Identity Theft Tips

Each year, up to 9 million Americans are victims of identity theft. Since businesses often collect customer and employee names, addresses, and even highly sensitive information such as social security numbers, financial information, or personal health records, it is important to put proper safeguards in place.

These tips offered from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can help your business protect sensitive data and prevent identity theft.

Take stock. Review who has access to personal information, how it is received, and if it is stored securely.

Scale down. Information should only be collected and stored if there is a legitimate business reason.

Lock it. Documents with personal identifying information should be kept in a locked file or in a secure electronic format with limited access.

Pitch it. Any personal identifying information, even just a person’s name, should be shredded or burned when no longer needed. When disposing of computers, use a wipe utility program.

Plan ahead. Have procedures in place ahead of time for dealing with security breaches, including who to notify and how to prevent further breaches.

For more information, please visit the FTC’s web portal on how businesses can help prevent identity theft, or download their informational booklet, Protecting Personal Information: A Guide for Businesses.