14/07/2010

By Charlie Scott

Charlie Scott is an ID theft protection expert with more than ten years experience in the industry.

After a close friend twice had his identity stolen Mr Scott decided enough was enough, launching ID theft prevention service www.FraudLock.co.uk , in 2009.

Here Charlie gives his top tips on how businesses can protect themselves against Britain’s fastest growing white collar crime:

* Register with Companies House and make sure your company sign up to their Electronic Filing, PROOF and Monitor services which will help to prevent fraudsters changing the names of your directors, effectively 'hijacking' your company.

Check your registration regularly. If it changes incorrectly, you need to react immediately.

* Make sure your employees are fully informed about the risk of identity fraud. Create a clear set of guidelines and procedures for staff concerning the handling, storage and sharing of sensitive information, both on and offline.

All your employees should be made aware of the threat, ideally as part of their induction and also as part of their ongoing HR programme.

* Create a culture of openness in the firm, encouraging your staff to come forward with any ID theft related concerns.

* Always ensure you and your staff properly dispose of unwanted information. Shred cds and dvds as well as paper.

* Wipe old computers of all information before disposing of them and make sure you properly destroy old corporate uniforms.

* Always check the identity of your customers. Both business and consumer credit reference agencies offer a wide range of solutions to authenticate and verify the identity of customers to ensure that they exist and are who they say they are.

Check their references, qualifications and past employment - a quick CV check may not be enough. The same goes for any partners and vendors with whom you enter into contracts.

* Encourage a clear-desk policy. Remember, being professional with your corporate identity is as important as being professional in every other aspect of your work.

* Make sure all technology, particularly those involved with communications and storage, are as secure as possible.

* Make sure all staff regularly change their systems passwords.

* Keep sensitive information secure. Don't put anything online, such as director's signatures.

* Protect and secure your post - Fraudsters may try to redirect your company mail or that of a vendor or partner. If you use a central or communal postal delivery point, such as in a mail room, make sure your mail is secured until you can collect it.

* If your company moves, tell all your vendors and partners about it immediately. Don't forget to ask Royal Mail to redirect any mail from your old address to your new one for at least a year.

* Be safe online — Maintain appropriate anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software and ensure you have a suitable IT user policy rolled out to all staff.

For more information please visit www.FraudLock.co.uk .