Your Business, Your Home: How To Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

identityYour business is your baby. It faces both physical and digital dangers and one little slip can cost you and your business a fortune. Identity thieves don’t only target individuals, but businesses as well.

Address the issue before it becomes a crisis with these preventative measures:

Recognize It

There are over a dozen ways a thief may steal someone’s identity, but what can they do once they have? The most obvious benefit a thief receives is that of a credit card account they can run up charges on. However, much more is at stake than fraudulent charges if your Social Security number (SSN) is compromised. They can open new bank accounts, take out loans, and lines of credit. Once a crook has exhausted their options directly, they can then sell your SSN on the dark web.

Prevention Techniques

There are a host of simple tasks that can prevent identity theft at home and when it comes to your company. At work, the access point hackers and identity thieves will often target are your employees. That’s why it is important that your business has strict protocols when it comes to online activity. Insist that all employees stay off unsecured websites and that they 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.

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, but it’s safer to request an Employer Identification Number or EIN. This differentiation between your personal information and business information ensures that if one is stolen by a scammer, the other isn’t compromised as well.

Lastly, check and recheck both your personal and business credit statements multiple times each month. In the event that a hacker or scammer does acquire sensitive information, you will catch it quickly and freeze any accounts affected. Once that is done, you can alert the three credit bureaus.

Prevention Tools

All the knowledge and tools in the world cannot completely eliminate the risk of identity theft, but they can decrease the chances considerably, as well as 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 there are many competing antivirus companies on the market that monitor and block malicious software and websites, the most important aspect you need, as a small business owner, is 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.

Beyond that, your final line of your defense is a quality identity theft monitoring service. These services monitor all of 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, as well as authorities, of the breach.

Be Prepared

There is no tool or technique that makes you invulnerable to identity theft. However, the techniques and tools above can not only decrease the chances of you and your business being targeted but can also ensure a swift recovery, one you will have help with if the worst comes to pass.

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