Security Culture: Identity Theft Facts and Prevention tips

Identity theft cases reached record levels in 2016 with young people a growing target, the fraud prevention organisation Cifas says. Identify fraud can have massive consequences for both individuals and businesses.

Increasing the awareness of individuals to prevent theft of their identitiy will help improve a culture of security in the workplace too.

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Identity Theft Facts

  • There were almost 173,000 incidents of identity faud in the UK during 2016 (source: Cifas – click for full report).
  • According to fraud losses to SMEs are estimated at a staggering £19billion a year.
  • Fraud costs £1000 per UK adult (source: National Fraud Authority
  • Shockingly 78% of businesses make no effort to have a comprehensive policy with clear do’s and don’ts for employees to follow to help protect people’s identities

Identity Theft Prevention Tips

At home:

  • Be careful when giving personal information, especially by telephone or online
  • Use strong passwords and PINs that includes a mix of characters – such as upper and lower cases
  • Keep your personal documents in a locked box, secure storage area or personal safe
  • Carry a minimal amount of personal information in your wallet- it is unlikely you use your passport or social security card regularly
  • Take receipts when leaving stores and restaurants
  • Destroy envelopes and return address labels
  • Check your credit report every year and report problems immediately
  • Shred unwanted receipts, cheques, pre-approved credit applications and old tax returns
  • Limit the amount of personal information you give away on social networking sites. Your real friends know where you live and know your birthday

In the Workplace:

  • Understand your company’s privacy and document destruction policies
  • Only collect essential data and obtain consent when you collect data
  • Limit access to sensitive data
  • Encrypt data networks, laptops, and remote access devices
  • Conduct employee background checks
  • Use locks, alarms and video cameras
  • Prepare a strategy to manage a security breach
  • Ensure your data is stored in a secure and confidential place and develop a DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM. Protect the information that must be kept and shred information when it’s time to dispose of it.
  • Shred all sensitive documents and old files: business forms, customer data, letterhead, proprietary information, business cards, contact lists, receipts and financial reports.

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