Protect Your Business from Identity Theft

Own a small business? Protect it from identity theft

Identity theft runs rampant and while most people associate it with having personal information stolen, small businesses need to pay attention. One way to improve customer service and protect your customers is to brush up on identity theft prevention for small businesses. Use these tips to protect your customer's personal information.

Tip #1 -- Block ex-employees immediately

Whether an employee left on good terms for personal reasons, or got fired, it is imperative that you block the access of these employees to your business computers. Change log-ins and passwords immediately to prevent ex-employees from retrieving customer records.

Tip #2 -- Protect your business computers from being hacked

Hacking into business-owned computers is a favorite of identity thieves. Maybe because it is so easy or because the "pickings" are so easy. When an identity thief hacks your business computer, they instantly have access to all of your business information and your customer's personal information. This puts your customers at risk.

There are several things you can do:

If you run Windows, keep your operating system updated. Microsoft frequently releases security patches each time they find a weak spot in their armor. Be sure to update often so you have the latest security.

Install a firewall. This is very easy to do by simply buying the software at an office supply or buying one online. Check ratings and buy one from a reputable and established company. Don't skimp on this step -- you get what you pay for.

Another method of protection is installing a 4 to 8 bit router. A router is like having an extra firewall built in.

Tip #3 -- Keep customer information quiet

Many times business software saves a file on each customer. When the customer makes a purchase in your store and their personal information pops up on the screen, conceal this information from customers.

Place your register or computer screen where no one can see it except the clerk ringing up the sale. Also make sure that your employees know not to read any personal information out loud during transactions. This simple step means moving the screen and properly training employees.

As a small business owner, it is your responsibility to keep your customer's personal information safe. They trust you with their money and their information; reward them by following these tips to keep them safe from identity theft.

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