Who can become a victim of identity theft? Anyone! Any individual or any business can be affected by the crime of identity theft or fraud. As more and more business is conducted online, and companies store increasing amounts of personal information on customers and clients, it is more likely than ever that you could be a victim. Plus, fraudsters are widening their net and the smallest company is just as likely to be hit as the large multinational. You will never be able to prevent all acts of identity theft affecting your business or your personal life. But by taking certain steps you can limit the risk. Here’s how:
Keep Your Identity Safe
In order to prevent your business being targeted or your own data being used by criminals, consider how you can keep your identity safe:
- Treat your personal details and the personal details of staff and customers as something valuable, to be locked up and looked after.
- Make sure that all your computer systems are up-to-date with solid firewalls and antivirus protection. You can remove a lot of cyber threats by doing this. If you need to store confidential customer information or you sell online, make sure you have the proper systems in place to safeguard data legally.
- Never share passwords or PIN numbers anywhere.
- Shred all documents with financial or personal data before you throw them away.
- Secure shredding, carried out by companies such as http://www.simplyshred.co.uk is the only way you can be confident that your data will not end up in the wrong hands.
- Be cautious when giving out personal details over the phone, or discussing business over the phone or in chat rooms.
Be Safe Online
When conducting business online you also need to make sure that you are adequately safeguarding your information and that of customers. Your wireless network must be encrypted to the highest setting. Make sure you delete cookies and also your browser history on a regular basis. Never use a website for business or personal financial transactions that you are not confident is secure and safe. Avoid using your Smartphone or laptop over a public Wi-Fi access point to access your online bank account. Never respond to unsolicited emails asking for information, or click on links in emails that you are not sure of the source.
Have You Become a Victim?
If you think that someone is using your details or details of your business for their own illegal gain, act quickly to limit the damage. Check your financial statements and contact your bank if you notice any transactions that are not authorised by you. If you haven’t got your bills on time, contact the supplier as this may be a sign that a fraudster has changed your address details. Alert any organisations that may be affected by fraud committed on your account.
Don’t panic if you think you have become the victim of identity theft. By keeping alert and making the problem known to the authorities, you can limit the extent of the damage to your finances and your reputation.