steep increase in business identity theft in 2017.
What can your business do to protect itself from the rapid increase in identity theft crimes? In our past blogs, we have made a few recommendations to help secure your business that also apply to preventing identity theft by protecting yourself when employees leave and securing your office devices. Some of these tips included methods like frequently changing passwords and creating a security policy within your office. These practices will help reduce risks internally, while our suggestions for securing devices can help mitigate some external risks.
But are there other methods? The answer is yes, and even more tips are listed below for your business’s protection:
Tip #1: Screen outsider requests for information
When spam emails find their way into your inbox or messages on social channels, these privacy invasion attempts are more than just annoying – they’re a real threat. Phishing emails and spam pose a serious risk, so it’s important to know how to avoid them. Suspicious emails and links often come in the form of site redirection or requests for information. Giving away your information over an unfamiliar link or source can provide identity thieves an easy route to claim access to your records, finances and more.
Tip #2: Quit leaving paper trails
Loose or improperly handled documents are another severe problem that allows for identity thieves to target businesses without doing much heavy lifting. Almost 70% of stolen information has come from paper printouts and files. Therefore, it’s important to reduce the risk of loose, unneeded paper files laying around offices, in trash and recycling receptacles or out in the open. Your seemingly harmless paper documents with simple information like employee names and/or cell phone numbers could be just enough information for hackers and thieves to use against you for their own gain.
Tip #3: Focus on finances
If you suspect financial foul play or identity thievery, a great step you can take is to closely check on your business’s financial records as well as any applicable credit accounts. A business’s financial reserves can be an enticing target for hackers, so erratic spending habits or unusual shifts in credit scoring could point to signs of identity theft. Be sure to report any irregularities as soon as possible.
Have further questions on how to protect your small business from identity theft? Need to get rid of loose paper documents that could otherwise put you at risk? Contact us today or schedule a shredding service with us to help protect your business.