Safeguarding Against White Collar Crime
No business owner likes to think his or her personnel could be dishonest – never mind clients, customers or the general public. Unfortunately, theft in every form bleeds small companies of hard-earned revenues on a regular basis. Security professionals suggest these practical safeguards to protect professional – and personal – assets:
- Require two signatures on checks over a pre-determined amount.
- Eliminate petty cash.
- Don't relinquish control of finances to one person.
- Have an outside accountant review your books periodically.
- Password-protect sensitive computer accounts and files.
- Change access codes, as well as passwords, often.
- Keep an updated inventory of supplies and equipment.
- Reduce the risk of data "leaks" by limiting business activities to your home office, as opposed to the kitchen table, patio or local coffee shop
- Do not leave documents and laptop screens available to curious passersby.
- Limit employee access to your desk/office and stow completed work (especially confidential data) in a locked, fireproof file cabinet.
- Lock both office and front door entrances.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 27,000 people fall prey every day to identity theft – the fasted growing crime in America. Experts urge business owners to thwart this trend through employee education and shredding of sensitive materials. To this end, implement policies targeting:
- Employees permitted to leave the office with company files
- Storage and disposal of sensitive data
- Employees permitted access to sensitive information
- Surrender of keys and badges upon termination of employment
- Repercussions befalling employees who jeopardize or undermine the security of the company
A word of caution: Whereas implementing stricter security measures will help put a stop to fraud, purchasing casualty insurance will cover expenses related to cyber-liability, identity theft, cyber-fraud and employee theft. Although the standard coverage offered in a business owner's policy is usually sufficient, some organizations also are adding a voluntary employee identity theft benefit.