Despite awareness, organizations, and residents in Boston, continue to be victimized by the effects of identity theft. While some circumstances are more minor than others, this increasingly growing crime can lead to many consequences for everyone involved.
The good news is it can be stopped with some simple precautionary habits. Here are 5 steps your Boston business should be taking to stay protected from the risks of identity theft:
- Keep your social security number protected, always: This is an important aspect of keeping your information protected at all times. Stay away from carrying your Social Security Number whenever possible; this means keep it out of your wallet or out of your purse. Never provide these details to anyone who contacts you through telephone or email unless they are authorized to ask for it, and you trust the source.
- Be sure all online passwords are secure: Ensure that your computer passwords are protected and unique in characters. Do your best to create passwords that include a minimum of one upper case, one lower case, one numeral, and one special character, like # or ?. Always take the initiative to password-protect your cell phone as well.
- Go over your credit reports on a regular basis: Visit the annual credit report to obtain a credit report from each of the three major reporting agencies, Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. Review each with great detail to confirm details are accurate, and that there are no signs of suspicious activity. You can obtain one free report from each agency each year.
- If you suspect information theft, report it immediately: It’s suggested that you visit your credit cards website to view how each card is being used, ensuring your finances are secure. You also have the ability to set a notification for purchases that surpass a specific dollar figure. Any time your card is charged beyond that value, you’ll be informed by email or text. Most credit cards will supply this service at no cost, giving you an additional layer of protection.
- Never throw confidential documents in the trash – shred them: Thoroughly shred all documents containing confidential information, prior to tossing them away. Keep in mind that office shredders do not provide the same security as professional document shredding services, and unless you have an employee who can be assigned to this responsibility on a regular basis, quite often it leads to forgotten or lost documents. This scenario poses a substantial security threat to your company, as if documents land in the wrong hands you may be found responsible. The best approach that guarantees your safety is to turn to a document destruction company such as A1 DATASHRED in Boston. If you are in the Boston region, contact A1 DATASHRED for a free no obligation quote.
Get in touch with us at 978-858-0200 for more information regarding our document shredding and hard drive shredding services.
Businesses in the United States are subject to various different legal obligations under both state and federal law. Sometimes it can be hard to keep track of what your business is obligated to abide by, but one piece of legislation that all businesses and individuals in the United States should be familiar with is known as FACTA.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) was introduced in 2003 in an effort to reduce identity theft risk through the proper management of consumer information by businesses and organizations across the United States. Encouraging the creation of the Red Flags Rule for financial institutions, FACTA has made a considerable impact on how businesses manage consumer data, and on identity theft rates.
Under FACTA, consumer information must be properly handled and disposed of upon its lack of necessity. Parties handling sensitive consumer information are required to take “reasonable measures” which ensure the safety of that information. Such measures can include destruction of information through pulverization, burning or shredding of physical documents.
There are several different types of documents that follow under FACTA’s disposal rule. Typically the documents affected consist of anything that contains sensitive individual information. Documents that contain things like;
- Physical addresses
- Phone numbers and email addresses
- Drivers licence / insurance policy numbers
- Social security numbers
All fall under FACTA’s disposal rule. The penalties for anyone who fails to abide by these disposal rules can be hefty as well with state fines going up to $1,500 per violation, and federal fines going up to $2,500 per violation. Some documents you may want to be paying more attention to include;
- Insurance claims
- Employee records
- Check-writing histories
- Consumer reports
So what should you do? A proven method to help businesses across all industries abide by FACTA guidelines is to take advantage of a knowledgeable information destruction service. On top of maintaining a state of the art secure document shredding facility, A1 DATASHRED also offers mobile shredding services (our shredding machine comes to your office,) as well as hard drive shredding.
Our team of information destruction specialists are ready to help your business meet its obligations. As a proud holder of AAA Certification from NAID we know how to make sure your businesses’ information needs remain within the parameters of FACTA’s information handling and disposal guidelines. If you’re business is looking for a partner to trust, contact A1 DATASHRED today.