Posts Tagged ‘identity fraud’
Securely shredding confidential data is the best way for businesses to stay safe from identity fraud, according to experts.
A recent survey by the Association of Chief Police Officers revealed that £20 billion is lost through weaknesses exploited in information and data security. Companies House says between 50 and 100 cases of corporate identity fraud occur every month.
In light of these findings, Shred Easy, one of the UK’s biggest confidential data destruction companies, is urging businesses to step up their data security.
Jim Watson, managing director of Shred Easy, said:
“Businesses are risking millions by having no confidential data policy in place. Fraud against businesses is rising and will continue to do so during and after the recession.
Companies which protect themselves now will weather the storm of this increase in fraud.
“Creating or updating a confidential data policy must be a priority for businesses. It’s not just confidential paper documents that need to be securely shredded but computer hardware such as disk drives and data sticks.”
“With little knowledge or effort, a fraudster can change the registered office of the business, trading address and even names of directors. Companies with a good trading record are then vulnerable if orders for expensive goods are placed and not paid for.”
Shred Easy has produced ten top tips to help prevent business fraud:
1) Create a confidential data policy – if you don’t have one already you are already in the high risk category for being a victim of data theft.
2) Store data safely – don’t assume that bagging it up is the end of the matter. Criminals have rich pickings outside business premises where confidential data has been poorly disposed.
3) Destroy data properly – shred all confidential data and arrange for a professional shredding company to help store, collect and securely destroy confidential information.
4) Check identities – use credit reference agencies to verify the identity of business customers, suppliers and clients.
5) Secure your accounts – don’t allow details of your business banking to escape into the public domain. Thieves are well adept at impersonating signatures.
6) Inform staff – train staff on how to deal with confidential data properly and monitor their behaviour. Most business fraud is committed by people within the business.
7) Keep post safe – theft of post is a major issue for businesses. Scammers may try to redirect your mail without your knowledge.
Restrict key documents – don’t allow staff to have full access to all your company documents. This applies to paper and digital data.
9) Use anti virus software – businesses still get fleeced by online scammers. Installing credible anti-virus software is necessary to combat this threat.
10) Beware of carrying large amounts of confidential data on laptops, data sticks or mobile devices such as BlackBerrys and iPhones. These small portable gadgets are magnets for thieves who can exploit your confidential information.
Desperate job seekers are being targeted by employment scammers, say security and legal experts.
Last month saw the number of people placed in permanent jobs fall to the lowest levels since the start of the year. Similarly, the Government’s emergency budget, aimed at cutting the deficit, will soon result in the loss of approximately 600,000 public sector jobs.
Legal experts say criminals are preying on a growing number of people who have lost their jobs. The most popular fraudulent scheme at the moment is mystery shopper positions.
Neeta Laing, head of employment law at Lewis Hymanson Small, said;
“Criminal fraudsters are taking advantage of the difficult employment situation. Job hunters have recently been targeted by fake adverts in local papers. Scammers advertise in local papers, asking workers to provide personal details and pay to become a member. The moment there is any mention of money upfront, alarm bells should ring.
“To check if an advert is authentic, look out for a registered website, Google the business, examine registered trademarks, call up the business to get more information and see if its legitimate.
“These opportunists are committing fraud. Many of these false companies are fronts for criminality, often involved in money laundering or identity theft and aimed at stealing money from bank accounts.”
Jim Watson, managing director of Shred Easy and a security expert, said;
“By registering for these false adverts you will be unwittingly giving criminals your bank account details, date of birth and email address. That means a canny criminal could get a passport in your name, open a bank account, take out loans and use your address. Its paramount to check out the authenticity of these adverts in local papers.”
Jim’s five top tips to spot a scam:
1) Use a search engine to research the company and look for reported scams
2) Beware of job adverts that ask to pay money
3) Never give your bank account details before securing a job
4) Be wary of spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and generic email addresses in ads.
5) Make sure the company has a registered office rather than just a PO box number