Piers Chapple


With more and more businesses starting up every year, identity thieves couldn’t ask for a richer vein of opportunity

Identity fraud costs the UK over £2.7 billion a year, but the risk for individual corporations is more expensive still.  Not only does identify fraud compromise a business’ finances, but also their confidentiality too.

So which companies are most at threat from corporate fraud? The truth is that any business can be vulnerable to a breach; just as any individual can find themselves a victim of identity theft. Whether you are dealing in local goods or lucrative portfolios, you cannot presume yourself exempt from an attack. According to Cifas, a staggering 56% of SMEs are unaware that corporate identity fraud is a danger in their workplace. This could explain why so little is being done to safeguard sensitive information in these sectors.

Integrate Preventative Procedures

The potential windfall for identity fraudsters is vast, regardless of the business size. In fact, in the majority of cases, smaller businesses present less of an obstacle, since many directors are oblivious to the threat.

Limiting access to certain documents and records is an easy way to eliminate breaches, as there are fewer hands to misplace and misuse them. Companies should also introduce internal policies which regulate storage and disposal practises. Digital documents should be considered alongside physical copies, so make sure you are deleting all files correctly.

If you are dealing with a new client always check their credentials before you sanction any transactions. Even simple actions, such as checking telephone numbers or confirming trading addresses can help determine whether a company is who they say they are. The cleverest thieves will have done their homework on you, so it is vital that you are just as clued up.

Implement a Rigorous Shredding RoutineShredder - Identity Theft

The situation is even more disturbing when you take into account the simplicity of data falsification. A breach is not deemed illegal in the UK unless it results in financial gain for the perpetrator. This provides thieves with a wide window of opportunity, where they can operate outside the country’s jurisdiction and amass as much information as possible.

However, your company is still culpable in the eyes of the law, since the secure destruction of personal records fall under the Data Protection Act. By encouraging employees to shred all surplus documentation, regardless of the risk it poses, you can ensure nothing slips through the net. Operating in this manner reduces the chances of human error, as there is no need to subjectively decide upon a file’s importance.

 Monitor Your Accounts

The majority of identity theft cases centre around the falsification of company details. Knowing whether any changes have been made to your bank accounts or other significant personal information can keep you one step ahead of the game. Often fraud goes undetected for many months, because businesses remain unaware of these changes and by then the damage is already done.

Regularly checking your company credentials yourself or subscribing to a monitoring service can help you keep track of whether anything unlawful is occurring. You should also verify the accounts of any new suppliers or clients by asking to see their credit history. Look out for any connections to dissolved companies, as this is a strong indicator that substantial amounts of money were lost in a short space of time.


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