Burglary, Shoplifting, Fraud and Cybercrime: Protecting Yourself From the Four Most Common Threats to Businesses

Currently in Australia, commercial crime is more popular than residential crime, and business owners risk becoming the victims of burglars, shoplifters, fraudsters and cyber criminals. If you are a small business owner, you need to be aware of these threats and ready to fight them. Here are some essential tips to guide you:

1. Minimising Burglary Risks

Most burglars are opportunists. Not looking for a challenge, they want to burglarise shops with lots of cash on hand, no witnesses nearby and a lack of security equipment. To deter criminals, you simply have to make sure your shop does not fit that profile.

Minimise the cash you have on hand by doing cash drops into a locked safe that even employees cannot access and post a sign saying you do that. Also, reduce your business's on-hand cash by encouraging customers to use cards.

To increase the presence of witnesses, always have at least two clerks working. Keep your shop well lit, make sure the cash register can be seen throughout the store – if it's located in a corner where most shoppers cannot see it, it is more hidden and thus more attractive to burglars. Also, keep the windows clear. Do not cover them with pictures, curtains or advertisements that hide your store's interior from pedestrians or witnesses.

Finally, make sure your shop has visible security equipment. Ideally, all of your external doors should have locks as well as internal doors to offices and back rooms. You should also have cameras and mirrors visible.

2. Preventing Shoplifting

In addition to deterring burglars, mirrors and cameras can also deter shoplifters. Other built-in security measures that can be essential at deterring shoplifters include locked cases. Simply put your expensive perfume, art books, cigarettes, jewelry or other goods in a locked case, but remember to keep a clerk nearby to help honest customers who want to look at the goods.

Alternatively, hire a commercial locksmith to set up sensors at your door. These sensors detect small bar codes that are attached to valuable merchandise, and they make an alarm sound if the sensors detect any tags leaving the store.

However, preventing shoplifting isn't just about commercial locks and security measures. Also, encourage your staff to greet and offer assistance to everyone who comes in your shop. Shoplifters want to be invisible, and helpful clerks ensure they aren't.

3. Deterring Employee Fraud

Sadly, fraud is not an uncommon threat for small businesses, and in most cases, it is done by employees on the inside. Using locks and security cameras is typically not enough to deter fraud; however, those measures can help as they force employees to be more accountable for their actions.

Fraud can take a number of forms. For example, employees clocking in for overtime hours when they are not really working, employees ordering products for themselves or employees writing undeserved payroll checks to themselves are all forms of fraud.

The most effective way to safeguard against business fraud is to have someone double check everything that happens financially in your business. No one should have exclusive access to the payroll system, the inventory controls or any other part of your business. Instead, everyone's activities should be double checked by you, a respected manager or a third-party auditor or accountant.

4. Avoiding Cybercrime

Cybercrime is still evolving as criminals find more and more ways to hack business computer systems. To avoid cybercrime, shop owners need to physically protect their cyber data. For example, they should have locks on all office doors with commercial locks with codes that can be changed on a regular basis. They should also protect their computers with software that allows the computers to be erased remotely in case of theft.

Unfortunately, a lot of cybertheft involves the thief reaching into a computer system through another computer rather than physically accessing your company's computer. To protect your info, your clients' info and your company, make sure that you keep up-to-date anti-virus software on all of your computer systems, and if you have public wifi in your shop, do not use it.

Let your customers use it, but keep a separate wifi account for official business use. Unfortunately, if you transmit bank passwords or any other information over shared wifi, it can be traced by any clever hacker on the same network.

For more tips on how to protect your business from common commercial threats, contact a commercial locksmith or a security professional. For more information, contact a business such as Oakleigh Locksmiths.