Nov 04, 2013 Dave King
Identity theft continues to be one of the most widespread economic issues in the United States and abroad, while many experts believe that businesses need to become more responsible for proper ID verification protocols. Without comprehensive, relevant and effective verification standards, businesses are running the risk of being the subjects of investigations and fines.
However, some of the most simple and intuitive ID verification protocols are also among the most effective in preventing identity theft. The federal government, as well as various state and local law enforcement agencies, have increased efforts to identify and eradicate major rings involved in this crime, but few believe the epidemic will begin to slow down until the private sector takes more responsibility
Proof is in the pudding
The Identity Theft Resource Center logged 485 data breaches so far this year among the public and private sectors, leading to the exposure of more than 12.2 million records. This is as of October, which means that the annual numbers will likely continue to climb in the final two months of 2013, especially during the busy holiday shopping season when more financial data is being shared than normal.
Businesses should consider taking a proactive approach to ID verification, combining physical and digital defenses to minimize the risk of theft. When formulating a strategy, decision-makers should consider these recommendations:
- Security software: Firewalls, data security solutions and loss prevention software can all be effective measures to minimize the risk of IT breaches. Studies indicate that the vast majority of data loss events could have been prevented had these simple and accessible solutions been in place at the time of the attack.
- Physical records management: Employees should know exactly how to verify identities when dealing with current or prospective clients. Additionally, staff should be trained on the best practices of document retention, storage and shredding to ensure that sensitive files do not fall into incendiary hands.
- Human resources training: Human resources departments will often deal with a high volume of sensitive information about employees and applicants. Every member of this department should be trained in ID verification and information governance protocols to minimize internal risks.
Identity theft was the most complained-about crime in 2012, as well as each of the several years prior, and continues to have an adverse economic impact on the already ailing U.S. financial situation. Business leaders can begin to lower the sting of this crime by implementing more effective ID verification standards.