Our five steps to beating identity fraud

It’s thought that around one in three Britons will fall victim to identity theft at least once. It is also said that this crime costs around £2.7 billion each year - two astonishing facts that should wake businesses up to the risks of fraud.

Criminals want to steal your business identity so that they can commit credit card and online banking fraud. And they’re becoming more sophisticated at doing so.

So that begs the question – what can be done to counter ID fraud?

Here we’re going to look at five steps you can take to ensure that your business is safe.

Changing offices

Moving offices is often a sign that your business is growing – a good thing. But it also offers up one of the easiest ways for a fraudster to start assuming your identity. They start to intercept mail that’s turning up at your old address when you fail to alert providers of your change in address.

They can make use of an old bills and statements to assume your identity. So make sure that when you’re switching offices that all of your mail goes with you.

Shred old paperwork

Office environments build up a lot of paperwork. And we mean a lot. And in that huge pile of documents there may be something that a fraudster can quickly turn into personal gain. Old receipts, bills, finance information – don’t leave them lying around. If they’re needed, store them safely. If they aren't, shred them.

Spam mail

Know this – your bank will never email you asking for personal details. So when emails come through claiming to be from a bank or from someone offering to give you money, be wary. Avoid clicking on the links in the email too. These can open your computer network (and important information therein) to a whole host of risks.

While we’re on the subject of risks to your computer network here’s a quick list of precautions you should take:

  • Have an IT security policy in place
  • Install firewalls and anti-virus software
  • Regularly update all software
  • Regularly change passwords to your various accounts
  • Don’t leave computers turned on and logged in overnight
  • Always login to online banking by typing the web address into the web browser
  • Check statements regularly and thoroughly

Vet business partners

It’s important that you vet customers, suppliers, and any sort of business partners thoroughly. If for example, they’re reluctant to share details with you, it could be a sign that they’re entering business with you in the hopes that they can conduct fraudulent activity.

You can view details of other UK companies on the Companies House Website. If it is a company from abroad ask for references and documentation of incorporation.

Vet staff

One risk that businesses often overlook is within their own office. And that’s their staff. Again, to avoid attacks from within your own business it’s important that you vet all new staff thoroughly. Know your current staff members well enough to be able to spot problems too.

Business fraud is a very real risk, and one that shouldn't, under any circumstances, be ignored. If you’re worried that your business may fall victim, contact us here at Focus Training & Solutions. We offer a range of training courses designed to help you implement security measures. 

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