The BizFilings blog covering business tips and trends.
Protect Your Business from Identity Fraud, Part 1
Published on Mar 28, 2012
Read 'Protect Your Business from Identity Fraud, Part 1' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
By Brooke Miller Hall
Small businesses lost about $8 billion to fraud last year, according to James Harrison, CEO of INVISUS, an identity theft protection service provider that recently partnered with BizFilings.
“Starting and running a business can be daunting for first-time and even veteran entrepreneurs,” says Harrison. “Unfortunately, protecting both personal and business assets against business identity theft can often be an afterthought. This lack of protection makes small business owners and their entities preferred targets to fraudulent activities.”
Here are some basic steps to keep fraudsters at bay.
Be stingy with information. Keep your client and business data on a need-to-know basis, giving it out only when absolutely necessarily – and even then only share it with trusted associates. Always be suspicious of requests for your Employer Identification Number or your social security number.
Before you throw it away or recycle it, shred any paper that contains private, proprietary or personal information.
Don’t make it easy for would-be thieves to find your important information. Store data back-up files and important records – including your lease, mortgage and tax documents – at an offsite location not related to your business.
Keep close tabs on your financial records so you can quickly spot any unauthorized withdrawals and purchases. Don’t wait for monthly bank statements. You’ll catch potential fraudsters much faster if you monitor your account activity online regularly.
Do not ignore or minimize the potential impact of people who pretend to be part of your business. They could do a lot of damage to your reputation and everything you’ve worked to accomplish.
Don’t keep written copies of passwords near the computers or other devices that use them. In fact, don’t keep written copies of passwords at all – it’s best to memorize them.
These are just a few ways to start protecting your small business from identity theft. Because your electronic data is especially vulnerable, we will cover it in more detail in an upcoming post.
BizFilings announced our partnership with INVISUS and iDefend Business March 6. Learn more about how iDefend Business can help protect you and your business.