End of Year Clean Up Places South African Companies at Risk
With year-end fast approaching, many businesses use this time to clean up the office environment in order to prepare for the new year. However, businesses could be placing the organisation and its clients at risk of identity theft if unwanted documents are not properly destroyed.
The number of identity theft cases reported to the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) by end April 2014 had increased by 16 percent year-on-year to 1,370 and could exceed 4,000 by the end of the year if the trend continues.
According to Gianmarco Lorenzi, Managing Director of Cleardata - a group company of JSE listed Metrofile Holding Limited – those operating in the educational, construction, mining and financial services industries are most at risk.
Lorenzi points to the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act which stipulates the requirements for safe record keeping for any documents containing personal details. “This act does not only demand a safe record keeping system, but extends to include the secure destruction of records containing personal information.”
The latest trends in corporate identity theft involve consumers receiving letters with official company letterheads stating that account details for their monthly instalments have changed and they must make payments to new account details, says Lorenzi.
“The consumer, thinking this is an authentic business letter, changes their payment arrangements to go into the fraudulent account,” he explained. “The scam comes to light when the business contacts the consumer to establish why payments are not being made, instigating reputational, legal or financial damage for the business as the customer wonders how their details were obtained by the fraudster in the first place.”
He says businesses need to realise that one of the easiest ways for criminals to conduct corporate identity theft is by going through a company’s rubbish.
“Most computers also have desktop publishing technology, which has made it far easier for fraudsters to scan and duplicate a variety of corporate documents - such as purchase orders, invoices, bank statements, cash and credit card receipts or even stock certificates - containing company logos,” Lorenzi added.
Business records of any kind should never be put into a general waste or recycling bin, where it may be accessed by criminal’s intent on identity theft. Instead, all business records that are no longer needed should be shredded
Lorenzi emphasises that small businesses, especially those located in rural areas, may be at more risk, as they are often under the misperception that only larger organisations situated in urban areas are targets for corporate identity theft.
“This is actually not the case. Businesses of all sizes and in all locations can be exploited and must therefore employ effective document destruction practices.
“Those businesses not practicing sound document destruction are simply placing the organisation, including employees and clients, under unnecessary risk of identity theft and should seek the advice of a reputable document shredding company that has been certified by the National Association for Information Destruction (www.naidonline.org) to mitigate the potential threat to their business and reputation,” concluded Lorenzi.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.