Top 5 Fraud Risk Locations in the Office

22 November of 2014

What’s your attitude towards business fraud? Do you complete a regular check to make sure your company is as safe as possible from fraud and identity theft? Or do you believe it will never happen to you so you don’t have to spend time looking for ways to fraud-proof your business? Unfortunately, for the majority of UK businesses, the second option is most likely to be true. Limited knowledge about how fraud takes place, and what needs to be protected in a business, leave many companies wide open to this ever-increasing crime. Consider the financial and reputational impact fraud could have on your business, and check out these five fraud risk “hotspots” that need to be dealt with in your office.

1. Untidy Desks

Keeping loose paperwork on an open desk leaves it vulnerable to theft from people working for your company and selling information to third parties, and to people outside the organisation such as cleaners or visitors. Paperwork is particularly vulnerable at night, should there be a break-in. Implement a clear-desk policy and have lockable filing cabinets for employees to store paperwork they haven’t yet finished with.

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2. Printers and Photocopiers

Small businesses do not normally require employees to input a passcode in order to print or photocopy documents, which means that it is more likely documents are printed and left at the station. Some of these documents contain personal information or financial details that could cause problems for the company if they are taken outside the office. If employees are printing documents with confidential information, make sure that they use a security code or have a personal printer at their desk.

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3. Unsecure Waste Bins and Recycling Bins

Your employees may think they are doing the right thing by posting their confidential documents into the recycling bin to be shredded. But if the bin is not secure, anyone can access them at any time before they are shredded, meaning that the bin is worse than the employee leaving the information on their desk. Make sure your Confidential Shredding policy is robust, or use a shredding service from a provider like that handles the confidentiality of documents from beginning to end.

4. Portable Workspaces

It’s great for employees when they can access their files online through the company network and complete their tasks at home or when they are out of town on business. But when employees take information out of the office it is particularly vulnerable to theft. Educate employees not to print out sensitive information and take it to meetings or to their home. Make sure that people know not to print out confidential information on home printers.

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5. Mobile Storage Devices

Again, carrying information outside the office is risky even when it is on IT storage devices such as portable hard drives or pen drives. Make sure that office workers must input passwords to access information on portable storage devices and destroy them securely when they are no longer in use.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /


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