Are you concerned about security breach or cyber attack on your company? If YES, here are 10 best iron-clad identity theft prevention tips for small businesses.
Business identity thieves and fraudsters are on the increase. These individuals are always on a mission to seize companies’ identities and acquire credit or complete business transactions in the companies’ names. Most of the time, this remains unnoticed until after much damage has been done.
Business identity theft is one of the biggest threats to small businesses, as the damage it inflicts on a business can cripple its operations, destroy its reputation and brand image, and preventing it from acquiring credit.
Fortunately, business identity theft can be protected by simply ensuring basic precautions. The following are some of the proactive actions that you can take to prevent your business identity information from being used by criminals to steal money from your company or commit fraud in your company name.
10 Iron-Clad Identity Theft Prevention Tips for Small Businesses
1. Develop an identity protection plan for your business
Most business owners focus more on developing plans to grow their company, while paying little or no attention to business identity protection—which is even more important, since a business can only grow when its finances, identity, and reputation are in good shape. A smart approach towards protecting your business from identity theft is to design a step-by-step plan to protect your company’s identity and put in place an action plan in the event that you become a victim.
2. Protect company documents
Being careless with company documents is one of the easiest ways to expose your business to the risk of identity theft. So, keep all your company documents and records in a secure location. Before disposing of any useless document, use a micro-cut shredder to render documents into unreadable pieces. In addition, you must never disclose vital details about your company—such as the federal tax ID number, financials, or bank statements—to anyone unless you have made initial contact.
In many cases of business identity theft, a criminal will gain access to a business’s credit card information and then go on a spending spree, buying various valuable items that can be quickly sold for cash. Using prepaid business credit cards for employees can help protect your business against this.
Unlike traditional credit cards, prepaid business credit cards allow you to set spending limits, deactivate the card in real time, and even limit the channels where the card can be used. So, if a criminal steals such a card or its information, you can act quickly to stop the theft.
Monitoring your company’s profiles with the relevant agencies in your state or country is one of the fastest ways to detect a possible identity theft. You can monitor your profiles effectively by subscribing to their monitoring services, which give you access to your files 24/7 and sends you email alert notifications whenever there is a new activity on your company credit profiles.
5. Never create “master user” accounts
Another easy way to give out access to your company’s vital information is to create a “master user” account of any type, where an employee or other individual can have access to all your company information. Most of the time, the culprit is the same individual using the account.
You should avoid putting your company at risk by using sensitive information, such as your employer ID number, company account numbers, financial documents, in emails or anywhere else across the web. If you need to provide such details for any reason, ensure that the site is reputable and has an updated security certificate.
7. Enact security and authentication controls against fraudulent wire transfers
Many identity thieves steal money from their victims through wire transfer and other electronic payment methods. And because these transactions are completed quickly, they are usually not detected in time. So, if your business utilizes wire transfers and similar transaction methods, use multiple authentication methods of approval before a transaction is approved.
8. Monitor and reconcile your business account daily
In your bid to prevent business identity theft, your credit report is not the only thing to monitor; you also need to frequently review your business account for fraudulent or suspicious transactions. Request that your bank send you text or email notifications for each transaction on your account.
9. Use online banking-: Online banking eliminates or reduces the need for mailed paper statements, which means it can significantly reduce the risk of your business banking information getting stolen or exposed.
10. Use complex passwords
To prevent easy access to your online banking account and other electronically stored vital details about your company, use complex passwords that include upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. With this type of mix, your chances of having your identity stoles are slim.