Maryland lawyer's desk

I lock my files up every day, so my desk stays clean and my client files secure. (yes that's my personal speed cam ticket)

Maryland Small Business Fraud Prevention Tips: Bills, Invoices, & Bank Records  (aka Shred and lock your stuff)

This is probably going to be the shortest and easiest tip post you will be able to find on ENlawyers.com.  Why?  Because there are only two simple tips I can advise you to prevent fraud and theft from your Maryland Small Business in the area of paperwork and documents.

  1. Buy a locking filing cabinet for all your bank and personnel records and lock it.
  2. Buy a shredder for your excess, old, and/or unused records and use it.

One simple method of preventing theft from your Maryland Small Business is by restricting access to assets or sensitive data.  If they cannot easily get to it, they cannot easily steal it.

Maryland Small Business Fraud Triangle

The 80/10/10 rule states that 10% of the population is as honest as the day is long.  They will not lie, cheat, or steal no matter what the circumstance.  Another 10% are crooks and should be behind bars.  The other 80% of us, given the right opportunity and the right circumstance will behave unethically.  It could be fudging a timesheet, stealing office supplies, or embezzling money. That leads you to the psychology of the Fraud Triangle and the understanding of how the 80% rationlize the crime.  Under the “Fraud Triangle” theory of fraud and theft, there are three components to an employee rationalizing their crime.

  1. Pressure – problems at home, bad economy, gambling, drugs, etc
  2. Rationalization – occurs when the person develops a justification (boss deserves it, I’ll pay it back, etc)
  3. Opportunity – Lack of supervision and physical controls

If you think of it as a three legged stool and if you can remove one leg, the potential for theft and fraud is more likely gone for 80% of the population.

Remove the opportunity

A locking filing cabinet costs about $50 more, but well worth the price

If your bank records, personnel records, employee social security numbers, client data, and other sensitive materials is under lock and key and only limited persons have access to the materials, you’re already ahead of the game when it comes to employee fraud and theft.  At ENlawyers, we lock our cabinets even if we are in the office and we lock all files at night when we leave for the day (which also keeps my desk nice and clean).  If you’ve exhausted the life cycle of the documents (7 years for bank records, 1 or 2 years for many receipts and documents), shred it!  You’ll be happy to free up the space and the thief will be deprived of their best source of documents (trash).  If you ask any police officer or private investigator someone’s trash is a treasure trove of intimate data.  Also, you should consider electronic “shredding” of old computers, hard drives, and other electronic equipment, as the data on those devices lasts forever if not properly destroyed.

 If you’ve been defrauded

If your Maryland Small Business has been victimized by theft or fraud, preserve your evidence and call your Maryland lawyer for a comprehensive security audit.