Businesses are just as vulnerable to identity fraud as individuals. This could be anything from supplying a fake or false registered company with products or supplies who then disappear when the bills arrive, to discovering that someone has ‘hijacked’ your business and has been securing credit, goods and services in your good name.
Here Are a Few Helpful Tips to Help Protect Your Company:
- Register with Companies House & make sure you sign up to their Electronic Filing, PROOF & Monitor services which will help to prevent fraudsters changing the names of your directors & effectively ‘hijacking’ your company.
- Always make sure that sensitive, confidential or unwanted information is disposed of properly and securely preferably using a cross-cut shredder. Make sure anything including containing financial, personal, customer or employee details are shredded immediately before being thrown away – you should also shred any unwanted business plans, marketing plans or strategy documents. Don’t forget to shred CD’s too before throwing them away.
- Make sure that all staff are fully aware of the risk of identity fraud. Create a clear set of guidelines concerning the handling, storage, sharing and disposal of sensitive information, online and off-line. If required hold update and training sessions to ensure they are aware of the steps they need to take.
- Always check the identity of your customers. Both business & consumer credit reference agencies offer a wide range of solutions to authenticate & verify the existence and identity of customers.
- Make sure that all staff have access to a cross-cut shredder; position shredders near copiers/printers for quick and easy shredding of documents that might be left out on the paper tray.
- Make sure confidential information is securely stored in a locked storage unit or safe. Ensure the combination is changed every 6 months or whenever someone leaves the company or no longer requires access.
- Always ensure anti-virus software and firewalls are maintained and up-to date – both of these actions are essential. Always check for the lock button at the bottom of the screen when submitting sensitive or confidential information via a website. This ensures the information is encrypted.
- Before disposing of, selling or donating an old computer or hard drive, make sure the data on it has been fully erased from the hard disk.
- Do not email or send out artwork files of the company logo unless you are sending it to a known recipient with a legitimate business reason. Always ensure your logo is protected on websites and in emails so that it cannot be saved as an image and used without your permission.
- Do not throw away or give out blank headed paper to customers or suppliers and always shred any information on headed paper so it can’t be used by fraudsters.
Best Practice Tips for All Employees
- Never leave papers in meeting rooms, on photocopiers or printers, especially if they contain sensitive information.
- Always clear your desk at night and lock away protectively marked papers and all removable computer media before you leave your office.
- Shred unwanted papers and CD’s/DVDs before you leave the office or department – don’t leave them lying around for someone else to destroy.
- Keys must be stored securely when not in use –under a plant pot or in a desk tidy is not good enough.
- Look after your password – never reveal it to anyone and never write it down.
- Keep your work area tidy – this will ensure that you don’t accidentally forget to lock away protectively marked or sensitive material.