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Identity Fraud and Your Small Business

Identity Fraud and Your Small Business



I recently worked a case where a particular law enforcement agency made contact with one of the stores I manage on the security side.  The store manager called and informed me of the situation.  I reached out to the detective who left his information with the store manager.  The detective relayed to me that a woman’s identity had been stolen and a merchandise was purchased at one of our stores.  The detective stated he would need any and all documents pertaining to the case and any available video footage of the suspects.

I thanked the detective for contacting us and informed him of the process for meeting his request.  I gave him my business email and met his request upon receiving his email.  

After looking over the information, it was discovered that the victim of identity fraud had $12,000 charged on the account she did not open.


I immediately launched my investigation to see when and if there was a breakdown in our sales process and business security.  It was discovered through a few interviews with staff, that the perpetrator came to the store with identification, social security information, and of course income information.  All information appeared to be valid at the time except it did not belong to the perp.  

The victim discovered the opened account through a credit report monitoring program.  When she discovered the open account and knew she had not applied, she made a report to the law enforcement agency. 

I could continue to write about the details of this incident, however, I thought it would be more important to discuss your business security process and how your small business could benefit from the information. Identity fraud is very common and may not always be detected by you and your staff.  This story is a prime example of what criminals can teach us about crime.


Educating staff on different types of crimes

It is highly possible that you and your staff will not catch every crime in the process.  This is what we all hope for but is not always the case.  After certain crimes or incidents are discovered by your business, have regular meetings on educating your staff on what type of crime occurred and how the process can be improved.  Your staff or member of management may be able to offer a better strategy or solution.


Take an assessment of your business security practices, review what works and what processes can be improved.  Your assessment process should remain fluid and not stagnant. 


Once your assessment is completed, update your policy and procedures to reflect effective crime prevention strategies.  Your policy/procedures is the back bone of how you operate and a guide for new/existing associates. 


After you have completed updating your policy/procedures manual, be certain that ALL personnel are aware of the current and updated policy/procedures. 


Make your updated policy/procedures effective immediately.  Implement your new process after training personnel.


Look to detect kinks in your system.  Remember, your business security process is only as solid as you make it.  After you detect the flaws and vulnerabilities, notate and update your process. 


Following this process will help create a more solid business security foundation for you and your small business.  Remember, when in doubt follow-up!





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