Keep your Data (and employees) Safe from Identity Thieves...

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You may be fully conscious and aware of how important it is to safeguard your personal information, and stored business data, from hackers and identity thieves, but are you aware of the the significance of making sure thieves don't infiltrate your business and steal (or become) one of your employees?

Yes that's right, your employees!
Popular tactics used by criminal identity theft rings today involve getting inside your business, one way or another. If you won't hire the scammer -they just may hire your employees to do the dirty work for them.

While you're busy building stronger defenses against outside scammers and hackers, you could be overlooking a potential danger right under your nose-- inside thieves!

Identity theft rings often operate by infiltrating legitimate businesses for the sole purpose of stealing information. Any business can be placed at risk when a criminal is on the prowl for a job -or an employee.

Criminals are constantly coming up with new and innovative ways to scam us. One of their favorites is to approach, and then tempt, cash-strapped employees with promises of a "second job", one that offers a lucrative stream of cash in return for a few tidbits of pilfered information.

All kinds of industries are at risk; restaurants, car dealerships, banks, universities, hospitals, physicians offices and even government offices. No establishment is immune to being infiltrated by thieves who have one thing on their mind...turning data into cash!

Make no mistake about it, when it comes to criminals and identity thieves, we can never underestimate their savoir-faire!

So what is the best way to circumvent their attacks and prevent fraud?

Become savvy to their innovative cons!

It's crucial to educate employees on the dangers lurking and what steps they must take to ensure data security and avoid being scammed.

Employees who have access to sensitive information should be given the tools they need to guard it. If you arm your employees with the appropriate resources and sufficient guidance, they can be your most valuable allies in preventing fraud-related losses.

A few important considerations;

•Reward employees for reporting suspicious incidents
•Stress the dangers of phishing emails and various known techniques used by criminals in staff meetings
•Warn employees they could be approached by either rogue employees or outsiders seeking to buy information -or their assistance in pilfering data
•Assign access to sensitive information to key personnel only

To help curb data breaches and the harmful effects of identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Reserve, the National Credit Union Administration and other financial regulators are "phasing in" what they call the Red Flags Rule.

These rules mandate financial institutions and creditors set up and enforce written plans for identifying "red flag" transactions that could indicate identity theft or fraud. The law became effective January 1, 2008, and full compliance with these rules was to be met by November 1st of this year -but due to confusion brought on by the broad definition of "creditors", the enforcement data has just recently being extended for six months -to May 1, 2009

For more information about "inside" identity thieves...
See today's Washington Post article: State Warns Passport Applicants Of Danger of Credit Card Fraud,

  Here's a small portion:

"The State Department has notified approximately 400 passport applicants in the D.C. area of a breach in its database security that allowed a ring of thieves to obtain confidential information so they could fraudulently use credit cards stolen from the mail, officials said.

...Upon his arrest, the driver, Lieutenant Q. Harris Jr., told police that he worked with a co-conspirator who was employed by the State Department and another co-conspirator who worked for the U.S. Postal Service, court documents said. Officers on the scene called American Express about some of the cards in Harris's possession, and were told that they had recently been used and that a fraud alert had been placed on them..." MORE

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