As a business owner, your main aim is to protect and grow your business. And yet, every year 1 in 4 small and medium-sized businesses are affected by fraud. Fraud attempts can affect any business of any size, and can cost upwards of £18.9 billion in losses. Much as you might not like to think about it, fraud is a very real risk to your business, and something you should ensure you have protections in place for. But the problem is, a lot of small business owners aren’t really sure what fraud looks like and what the risks are, let along how to protect themselves against it. So today, we have a few pointers for you.
Identify Risk Points
The first step in protecting your business from fraud is to identify where your risk points are. These can vary from business to business, but typically fall into 4 categories:
- Risks From Customers – from counterfeit money to stolen payment details or fake orders
- Risks From Employees – No one likes to think that their employees would defraud them, but sadly, it can and does happen. Whether they are disgruntled ex-employees or just bad people, they have access to information that could ruin your business.
- Risks From Suppliers And Service Providers – Other businesses you deal with can also defraud you if you’re not careful, often by overcharging, or not delivering goods or services that have been paid for,
- Risks To Business Assets – What assets does your business have that could prove a valuable target for fraudsters? This could include buildings, equipment and cash, as well as customer data, brand identity and even future product ideas.
Different Types Of Fraud
- Business Identity Theft – Business identity theft is a lot like personal identity theft. It happens when a thief or fraudster impersonates your business to access information, make orders or steal money or alter key information for the business. Fraudsters will often misuse genuine credentials for the business, stolen through hacking or physical theft.
- Intellectual Property Theft – Intellectual property theft involved copying your company’s creative property, and then using it for personal or business gain. This kind of theft can be perpetrated by individuals and businesses alike, and is most commonly found in corporate espionage. Intellectual property is a form of intangible asset, and covers anything from products and inventions to designs, the contents of a book and your company branding.
- Company Data Hacking – This is one of the more well-known forms of fraud, since it’s often talked about in the news. This is when a criminal or disgruntled employee will unlawfully access your company data and steal it. They could then sell it on the black market, use it for identity theft or even for extortion, which is what makes company data so valuable, and dangerous if it gets into the wrong hands.
So how do businesses protect themselves against fraud? By protecting the security of their documentation. Fraud often occurs because thieves gain access to bank account information, passwords or other information that has been written down and then discarded. These documents can be picked up by anyone, from desks and bins to the big recycle bins, and even at recycling plants. That’s why having a shredding solution in place is essential to protect your business from fraud. Ensuring you collect sensitive information and store it securely when it is no longer needed is the first step of the process. Next, you will need a secure, accredited shredding partner to dispose of the documents for you safely, and provide you with a certificate of destruction afterwards to prove it.
At Hungry Shredder, we help businesses protect themselves against fraud, corporate espionage and theft by providing a secure document shredding service. Our experts can provide you with a selection of secure sacks for you to store your documents in, as well as both on and off-site shredding solutions, so that your business can rest easy knowing that your business data is safe. For more information, please get in touch with us today.