Many employers, employees, and consumers fear having their identities stolen. While some believe identity theft is mainly out of their control, business owners can stop it. That one big step is going paperless.
Small business owners can go paperless to help decrease their own, employees’, and customers’ identities. They must understand that identity theft is something they can work to prevent.
When papers with confidential information are left unattended, identities are quickly put at risk. This risk is why small business owners should consider going paperless, converting all confidential documents online. Doing so makes it harder for unintended individuals to access the private information printed on such papers, helping prevent identity theft.
Here are five pieces of confidential information used to commit identity theft:
1. Social Security Number
Perhaps the most well-known source of identity theft is a stolen social security number. These numbers are often printed on many documents found in places of employment, such as W-2s. Therefore, small business owners must keep this information safe and sound, whether their own or their employees. Paperless makes it harder for identity thieves to find and acquire such information. Privacy and financial wellbeing are put at significant risk when this data has been compromised.
2. Bank Account Number
Another common source of identity theft is a stolen bank account number. When thieves gain access to someone’s bank account number, they can transfer money out of their account with little struggle, causing significant financial harm. This information needs to be heavily secured, whether an employee’s or customer’s account number. The best way to do so is by ensuring documents that contain this information are never left lying around. Going paperless is an easy way to protect this vital information from anyone who gains physical access to your small business.
3. Credit Card Number
Perhaps the most straightforward source of identity theft is a stolen credit card number. Businesses often keep customers’ credit card numbers on file. Storing credit cards is done for various reasons, from simplifying the checkout process to charging recurring payments or subscriptions. Credit card numbers that are on file must be heavily secured. By going paperless and securing these numbers online behind multiple levels of security, small business owners reduce the risk of their customers’ credit card numbers theft. When these numbers are compromised, thieves can relentlessly charge the victim’s card, significantly impacting their credit score.
While many people do not think twice before giving another person their name, this information can be a gateway to identity theft. When identity thieves can acquire a person’s first and last name, they can find out much information about them, compromising their privacy. The data they uncover can disclose or assist them in finding the information discussed above and committing identity theft. While an individual’s name is not a common direct source of identity theft, it does open the door to further identity theft possibilities. Therefore, small business owners need to secure their names, employees, and customers because of the great information.
Like a person’s name, a home address can also gain access to personal information and commit identity theft. When an identity thief acquires an individual’s home address, they can find their name if they do not know it already. Still, they can also intercept any personal information entering or exiting their home. When identity thieves stake out a potential victim’s home, they will likely go through their mail or trash. When doing so, they hope to obtain any of the sources of identity theft already discussed. Any documents with addresses must be secured. They cannot be easily obtained.
Identity theft is a serious crime. While it is hard to eliminate the threat of identity theft, small business owners can significantly lessen it by going paperless. By converting paper documents with confidential information to an online format, where they can more quickly and thoroughly be secured, small business owners make it considerably harder for thieves to obtain the information they need to commit identity theft.
PaySmart works with new and existing clients to go paperless!
Small business owners create a more secure business by protecting their information and their employees and customers. In doing so, their employees can rest assured that their data is kept safe, and, in return, they feel more confident in their work.
Furthermore, when customers feel the businesses they shop with are keeping their information secure, they are more likely to return and do business with them again and again. Therefore, although it may be a giant leap, making the switch to paperless will help ensure the success of any small business.
PaySmart is a payroll provider located in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, supporting small businesses in the Central PA region. We are dedicated to helping small businesses take care of their payroll needs. To learn more information about how PaySmart may provide payroll solutions, please get in touch with us at 717-766-1777. Our New Client Concierge is waiting for you!