Identity theft is a big threat to online businesses: the fraudsters/hackers access your customers personal information like ID, credit card number, name and address among others. Then, they use this information to open accounts, make online purchases withdraw money or even get tax refunds. Four main ways people can steal your customer’s identity are through oversharing, hacking, phishing/cold calling or an inside job
Safeguarding your customer’s data should be one of your top concerns. A data breach could put your customers in danger financially and physically, it could ruin your business’s reputation and will cost you thousands or even millions to fix depending on the degree of damage caused.
So how do you prevent customer identity theft on your online business? Follow strong digital security practices for your business.
- Protect all sensitive data
Use a VPN and encryption
Virtual private networks are low-cost solutions to data breach prevention for small businesses. They protect online traffic from cybercriminals and hackers. With a VPN, all data in your business ravels through an encrypted tunnel and can only be accessed by you. a VPN will also allow you to access web services in public places without actually compromising your business.
Restrict any access to sensitive customer data
If you have physical documentation like tax returns, bank statements and customer orders that have very sensitive personal information. Even simple steps like keeping these sensitive files locked up in a secure location is a great way to keep them safe. Having secure password for both you and your clients is absolutely necessary in preventing customer identity theft.
Delete all personal data permanently
Given the rise in online data breaches, scams and phishing, dumpster diving is not a strange way for cyber criminals to obtain company records. If you owna physical location for you shop, it would not be peculiar to find people digging through your bins for documents. Shredding all documents completely before disposing them is a great way to keep all your personal data safe
- Protect customer data by avoiding unneeded exposure
Use a dedicated server for your business
Dedicated servers offer many benefits especially for any online business. Dedicated servers are private servers only used by you for your business. Normally, online data is stored/hosted on a cloud server that is shared among several clients and may comprise the security of your site. With this type of server, you have complete control and don’t have to worry about data breaches and compromises. Additionally, you get better site performance, simplicity and a reduced workload which is great for business.
Use an SSL certificate for your site
An SSL certificate is another essential anti-fraud tool for your site. The certificate secures the data transitioning between your browser and server so the ides, credit and debit cards you are dealing with are kept safe. It protects your business site from phishing, website cloning and data breaches.
Monitor your clients
Knowing your customers/clients (KYC) helps you identify them and reduce any risk of identity theft in your business. Many financial institutions and online businesses have a KYC procedure in place to ensure the customers/clients are real and also monitor and asses the risk. Invest in an anti-fraud system for your business to get regular client checks and reduce any theft or fraud for your clients. A simple KYC process for a small online business would include document verification, ID card verification and proof of address.
- Limit access to the systems that manage your business
Use a strong firewall
Firewalls function to prevent access or spread of private data to scammers, hackers and other online criminals. With a strong firewall, hackers will not be able to enter your business in the first place. Another advantage of having a firewall for your online business is that it keeps your website protected 24/7 and blocks anyone who tries to get into your site illegally. Also, firewalls protect and secure the connection between you and your employees when they are working remotely.
Get an antivirus software service
An anti-virus can help prevent the fraudsters from accessing important information on your devices. Antiviruses not only prevent virus attacks on your phone and computer but they can also prevent phishing attacks and other online threats.