Deter, detect, and defend—three steps to reduce the risk of identity theft.
Millions of Americans fall prey to identity thieves each year. Identity theft, according to the Federal Bureauof Investigation, is America’s fastest growing crime problem.That’s why our organization must always be on guard.
Follow the Federal Trade Commission’s 3-D formula for reducing identity theft:
- When in doubt, shred it. Your last office supply purchase order may not look like much, but a seasoned criminal can exploit it to get cash. Follow our organization’s shredding policy and dispose of all waste appropriately.
- Safeguard how you release personal information. Assume anything you send on the web could be read by anyone. Be aware of those around you when using the phone, and consider secure mailing options to reduce the threat of theft.
- Secure personal information. Don’t leave personal information lying around. Use locks on your storage facilities and follow our organization’s security and document retention policies for handling and storing sensitive information.
- Suspicious financial statements. That invoice for a new flat-screen monitor and ergonomic office chair might be for the new person, or you might be outfitting a thief’s home office—who’s to say? When in doubt, ask questions and report suspicions
- Missing bills. Missing your monthly bill or account statement isn’t just an inconvenience—it might mean a thief has rerouted your mail to prevent their capture. Don’t assume the postal service or vendor made a mistake. Research!
- Contacting appropriate agencies. Alert appropriate agencies about a security breach. This step will help prevent further fraudulent activity, and, at times, can help lead to the capture of the criminals.
- Closing all fraudulent accounts. Cut the criminals off from any further funds. This also limits our organization’s liability.
- Working with the law. Cooperate with law enforcement officials to pursue the criminals responsible for theft. This prevents further damage to our organization and it might aid in apprehension.
When you follow the 3-D formula—Deter, Detect, Defend—to protect personal information, you make our organization and our customers less vulnerable to identity theft.