Identity theft continues to rise, affecting millions of individuals every year. It’s no wonder our customers ask us so many questions about it. In this blog, we share answers to the most frequently asked questions about identity theft—so you can be prepared and stay safe.
As a business owner, should I be concerned about identity theft?
Yes. Businesses that collect personal, financial and medical information from their customers are favorite targets for criminals. If the personal, financial and medical information you’re responsible for protecting is compromised, it can result in fines, legal action, and long-term brand damage for your company. As a result, it is important to implement a records and information management policy that limits and tracks all access to confidential files and data.
What is medical identity theft?
Medical identity theft is using someone’s stolen medical information to obtain medical care or drugs. Medical identity theft is on the rise in North America. In fact, stolen medical records now fetch more money on the black market than stolen credit card numbers. If your business handles or distributes personal health information (PHI), you should be especially careful.
Is ransomware used in identity theft crimes?
Yes. Ransomware—the malware used to encrypt stolen personal information until payment is provided to a hacker—is now often used by identity theft criminals. That’s why you should protect your network with firewall and security software. In addition, remember to back up your data and store it offsite so you still have access to your information if it’s stolen.
What is the most effective identity theft prevention strategy?
There isn’t just one strategy to prevent identity theft. The most effective prevention strategy combines storage, offsite data protection and information destruction, so records and data are safeguarded throughout their entire information lifecycle. Employee awareness and education programs are also important. Consider a company-wide training program to help your staff recognize identity theft risks and practice strong privacy protection habits.
Does in-house shredding prevent identity theft?
Shredding documents with an office shredder is better than not destroying them at all. But there are several risks associated with shredding your sensitive documents in-house.
First, office shredders are unreliable; they often jam, overheat and break. Folders and paper clips need to be removed from files before they are shredded, and only a few sheets of paper can be shredded at a time. Second, many office shredders shred documents into strips, which can be reconstructed by a determined person, especially if your shredded documents are bagged together in a garbage dumpster or recycling bin. And third, in-house shredding programs don’t offer written verification of the destruction process, which is necessary to prove regulatory compliance.
A NAID AAA Certified shredding service eliminates these risks by providing a secure, efficient, and reliable document destruction process. Your documents are regularly collected and destroyed by screened professionals. Industrial cross-cut shredders ensure that your confidential paperwork is shredded into unrecognizable particles. After your documents are shredded you are given a Certificate of Destruction that documents the time and date of destruction.
Identity theft may never go away, but with the right resources and strategies you can protect your personal, financial and medical information.
FileBank offers records and information management solutions to businesses throughout Canada. For more information about our services, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.