It is nearly impossible to imagine running a business without the Internet, yet somehow, we all did that less than 25 years ago. The world certainly has changed. Unfortunately, in many ways, some of these changes are NOT for the better. As a business owner, you have to actively protect your business online, just as you protect your personal identity.
Here are some tips to help you prevent fraud and identity theft:
- Monitor your business accounts and monthly statements. If you see banking activity or credit card charges that you do not recognize, pursue it – do not ignore it. Smaller transactions are often tests done by criminals, to see if that account is being monitored. When you let it pass without question, they are more likely to try additional transactions in larger amounts.
- Thoroughly shred documents containing any personal information of yours, your employees and your customers before putting them in the trash. Invest in a basic shredder, they are now rather inexpensive.
- Never write any personal identification numbers (PINs) on your business debit or credit cards.
- Make a copy of the front and back of any business credit and debit cards, and store these copies in a secure location. If you lose the card, it is easy to call the issuing card company and provide the information to cancel that account.
- Never log in to any financial site from an email. Go to the main website of your bank and log in from a URL that you enter to avoid logging into a fake site which perfectly mimics the real institution’s website.
- Always log off from any banking, merchant service and credit card websites when you are finished.
- Do not send complete credit card information, including the full card number, expiration date, security number and mailing address in one email. Split the information into at least 2 emails, keeping the full card number from ever being entered completely. The person that receives the email can put the information together in the correct order to process the transaction when you provide the details about how you split the information.
As a business owner, it is your responsibility to protect your business’s information as well as your personal information as well as the personal information of your employees and your customers.