By Lynne Gowers on 24th August 2017

Identity fraud – 6 steps to protect you and your business

New figures from Cifas, the fraud prevention service, show that identity fraud soared to almost epidemic levels in the first half of 2017, with identities being stolen at a rate of almost 500 a day.
These frauds are taking place almost exclusively online.

As an online accountancy practice, we take both our own security practices and risks to our clients very seriously. Here we look at the threats to be aware of and the steps you should take safeguard you and your business.

Be alert to the threat – how identity fraud happens

Most cases of identity fraud happen when a fraudster takes on someone else’s identity to buy something or take out a credit or store card in their name. Often the innocent victim doesn’t realise they have been targeted until they get an unexpected bill or experience problems with their credit rating.

Perpetrators of this kind of fraud need access to their victim’s personal data – such as name, date of birth, address and who they bank with. Here are some of the ways fraudsters can get hold of personal information pertaining to you or your business:

  • Stealing mail
  • Hacking into online accounts
  • Procuring data on the “dark web”
  • Exploiting personal details on social media
  • Social engineering – where an individual is duped into giving out personal details to someone pretending to be from their bank or the police.

“The more our lives move online the easier it becomes for fraudsters to steal our identity. The figures show that both businesses and consumers are targeted and it is therefore important that people commit to protecting themselves in all aspects of their lives”.
– Detective Superintendent Glenn Maleary, City of London Police’s Economic Crime Directorate.

6 essential steps to protect yourself and your business

Here are 6 precautions you should take to prevent yourself or your business from falling prey to identity theft:

1. Apply privacy settings – set robust privacy settings on all of your social media accounts and be mindful of who you share information with.

2. Use strong passwords – protect your devices and keep your passwords random – never use your date of birth or children’s names.

3. Fight viruses – Install anti-virus software on your laptop, tablet and smartphone and keep it up to date.

4. Keep software updated – When your device prompts you to download updates – don’t ignore it. These often have security enhancements.

5. Don’t forget about offline – protect your identity away from the web as well – ensuring your personal and business post is secure.
Find out more about choosing a registered office address for your limited company

6. Raise awareness – make sure everyone involved in your business is aware of good security practices and the techniques fraudsters use to get hold of personal or sensitive information.

Boox App users

As with any application it is important to change your password regularly to keep your account safe and secure. We have a quick tutorial video to show you how to do this easily on the Boox App. Watch video

Change password

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Written by Lynne Gowers
Disclaimer Although we attempt to ensure that the Information contained in this publication is accurate and up-to-date at the date of publication it may not be comprehensive, we accept no liability for the results of any action taken on the basis of the information they contain and any implied warranties, including but not limited to the implied warranties of satisfactory quality, fitness for a particular purpose, non-infringement and accuracy are excluded to the extent that they may be excluded as a matter of law.

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