Archives For Identity Theft

Are You Sure?

October 17, 2014

Being sure is important in business. Being sure allows you to freely and confidently make decisions. So, sure about what you ask? Are you confident that none of your employees are stealing from you?

In my business, we deal with Dental Practices located all over the world. Consistently throughout all of the practices that we serve there continues to be story after story of staff members who have found a way to steal money from the practice. There seems to be a never-ending number of methods that this can occur.

And trust me, when it happens, the numbers can become staggering.

The fraudster is almost always someone who has been there for years and has earned the trust of the doctor or owner. Many times it starts out small, likely even with the intent that they will return the money. Unfortunately, the small amount was intended to solve an issue in their home life but the issue persists. However, when it goes unnoticed and whatever problem existed continues; their judgment slips again and so it goes…..

It isn’t always a masked bandit or a horrible person that will steal from your business. That would make it much easier to identify. Often it is the least person you would ever expect within your organization.

As a business owner you should put safeguards and checks and balances in place to prevent what starts as a temptation into spiraling into something much larger. Some of the checks and balances that our On-Site Practice Analysis Team recommends are:

  • Deposits are made on a daily basis
  • Internal controls over cash
  • Reconcile the books daily
  • Internal audit trails on the practice software; minimum of 1x per week
  • Check the deleted files internally in the practice software
  • Stamp checks “Deposit Only” immediately
  • Different people run audit trails and check each other’s work
  • Carbon Copy of receipts
  • Fidelity Bonding your staff

Just to name a few….

The above are literally just a few of the items that should be completed as part of your internal business processes. Most of these are daily functions so they can’t be just left to chance or performed randomly. It has to become how you operate every single day.

For many small business owners the list above can seem daunting. The thought of trying to train everyone to do these things can be even a little uncomfortable. When in fact this could be suggesting that there is a trust issue. I would encourage you that there isn’t a trust issue, but rather good business processes. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes.

 “Trust, but verify” – Ronald Reagan

 I will admit that implementing all of these systems can be cumbersome. However, when each of these are in place there is a sense of clarity and peace that comes along with knowing that they are in place. Fear and doubt are reduced which allows the Doctor or Business Owner to concentrate on the other areas of the business.

Whenever a business doesn’t have the time, expertise, or human capital to do certain parts of their business they outsource the job to a professional in that field. My colleagues, some of the brightest CPA’s in the business, serve our clients by taking on these functions and processes for them. I have personally witnessed the relief that occurs when the doctor releases this burden as he outsources this to the professionals. It is like hiring a team of the brightest financial minds at a fraction of the cost of only one employee. Creating this financial team, as an extension of their office staff, provides for the surety that is desired.

So, are you sure?

Even if you answer yes, does it make sense to put these safeguard procedures in place?

 Or, should you outsource this part of the business to a professional for the ultimate in peace and clarity?



cardThis is a guest post that adds value to one of my most popular posts ever, Tips For Preventing Identity Theft. It unfortunately is becoming all to common to hear about this happening. Allow me to introduce you to Valerie Cecil, a Research Assistant for, spends as much time traveling as she does writing. Follow her and the rest of the Guest Door group on Twitter: @guestdoor – be sure to say hello!


Whether you’re planning a business trip across the globe or traveling with your family on a much-needed vacation, identity theft is not just something you hear on TV or the Internet. It’s very real – and if you don’t take the proper precautions, it could ruin what should be a fun trip to a new destination.

According to an article in Technorati, more than 11.6 million Americans fell victim to identity theft during 2011, a 13 percent rise from the previous year. We’ve put together some quick tips to consider before you leave – and while you’re traveling – so the same thing doesn’t happen to you!

Read the full article by following this Link to Guest Door, The Smart Travelers Guide To Preventing Identity Theft


E-Mail me or tweet about any tips or your experiences with Identity Theft, include @toddburkhalter and a hashtag #ToddIDTheft


Tips for Preventing
Identity Theft

Identity theft is prevalent in today’s society. It is time consuming, expensive and one of the more frustrating things to experience. Below are some tips to that could help in preventing this from happening to you.


– Use your initials and last name when ordering printed checks. A check forger won’t know how you sign your checks, but your bank will.

– Do not have your home phone number or Social Security number printed on your checks. Use your work phone number. Use a post office box or work address instead of your home address.

– Order new checks from your bank and pick them up at the bank, rather than having them sent to your home mailbox.


Credit Cards

– When paying credit card bills, write only the last four digits of the account number in the check memo line.

– Do not sign the back of your credit card. Instead write, “Photo ID required.”

– Photocopy both sides of your driver’s license, credit cards and other important contents of your wallet. In the event it is stolen, you’ll know exactly what is missing.

– Keep a list of your credit card numbers and their toll-free customer service numbers so you can cancel cards quickly if lost or stolen. Keep the list in a safe place in your home, not in your wallet.


Social Security Number

– Do not carry your Social Security card in your wallet. Memorize the number and put the original card in a safe place.

– If you believe your Social Security number has been compromised, contact the Social Security Administration fraud line 800-269-0271.


PINs and Passwords

– Use different PINs for each debit and credit card. If you have too many to remember, consider reducing the number of cards you carry in your wallet.

– Do not use easily available information, like your birth date, phone number or part of your Social Security number, for PINS and passwords.

– Do not write your PIN on the back of the card or on anything else in your wallet.



Mail and Trash

– Shred any trash that may contain personal information, including charge receipts, credit applications, insurance forms, medical statements, checks and bank statements, expired credit and debit cards and direct mail credit offers.

– You can opt not to receive direct mail credit offers by calling 888-567-8688.

– Use post office collection boxes for outgoing mail, rather than your home mail box.


If your wallet is stolen, you should immediately:

– File a police report to document the theft and the wallet contents.

– Contact one of the national credit reporting organizations (listed below) to have a fraud alert placed on your name and Social Security number. The organization you contact is required to contact the
other two. If the thief’s purchases initiate a credit check, the credit reporting organization can alert the merchant. Placing a fraud alert entitles you to free copies of your credit reports.

  • Equifax 800-525-6285
  • Experian 888-397-3742
  • Trans Union 800-680-7289


– Close all accounts for missing credit cards. Check your credit reports for accounts opened fraudulently.

– File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, which maintains a database of identity theft cases, online at This database assists law enforcement agencies and helps the FTC learn more about identity theft.

– Notify your bank if your wallet contained a checkbook or debit/ATM cards.

Have you ever experienced identity theft? Would you agree that it is a pain that should be avoided if possible? If so, please forward this article to a friend.