When it comes to keeping a business not just afloat but actually thriving, there are numerous tasks to complete every month, from sales and marketing through to finance, admin, customer service, and more. However, with millions of people and businesses becoming the victim of identity fraud every year, and the financial losses of this adding up to billions of dollars (and rising), it is important for entrepreneurs to spend time and energy on protecting their assets too, no matter how busy they may be. Read on for some tips you can follow today to help protect your business from identity theft.
How to Prevent Business Identity Theft?
1. Secure Sensitive Information
To keep your business identity safe, start by taking steps to secure all of your firm’s sensitive information, as well as any of your own personal data that is linked to the business and could give access to cybercriminals into your accounts or networks.
One of the best ways to protect your business from identity theft so hackers can’t get access to it via the internet is to install security software on all of your devices. Any gadget that has data on it relating to things like bank account details, customers’ personal or financial information, usernames and passwords, and the like should be secured.
When it comes to buying software, choose a comprehensive product that will protect you from various types of threats. For example, look for anti-spam, anti-spyware, and antivirus software that also protects you from getting infected with ransomware and other types of malware. A firewall is also a very good idea since it will act as another line of defense against hackers.
Proper passwords that can’t be guessed by cybercriminals are essential, too, and need to be at least eight characters long and made up of a mixture of numbers, letters, and symbols. Don’t forget to keep software, firewalls, browsers, and other computer-related systems updated because this helps to plug security gaps, which can arise over time.
When it comes to securing your business information, keep in mind that data in the physical form needs to be protected too. As such, any paperwork that has important information on it, like credit card or bank account numbers, login details, and customer data, should be shredded rather than simply thrown in the bin. You should also always keep your mailbox locked and/or use a secure PO Box, so it’s not possible for outsiders to rifle through and steal your mail to get access to sensitive information.
2. Understand Common Scams So You Can Avoid Them
Next, it also helps if you are aware of some of the most common scams used by hackers to steal identities so that you can steer clear of them. For example, often, cyber criminals pretend to be from a genuine organization (such as a government department, bank, telecommunications provider, and the like) so that people will give up information, thinking they’re just responding to a request from a company they regularly deal with.
Cybercriminals might call you, send an email, or contact you via social media to ask for details, saying they need to verify something or correct an error. Alternatively, they also often embed malicious code into emails, downloads, links, and attachments that, once you click on or open, will give them data from your computers such as your passwords, usernames, and the keystrokes you enter.
To stay safe, never open an email or attachment from someone you don’t know; never give out sensitive information over the phone or via other methods when you can’t verify the person really does work for the organization they purport to, and never log in to your internet banking account or other key accounts online via a link you’ve clicked on (type in the URL directly instead).
3. Track Your Bank Account and Credit Card Statements
Lastly, when it comes to anyone gaining access to your firm’s financial or other sensitive details, the best way to limit the damage and stop hackers in their tracks is to discover the issue straight away. To do this, you need to carefully track all of your bank account & credit card movements so that you can pick up on unauthorized spending as soon as possible.
In addition, there are numerous other red flags to be on the lookout for. For example, ensure there haven’t been any changes made to the phone number, address, contact name, or other details on your accounts. Keep an eye on delinquent payments that might show up on your credit report, changes to the public records regarding your business, or any inquiries about new loans, credit card accounts, and the like. It’s worthwhile thinking about using a credit monitoring app or outsourced service, too, since these can alert you to any potential issues as soon as they arise.
I believe you’ll take the business identity theft issue seriously and take the right steps before any damage occurs.