Jul 17, 2013 Dave King
Identity theft remains one of the most abysmal crimes in the United States and abroad, costing business owners and consumers billions of dollars every year worldwide. The U.S. government has stepped up efforts to deter the crime, though hackers continue to become more prolific and capable of circumventing standard security protocols.
ID verification processes are often the structures that either make or break a company's defense against identity theft. The lines between ID verification and information governance have become more blurred, with one depending on the other to maintain stringent protections for both internal corporate data and customer records.
Small business owners are among the most at risk, as these firms tend to have less effective security procedures and solutions in place than larger enterprises, and have a poor record when it comes to identification, notification and reconciliation. Entrepreneurs should consider using all of the tips and tricks available when it comes to ID verification and data security to avoid incurring major financial losses and damaged reputations.
ID verification made easy
The Illawarra Mercury recently explained several examples of strong ID verification and information governance policies utilized by successful companies. Some of the greatest defenses are also the simplest, while studies indicate that the vast majority of data breaches and identity theft instances could have been avoided if fairly traditional protections were in place.
According to the news provider, passwords are the first and foremost area that business owners should focus on, especially when it comes to codes used by employees to access information. Regardless of whether a system relates to ID verification, ACH cards or otherwise, passwords should always have a strong rating, such as those that use different letter casings, numbers and symbols.
The source explained that many companies are beginning to use social media for a wider variety of tasks and communications than ever before, and that these channels represent significant risks when not used properly. Employees should be trained in the best practices of avoiding scams and dangerous external links to minimize the risk of compromised corporate accounts.
The Illawarra Mercury added that online surveys and polls are among the most unrecognized threats on the Internet, especially as such large volumes of computer users take part in the quizzes and questionnaires. Employees should be prohibited from taking any of these quizzes through the corporate IT infrastructure, and customers should be warned about them as well.
Online questionnaires will often pull identifying information, and sometimes even data that can also be used by hackers to steal and individual's identity. As such, these often fun but sometimes dangerous websites should be approached with caution or avoided entirely.
Several states more threatened by thieves
The Federal Trade Commission recently published its 2012 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, which revealed some of the states with the worst track records when it came to ID verification. According to the department, Florida had the highest rate of ID theft complaints per capita in the nation, while Georgia and California were second and third, respectively.
The data book also revealed that action might not be taken as often as necessary in ID theft cases. For example, only 54 percent of identity theft complaints were followed by law enforcement notification and reports recorded. However, 32 percent of identity theft victims did not contact a police department, and 6 percent notified law enforcement but did not see any actions.
Finally, the FTC noted that persons aged between 20 and 29 years old issued the most identity theft complaints, with 21 percent of the total fielded by the Consumer Sentinel Network in 2012.