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Corporate responsibility in identity theft

Feb 11, 2013 Dave King

Corporate responsibility in identity theft

As identity theft continues to become more aggressive and widespread, many federal and state agencies have increased legislation and enforcement to deter the crime. However, businesses need to be the first line of defense against identity theft, and proper ID verification practices can ensure corporate, employee and consumer data is safe from the reaches of criminals.

On top of using best practices as outlined by a variety of entities, enterprises can take an extra step toward secure systems through the use of data protection software and more widespread policies. Identity thieves need a relatively small amount of information to steal corporate or consumer finances, illustrating the need for stringent ID verification practices.

Warning signs

KPLC, a Lake Charles, Louisiana-based ABC News affiliate, recently explained several methods of protecting consumer and corporate data from potentially dangerous situations. While a proactive approach to ID verification, including firm policies regarding sales and management of either digital or physical documents, is helpful, it helps to know the early warning signs of the crime. 

According to the news provider, one elderly couple in the Lake Charles area started to see the signs of identity theft piece by piece, while the criminals successful stole large sums of money from the household. 

"If they start receiving mail that they didn't ask for or that is in somebody else's name, if they start receiving subscriptions they didn't request or, of course, if they start receiving calls from collection agencies which, in fact, this couple did receive a call from a collection agency, that's when you need to be concerned," Carmen Million, President of the Better Business Bureau (BBB), told the source.

KPLC suggested that companies and consumers regularly check financial statements and credit reports, as these will be the earliest indicators of identity theft. By keeping a close eye on such information, a case of identity theft will be thwarted before it leads to major losses.

Businesses should take charge
The BBB and various other federal and state agencies have a variety of literature available to businesses and consumers regarding identity theft protection guidance. While consumers do need to take some responsibility for safeguarding their information, companies should be also involved in this process.

Regularly checking accounts payable and receivable will give businesses an idea of how statements should look. Additionally, stringent ID verification policies should be created and enforced, while executives can regularly assess their companies' practices to ensure all information is safeguarded.