Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Preventing Identity Theft

Personally identifiable information such as your name, date of birth, social security number, and many other forms of identification present risks when this information is stored electronically. Not only can the information be easly accessible by many employees, but it can also be viewed by unwanted intruders.

Information identity thefts present two different types of risks:
  • Take overs - accounts can be taken over by an imposter posing as you. The imposter can purchase goods and services using your existing accounts.
  • Application fraud - with sufficient information, an imposter can open new accounts in your name. Their goal is to get as much money and products as quickly as possible.
Five steps you can take to protect sensitive information:
1) Request a free credit report by calling (877) 322-8228 or visiting http://www.annualcreditreport.com/.
2) Reduce the amount of credit cards and shred unsolicited credit card applications.
3) If a business requests a SSN, ask if another number can be substituted instead.
4) Ask businesses to only request and keep the minimum amount of information they need to do their job.
5) Ask if your information is shared with others and how your information is protected.

Five steps businesses can take to secure sensitive information:
1) Identify the minimum amount of information that needs to be collected and stored.
2) Identify the minimum amount of staff that needs to access sensitive information.
3) Educate your staff about policies and the need to keep information private.
4) Encrypt information so it is protected even if the network is compromised.
5) Outside independent security assessments help identify, manage and reduce risks.

For more information on assessments, please visit Altius IT.

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