Do You Have Safe Business Practices In the Workplace?
If you have a business, there are several questions that you need to ask yourself to know if you have taken steps to protect your information from being improperly accessed by identity thieves. Think through these questions to see where you may need to beef up your security at your work place. At the same time, check out the security at the offices you frequent and see if they have files lying around that could be compromising your identity.
- When you obtain personal information from your customers or clients, is there a good reason for each question? (Only ask for information that you need in your working relationship with that customer. Do not ask for information just because everyone always asks for that information. The less information you have on someone, the less information to lose!)
- Is the information that you do need obtained in a safe manner? (For example, do not ask for a Social Security number in a room full of people who could hear the answer. If you ask for information online, make sure you have a secure site for the protection of the person providing the information).
- When you have the information, who has access? (Do you have files laying around or stored in unlocked file cabinets?) Do only the people who need the information have access to it on your computer? (Is your computer password protected or the specific file password protected?) Dealing with accessibility to information by taking easy steps to protecting the data goes a long way to mitigating damages. Don’t forget your employees’ information needs the same protection as your customers.
- When you are done with the information how do you dispose of it? (Do you shred paper documents?) Is information on the computer properly disposed of? (If you recycle your computer, is all the personal information on the hard drive correctly removed?)
Getting the right answers to these questions will not guarantee that identity theft will not occur as, unfortunately, you can never be 100% safe. However, if you can take just a few protective steps more than what you may be doing now, then you have started the continuing process to protect yourself from an information breach that could result in monetary fines and jail time for you.
If you would like more information on how to protect yourself and your business, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out The Little Book of Identity Theft at http://www.ourlittlebooks.com/educational.html.