Protecting Your Small Business from Fraud and Identity Theft
Your credit score and small business finances may be in good standing, but you still must remain diligent when it comes to keeping all you have worked for secure. Two major threats to your credit score are fraud and identity theft. Over 10 million dollars was lost in recent years due to Identity theft alone while almost 70 million dollars was lost due to Mass Market Fraud (fraud committed via mass communication media using the telephone, mail, and the Internet). The stats are scary and the breadth of security risks looming over small business owners and individuals alike can be overwhelming, but there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent yourself from becoming one of these statistics.
Read Your Statements: Read your credit report and look for accounts that don’t belong to you. Always check your monthly account statements to make sure there are no unusual charges.
Protect Your Credit Cards: Keep credit cards in a safe place when not in use and close to your body when out in public. Always check the total of receipts before signing for charges. Lastly, never give out your credit card information unless to a trusted source.
Lock Up: Always lock your smartphone when not using it. Most people have entered sensitive data into their phones like addresses and saved passwords that any savvy thief can access, not to mention your browser history. Locking your phone provides an extra layer of security.
Invest in a Shredder: A shredder is a valuable tool in the prevention of fraud in identity theft. Shred any document that you don’t need that has account numbers, credit card information, addresses, and any other sensitive data both personal or related to your business or customers. This includes pre-approved credit cards.
Use Secure Passwords and PINs: If a thief has learned some personal details about you like your maiden name or a birthday, they can probably guess your password. Try to use passwords that have both alpha and numeric values and if numbers are just needed, chose the numbers at random. Need inspiration? Use an online secure random password generator like this one. A common mistake people make is writing their passwords down and leaving it on sticky notes - this is a big no-no. Another good rule is to change your password periodically.
Keep Important Items at Home: Don’t carry around your SIN, passport or birth certificate, unless needed for a specific purpose that day. Leave them at home in a safe place, preferably a lock box. When travelling, keep your passport in discrete cases, out of sight and reach from pick-pockets.
Beware of Phishing: Never Give out personal information over the phone or by email, especially if you were contacted out of the blue. Even if the website looks legitimate, hackers have been known to make their fraudulent sites look official.
Don’t Overshare on Social Media: Sharing in social media can be fun - but over sharing can provide cybercriminals with critical personal details that can be utilized to bypass security protocols to access things like online or telephone banking. Even something as benign as announcing your vacation can alert the world that your home will be empty for several weeks.
If you find out you have been a victim of Fraud or identity theft, report it immediately to the appropriate agencies, and ask to have fraud alerts placed on your credit cards.
At Lendified, the security of your information is of the utmost importance. We use appropriate security measures to protect your personal information from unauthorized access and use.We have implemented administrative, technical and physical measures to safeguard the personal information in our custody. We restrict access to any personal information on a need-to-know basis and limit access to employees who require access to fulfill their job requirements. Click here to read more about our security and privacy.
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About the Author
Lendified is Canada's premier online lender for small businesses. The company was founded by former bank executives dedicated to provide businesses with fast, easy, and affordable financing. The Lendified team regularly produces blogs and guides to help small business owners succeed.