How to Protect Your Business from Identity Theft
Guidelines to Guarding Your Business’ Identity.
Identity theft can happen to businesses just as often as it can happen to individuals. That’s why it’s important to know how to prevent business identity theft and how to help your business in the aftermath, should it fall victim to this fraudulent act. These five guidelines can help you keep your business safe from corporate identity theft.
Have a Plan
The most important step in protecting your business from identity theft is developing a plan for preventing identity theft. You can develop this plan by establishing business-wide protocol in the handling of sensitive information, the review and keeping of financial documents and online procedures. Additionally, make sure you know the number to your credit reporting company and what steps to take if your business’ identity has been compromised.
Protect Sensitive Online Information
Sensitive information, such as employer identification numbers and financial documents, should always be treated with care—especially online. Generally, you should not share any of this information online, except for specific purposes like making business purchases or applying for a business credit card. Be on the lookout for false email addresses or phone numbers and suspicious links, because knowing how to spot phishing scams, hacking attempts and insecure connections will allow you to keep your business information safe online. Additionally, make sure you use more than one strong password for your business. This will make it more difficult for identity thieves to access your information.
Keep Track of Company Documents
Documents that include sensitive information should be carefully stored or disposed of properly. When storing documents, it is best to keep hard copies rather than digital ones. When disposing of documents, always shred them with a micro-shredder before tossing them into a recycling bin.
Monitor Credit Information
Being knowledgeable about your business’ bills and credit can help you catch corporate identity theft early. If you receive unexpected bills, charges or credit cards, contact the billing company or bank to make sure your business has not been compromised. It is also important to keep track of your business’ credit report. One of the best ways to do this is to sign up for a credit monitoring service, which can help you detect any changes in your business’ credit.
Beware of Schemes
Some of the most common methods of business identity theft are phishing, hacking or pretexting schemes. If you receive emails with false addresses or names or strange links, don’t click on the links and report the email as a phishing scam. Keep in mind that these phone numbers or email addresses are usually very similar to ones that you already know. If you receive phone calls from unknown numbers that ask for personal or business information, like phone numbers or addresses, don’t provide that information as it can often be used against your business. Make sure you know how to spot and report these scams in case you encounter them.
Identity theft is a very real concern for business owners, but taking these steps to protect your business information and financial records will help prevent the likelihood of an identity theft attempt on your business.