Protection from identity theft is the responsibility of you, your business and your staff. Your business faces both physical and cybersecurity threats. Plus you and your staff are vulnerable to social security identity theft.
What’s evident is identity theft doesn’t only target individuals but businesses as well.
Address the threat of losing data with these preventative measures:
- Know how to recognize identity theft
- Protection measures for your business and staff
- Speedy recovery
Over a dozen ways an identity thief may steal an identity online.
Learn how cybercriminals get access to personal data and then make sure you’re preventing them from stealing your identity or the identities of your staff.
Why is there identity theft?
First and foremost, identity theft is for monetary gain.
When the data stolen is credit card account details, the criminal can use it to take out money and buy stuff in stores and online.
Social Security Identity theft
However, much more is at stake than fraudulent charges if the cybercriminal has your Social Security number (SSN), including:
- Open new bank accounts
- Take out loans
- lines of credit
Once a crook has exhausted their options to steal from you directly, they can sell your SSN on the dark web.
There are many simple tasks to get protection from identity theft at home and in your business.
In your business, hackers and identity thieves will target your employees.
Cybersecurity measures, including a cybersecurity policy, are vital so your staff understand and adhere to your business protocols for all online activity. Ensure that all employees stay off unsecured websites and stay informed of the latest email scams.
This starts with you, as the owner. Make sure that you know and inform employees of any potential online risks as well.
Employer Identification Number
Behind the scenes, away from the eyes of your employees, a small business can function as such with your personal SSN as the basis for tax protocols. Still, it’s safer to request an Employer Identification Number or EIN. This differentiation between your personal and business information ensures that if one is stolen by a scammer, the other isn’t compromised.
Lastly, check and recheck your personal and business credit statements multiple times each month. If a hacker or scammer acquires sensitive information, you will catch it quickly and freeze any accounts affected. Once that is done, you can alert the three credit bureaus.
All the knowledge and tools in the world cannot completely eliminate the risk of identity theft. Still, they can decrease the chances considerably and make recovery easier if your defenses are breached.
The first, and crucial line of defense for home and work, is a quality antivirus/antimalware program. While many competing antivirus companies on the market monitor and block malicious software and websites, the most critical aspect you need as a small business owner is a multi-workstation integration. Whether you have five employees, each with their own computer, or 50, the best antivirus software has provisions and perks for businesses who need thorough protection.
In your cybersecurity policy, ensure your staff and your systems are set to regularly change passwords and that they are strong with 12 characters that include a mix of symbols, upper and lowercase and numbers.
Beyond that, the final line of your defense is a quality identity theft monitoring service. These services monitor your bank accounts, lines of credit, and personal information, including SSN. They even scan the dark web for your information. If it is flagged, they alert you and the authorities of the breach.
Identity theft can happen to anyone. Protection from identity theft is not absolute. However, there are techniques and tools you can use to ensure you’re not an easy target. How do I know if someone is using my identity? Check your banking accounts regularly and thoroughly for any discrepancies in transactions. Even small transactions should be analyzed as the cybercriminal first test that the card or account details are working before engaging in higher purchases.