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10 Tips To Protecting Your Business

American business owners lose billions annually to crime.With the crime rate constantly rising, small businesses owners are more alert than ever to business security issues.Here are 10 questions and brief answers that point out where a small business can be vulnerable:

1.Did you know that over 60% of temporary employees have criminal records?

Don't you, as an employer, take it for granted that the temp agency you hire employees out of has the resources to do a complete background check on all their applicants before sending them to you?How thoroughly do they check an applicant's background beyond a credit check, resume, or application information, and are felons always going to be truthful on their applications?

Before you use the services of a temp agency, you should check into THEIR background.Know just how thoroughly they check their applicants and ask if you are being informed of the results from criminal background checks.

2.Could you be sued or prosecuted for what you throw out in your trash?

Identity theft from your personal information is just one dumpster dive away once your garbage is put out for collection in an area that has public access.Items of interest to the thief could be old credit card bills, utility bills, phone bills, etc.You would be surprised at the information these items give up.

Throwing out old job applications without shredding it first especially puts other people's identity at risk.Their social security number can almost always be found and you are putting them at risk to identity theft by not shredding their applications.The District Attorney may also decide to prosecute you.At the very least, you could be civilly sued for breach of trust involving negligence of someone's personal information, among other things. A crosscut shredder is the smallest, least expensive equipment an office can have, and is one of the most valuable.This protects not only others, but yourself as well.

Searching through your public accessible trash is totally legal in most states.

3.Could employee domestic violence affect your workplace?

What if an angry spouse showed up at your business waving a gun?Are your employees prepared to be hostages and know how not to escalate the situation?Do they know that the first few seconds before the gunman takes complete control is the best time to make an escape if they have an opening?

Start with a Crisis Management Team to develop a successful workplace violence program.Identify the threats, reduce threats by awareness and identification of "at risk" behavior patterns, screen out problems, and be prepared for violence from outside sources.This could come from several sources, including domestic abuse partners, hostage situations, robbery, etc.

4.How do you serve papers on a person with only a post office box address listed?

If you are trying to have legal documents served on someone, and all you have is a post office box for an address, you will need to be able to obtain the physical address records from the post office or mailbox business. Privacy laws prevent giving this information out to just anyone, but if you have legal documents that have been filed with the court for process service, the post office box provider must supply you with the address they have on file.

There is a self-generating letter on the Internet that you can print out and provide to the post office box carrier in order to obtain box holder information, using the laws from your individual state.If you are using IE5 or better for your browser, just go to:

5.Is your office being bugged?

What if a competitor wanted to discover information about your marketing plans or find out who your major customers were in order to lure them away and bugged your office as a means of discovery?Here's a quick way to find out.

Almost all bugging devices work on an FM frequency because they are simply wireless transmitters.If you think a room is bugged, have a radio tuned to an AM station in the room with the volume turned up fairly loud.Then use another radio tuned to an FM station and start turning the dial very slowly, starting at the bottom of the numbers.If you hear the station that the radio was tuned into from the AM station on your FM radio, then you know you are bugged.

If you hear a squeal or feedback that means you are getting closer to the bug.The more squealing or feedback, the closer you are getting.

6.Do you know how to prevent sexual harassment lawsuits?

Employers should have a policies and procedures program in place with clear definitive language.Employees should have a detailed form to fill out and a specific place to report the harassment to.Provide alternatives if requested and investigate promptly, giving the results to both parties involved.A good harassment policy should assure employees that there would not be any retaliation for filing a complaint or for cooperating in the investigation of another's complaint.

7.Are your employees stealing from you?

Employees are capable of embezzling money, stealing merchandise, giving themselves discounts, loans, and acquiring damaged goods to name a few.They have various reasons and justifications for their actions and most often do not think of themselves as criminals at all.And many employers are blind to this and think it does not happen in their business.

8.Do you have problems collecting judgments owed you?

One of the first steps to enforcing a judgment is to find the assets of the debtor.There are several legal remedies that can accomplish this.After identifying the assets, you should protect the judgment from transfers of property by the debtor with a judgment lien that will "attach" itself to all the debtor's non-exempt property.Another common collection tool is a "writ of execution" that instructs a court officer to seize the debtor's non-exempt property, auction it off, and then transfer the proceeds to you.Garnishment is another of several available methods frequently used.

9.Could terrorists raise dirty money through your business?

Terrorists use several methods to defraud businesses.Identity theft, credit card fraud, Islamic charity fronts, selling counterfeit consumer products, diverting goods, food stamp fraud, insurance fraud, cigarette tax schemes, phony checks, etc.The best method of de-funding terrorists is to "know your customer."The Export Administration Bureau and Foreign Assets Control regularly publishes comprehensive lists of smugglers, counterfeiters, companies, and individuals that have been identified as terrorists.Both of these lists need to be utilized for a complete list.Also check the Trade Compass for publicly available lists.

1. Carry traveler's checks and credit cards, not cash. If you must have cash, carry as little as possible.

2. Place valuables, one extra credit card, emergency cash, and emergency telephone numbers in a hotel safe.

3. Don't make a display of material wealth or be a heavy tipper.

4. Make two photocopies of the first two pages of your passport. Put one set in the hotel safe and one set in your luggage.

5. Don't wear clothing or items that obviously identify you as an American.

6. Don't wear or display items that identify your company. These are marks for terrorists and kidnappers.

7. Bring bottled water with you when you travel abroad.

8. Avoid overindulging in alcohol or anything else that impairs your judgment.

9. During meetings keep all belongings on your person especially when you travel room to room or to the bathroom. Professional thieves scam these areas a day into the meetings once the attendees are comfortable and feel safe in their surroundings.

10. Are you a target when you travel on business? Here are some general travel tips

Author: Terry Brown

Terry Brown, author and researcher, has published a book entitled Business Security: Over 50 Ways to Protect Your Business. A complete table of contents, reviews, and sample articles can be found at

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