Top 7 Ways to Protect Your Business
By Terry Brown
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American business owners lose billions annually to crime. With the crime rate constantly rising, small businesses need to be more alert than ever from people who can create financial problems for them that could ultimately devastate their business or cause them to lose customer and/or employee trust.
Here are 7 questions and brief answers that point out where a small business can be vulnerable:
- Did you know that approximately 60% of temporary employees have criminal histories? Make sure the company you hire your temp services from do a complete background check before sending you an employee. You should your future permanent employees sign a Background and Credit Check Consent Form before you hire them, and then follow through with a complete check to ensure the safety of your business. It may take time you don’t think you have, but in the end it could save you a whole lot of grief if a “bad” employee slips through the cracks.
- Do you know how to prevent sexual harassment lawsuits? First of all, 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.
- Can you be sued for causing someone’s identity to be stolen? Dumpster diving is one of the easiest ways of finding information. If you are throwing out old job applications, apartment applications, etc. you could be subjecting the applicants to identity theft. 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.
- Could workplace violence happen in your business? 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 defunding 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.
Copyright 2004 by T. A. Brown. All rights reserved. Terry Brown is a retired paralegal/freelance author who has published a book entitled Business Security: Over 50 Ways to Protect Your Business. Further information on the book can be found at http://www.BusinessSecurity.org
Article Submitted On: November 14, 2004