Workplace ID theft:
Are you at risk?
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EVIDENCE SUGGESTS THAT identity theft in the workplace is more common
than we think. Criminals can steal trade secrets, marketing research, consumer
data and confidential employee information simply by Dumpster diving or
accessing stolen laptops. The release of this proprietary information can have
d isast rous consequences for a business.
In the last two years, according to Ponemon Institute’s “The Business
Impact of Data Breach Survey” of May 2007, 85 percent of businesses expe-
rienced a data breach with startling financial implications. In 2005 alone, the
theft of proprietary information cost businesses and consumers an incredible
$56.6 billion, according to the report.
The first step toward safeguarding proprietary information is to shred
all documents, discs or CDs before disposal. Shredding in your home office
or small business is convenient, and it provides a greater sense of security
because you know the information has been destroyed immediately.
In addition to shredding, follow these tips to help protect your business
from the threat of workplace identity theft.
• Keep sensitive information and files in locked drawers or file cabinets.
• Limit access to electronic files—all files should be password protected
• Use updated anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software on all computers.
• Make sure wireless networks are protected with the proper security settings.
• Limit the use of Social Security numbers in the workplace and on items
such as ID badges, time cards and paychecks.
• Conduct thorough background checks of potential employees.
• Use a locked mailbox to prevent mail theft.
• At the end of the day, log off computers and lock workstations or office doors.
• Pay attention to your surroundings when you travel and when you use a
cell phone, laptop or BlackBerry. A
WHAT TO SHRED
Credit-card statements and receipts
Wills and other legal documents
Depending on the laws in your area or the nature of your business, there may be privacy,
retention and destruction guidelines that you are required to follow.
Obsolete legal files
Occupational and Safety Health Administration 300 logs