Identity theft is an unfortunate circumstance that occurs to not only Philadelphia residents, but to businesses across the world. This major crime is becoming increasingly popular as businesses continue to store large amounts of information on documents and online.
While identity thieves can steal self-identifying data such as social security numbers, bank account information, and phone numbers from paper documents, this information is also vulnerable to online hackers.
Once your business has been affected by identity theft, you will face a damaged reputation and risk liability issues. It’s very important your business takes necessary precautions to keep its data secure and prevent identity theft. You can start with these seven steps to prevent identity theft:
1) Request Customers Show Photo ID
Many businesses sell goods and services to their clients and customers. Unless the customer is a regular buyer of services and goods, businesses should train their employees to request an ID for verification, such as a driver’s license with a photo. This can help businesses quickly verify that they are selling to the correct person.
2) Secure Personal Information
Another way businesses can prevent ID theft is to securely store sensitive documents.
Documents that contain sensitive customer information, such as social security numbers and date of birth, should be kept in a secure location such as a safe or file cabinet protected by a key or combination.
3) Limit Access to Sensitive Documents
Along with storing important documents in a secured location, companies should limit access to these documents to certain employees only. The access could be limited to specific employees such as those receiving special training or those who have already passed background checks. Limiting access to certain individuals will help prevent sensitive, confidential customer data from falling into the wrong hands.
4) Review Credit Card Statements for Accuracy
Businesses often use credit cards to make purchases. Those that take advantage of credit cards should review their statements regularly to ensure all the purchases are legitimate. Customer orders should also be reviewed to confirm if they are valid. Additionally, businesses should be especially suspicious of unknown customers. Even though credit monitoring services like TransUnion or LifeLock cost money, this is a great option because it helps businesses ensure data isn’t being accessed or used without knowledge or permission.
5) Protect Digital Data with Firewalls and Anti-Virus Software
In today’s technology-first world, some businesses run entirely on computers. Often, computers store sensitive information such as account numbers and social security information. A hacker that breaks into a business’s computer can easily steal this information and commit ID theft.
To prevent this, companies should protect their digital infrastructure by using firewalls, installing the latest anti-virus software, installing software updates, and implementing email spam filters. All this will help reduce the likelihood a hacker can gain access to a business’s digital infrastructure.
Additionally, all employees should be trained annually on the company’s best practices and policies regarding internet use and securing digital information. All work computers and laptops should not be accessible outside of your secure network. If employees are accessing your network from an off-site location through a VPN, all procedures should be adhered to in order to limit your security risk.
6) Develop Standardized Data Retention Policies
Another way businesses can prevent ID theft is to implement security policies regarding data retention. Implementing this policy will help businesses decide when to remove customer data from their records. Maintaining customer data on a set retention schedule will help to lower your risk by eliminating sensitive information that no longer needs to be kept. For example, if a customer has not ordered goods from a business after 6 months, then it may be time to remove credit card and other sensitive information from the account.
7) Hire a Professional Shredding Service for Information Disposal
Preventing ID theft can also be simplified by using a NAID (National Association of Information Destruction) AAA-certified shredding service. These services comply with national privacy regulations, and some go the extra mile by adopting the rigorous standards of the ISO (International Standards Organization). Professional shredding companies also offer low-cost services that are convenient and eco-friendly, while offering tools and best practices that ensure customers stay compliant.
Prevent Identity Theft with Shredding Services from PROSHRED®
The incidence of ID Theft continues to be on the rise, negatively impacting companies & individuals in a number of ways, ranging from severe fines, poor publicity, loss of credit and healthcare. Companies that are interested in better protecting their clients, employees, and company information should actively follow these seven tips to prevent ID theft.
At PROSHRED® Philadelphia, we particularly recommend secure shredding services for businesses. By choosing a certified, secure shredding service like PROSHRED®, businesses can have a third-party company handle the secure destruction of their documents, as well as hard drive destruction and disposal. Not only does using a shredding service save money in terms of internal productivity and reduced legal liabilities, but it also implements a compliance program, including proof of destruction that will give you peace of mind that your information is safe from hackers and potential identity thieves.