What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is an issue for millions of people each year, and when it comes to business, identity theft can threaten the livelihood of all employees and customers. It is defined as the process of someone taking personal and private information, and using it to obtain credit or for their own personal gain. Fraudsters can gain enough information to commit identity fraud, where they can obtain goods, use bank accounts, open new accounts, and obtain genuine documents such as passports for example. Some criminals can even use supposedly harmless information such as your birthday to commit fraud because many UK companies ask for this as part of verification processes.
With the rate of technology and media constantly increasing, it is almost impossible to prevent all fraud and identity theft. However, read our top tips here to protect yourself and your business.
Top 10 Tips to Protect Data Against Identity Theft
1) Digital Statements to Reduce Paper Copies
You don’t want paper copies from lying around, and information can even be stolen before it is delivered. Bank statements, human resources, and other sensitive information, should be protected. Most businesses can’t go completely paperless, but moving to online financial statements helps and only takes a few minutes.
2) Buy a Good Shredder
For all paper documents it is important to shred sensitive information that you don’t need. Purchasing a reliable shredder can speed up processes and prevent recycling bin paper theft.
3) Secure Filing System
Records that need to be kept in paper form, should be kept in strong locked filing cabinets. They could also be kept locked somewhere that requires a second level of access.
4) Online and Computer Security
It is very important to install anti-virus and data protection software onto all computers. This software gets rid of malware and completes virus and malware scans to protect against unauthorized access. All software updates such as Windows, should be set to update automatically, and all wireless networks should be secured. All employees must be trained on how to best avoid identity theft, and physical access to any computers in the business should be restricted.
5) Monitor Your Accounts
Keep an eye on all financial accounts to make sure that there aren’t any discrepancies or potential identity theft.
6) Change All Passwords and PINs Every Week
7) Make Passwords Strong and Don’t Write Them Down
Passwords should contain a mixture of letters, numbers, capital letters, and symbols.
8) Don’t Keep All Identification in the Same Place
9) Back Up Data in Case of Hacking
10) Do Not Give All Employees Access to All Files
Even if you feel your employees are trustworthy, make sure that your data is secured.