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Ensuring a safe holiday shopping season

Dec 08, 2012 Dave King

Ensuring a safe holiday shopping season
As the holiday shopping season is now in full swing, many consumer protection agencies are stressing the importance of data security and PCI compliance, as identity theft tends to spike during these situations. ID verification is crucial to protect customers, especially for small and medium-sized businesses, as incendiary forces tend to target smaller firms more frequently than their larger counterparts.
 In recent years, identity theft has been an increasing problem, as many groups of thieves have refined their methods of stealing personal and banking information and turning it into cash. Business owners have the responsibility of ensuring the integrity of their systems and always verifying identification for larger purchases, as this will help avoid incurring financial losses and hurt reputations. December deemed special month
Businessweek recently reported that December has been declared Identity Theft Prevention and Awareness Month, largely resulting from the traditional spike in instances of crime during the busy holiday shopping days. According to the news provider, credit card fraud is among the most common types of theft this time of year, and business owners need to be on the lookout for the common signs of criminal activity. Skimming is among the most increasingly difficult types of theft to deter, as criminals can install an electronic device that might go undetected for weeks or months, all the while transferring credit and debit card information to a thief on the other end. Through the use of diligent and regular checks of accounts payable and receivable, as well as data security software, business owners can minimize this type of threat. Further, Businessweek added that when a case of identity theft is discovered, business owners should try to report the event as quickly as possible to the proper authorities. This way, law enforcement will have a much better chance at finding the identity thief and recovering the money stolen. In many cases, criminals will cover their tracks long before officials have a chance of finding them. Taking a step beyond compliance
While PCI compliance is mandatory for all businesses that process payments, it is not always enough to defend against identity theft. Retailers should always go beyond simply obeying the regulations and use the most advanced methods of deterring crime, not only for consumer information but also that of the company. This is especially important for those businesses that use ACH cards, as criminals are increasingly attacking wire transfers to steal information and funds.