It is estimated that every year in the UK alone, identity fraud costs more than £2.7 billion and affects over 1.8million people. The cost of UK retail crime soared to a record high of £613 million this in 2016. The rise in online business activities has created new forms of crime that makes it even more crucial for businesses to put structures in place to prevent fraud.

Organised criminals attempt to steal the identity of honest businesses so that they can commit credit card and online banking fraud. ID scams are getting more sophisticated and harder to detect. But the good news is, you can prevent crime in your business.

Start with a risk assessment of your business

Effective business risk management is becomingly increasingly important in today’s business environment.

Like any potential threat to your business and the safety of your employees, carrying out a risk assessment to stop potential threats to your business can significantly reduce crime against your business.

A simple process of successfully carrying out a risk assessment involves:

  • Identifying the possible threats – what could harm your employees or business data.
  • Identifying who might be harmed – employees most at risk
  • Evaluating the level of risk ­– deciding how likely harm will occur and proposing changes to prevent it

Risk assessment should be carried out every at least twice a year and should be revised over time. It pays to assess each element of your business individually. 

Lay a solid security foundation

Every business needs a great security foundation that covers all weak spots criminals can exploit. Even large corporations have hidden weaknesses that can pose security risks.

Put together security policies that serve as a guide for managing employees, your business premises, data (physical and digital), equipment and every business asset. Exercise due caution when granting access to keys and revealing security codes. All instances of theft should be met with decisive action.

Create a business continuity plan

What would you do if worst does happen? Your contingency plan should address that. It’s better to have a security plan of action no matter the type of business you operate.

Despite your comprehensive preventative measures, it is still best to be prepared and have a plan in place for how you will react. For example, if you lose customer data, how would your business continue to run without it?

Part of your continuity plan should also involve regularly backing up data. Losing physical property can be devastating but it is at least replaceable, especially with insurance cover. But the loss of customer data, payment information, and intellectual property can mean the end for many small businesses. Don’t be a victim.

Secure your IT infrastructure

Many attacks may come through your business IT system. Thieves may try to access usernames, passwords and credit card details through ‘malware’ such as computer viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware or adware. Are you secured at all angles? Are your software up to date. Invest in the best security applications to prevent the unfortunate from happening.

Computer security takes three forms:

  • physically protecting your office computers and general hardware
  • comprehensive digital protection
  • educating your employees on attacks that can leave your systems vulnerable
Seek advice

Sometimes after all your efforts to prevent a crime, hackers can still find a security loophole. Speak to the police, or contact your IT provider about how you can protect your business from hackers.

Depending on the nature of the crime against your business, you could also engage the services of a business criminal attorney. Hiring a criminal defense attorney to deal with your problem can help you concentrate on your core business whilst the problem gets resolved.

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