Every year, tons of people around the world are victims of identity theft. Someone somewhere was able to get ahold of their personal information, whether that be through digging through the trash to find important documents or hacking into emails or networks with minimal security. The same goes for businesses, who are vulnerable to suddenly being responsible for large debts they never intended to owe after someone has illegally used their information to steal large amounts of money. Identity theft can ruin a small business just as much as it can ruin a person. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your business.
An easy way for criminals to get your information is for them to dig through the trash to get a hold of sensitive information you may have thrown away instead of shredding. Which is as good a reason as any to go paperless. Credit card bills, bank statements, and human resource files are examples of some of the documents you can store digitally instead of holding onto paper copies. Additionally, if you will be away from your business for a long time, then it is a good idea to contact a mail forwarding service so that your packages aren’t left out in the open for anyone to grab.
Passwords are the keys to your sensitive information. No one who’s not supposed to should ever be able to get a hold of them. It’s important to safeguard your passwords and change them regularly, that way potential thieves or hackers will have a harder time trying to break in to steal your information. If you have a hard time remembering your passwords, you can write them down and hide the paper somewhere, never save your passwords on your computer or online.
It is just as important for you to monitor your business credit report as it is for you to look at your personal credit report. You will know if someone has taken out a loan or credit card using your business credit as long as you’re monitoring it closely. The sooner you’re able to catch any suspicious activity, the easier it will be to rectify the situation.
The vendors that you work with may be required to handle your sensitive information, such as your business’ credit card information. Giving anyone your information can put you at risk for identity theft, which is why it’s important to talk to your vendors in order to keep your information safe.
There are several digital practices that you can put in place to ensure that you keep your information safe, such as making your statements digital as discussed above. Strong firewalls, secured wireless scans, and automatic software updates are also good tools to use when safeguarding your computers. Beyond the technological aspect, it’s a good idea to train your employees about the best security practices so they’re just as aware of how to keep the business as a whole safe.
Protecting your business doesn’t have to be a monumental or stressful task. Simply with a few good security practices and some decent safeguarding, you can protect yourself from identity theft and other potential dangers. At the very least, doing so will be a lot less stressful than dealing with the fallout of someone getting a hold of the information they need to impersonate you or your business.