Identity theft can be devastating to your business and personal finances. There are, however, a number of effective ways you can protect your business and personal information from identity thieves. Below are some of the most effective strategies for protecting your business.
Prevent Card Fraud
There's no doubt that credit cards and debit cards have changed the way we do business. Instead of carrying cash, these cards provide convenience and safety, as well as tracking of transactions on monthly statements.
You don't have to lose your credit or debit card to become a victim of credit card fraud. Thieves can obtain your credit card account numbers from old receipts or by scanning your card in illegal machines.
There are many things you can do to avoid becoming a victim of credit card fraud. They include:
- Keep an updated list of which employees have company credit, debit or ATM cards, along with their account numbers, expiration dates and limits.
- Keep card fraud department phone numbers handy.
- Cancel and destroy any unused cards.
- Make sure employees sign company cards immediately upon receipt.
- Keep track of card receipts. Ask that they be submitted for any expense reimbursements.
- Review credit card and bank account statements for unexplained charges.
- Shield the keypad when entering your card PIN.
- Remind employees to never give their ATM PIN number, credit card PIN number, or account numbers to anyone they don't know, either on the telephone or online.
Order a copy of your firm's credit report at least annually and look for unauthorized applications, unfamiliar credit accounts, credit inquiries, defaults and any delinquencies that you were unaware of.
Prevent Phone Fraud
Many thieves use the telephone to commit fraud. These criminals are looking for unsuspecting individuals who will give them important information, like Social Security Numbers, dates of birth, credit card numbers or bank account numbers. Once they have critical company information, they use it to make fraudulent purchases, obtain credit or to access bank accounts.
Remind employees of the following tips to help prevent phone fraud:
Consider the following pointers when conducting your company's business or making business-to-business purchases:
- Choose to do business with companies you know are reputable, particularly when shopping online.
- When you fill out a loan or credit application, be sure that the business either shreds these applications or stores them in locked files.
- Ask businesses what their privacy policies are and how they will use your information.
- Keep a list of all your credit cards and bank accounts along with their account numbers, expiration dates and credit limits, as well as their respective fraud department phone numbers in a safe place.
- Instruct employees that all company business dealings are confidential, and consider (with legal counsel) asking each employee to sign a confidentiality statement as a condition of employment.