Commercial Identity Theft

According to the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service (CIFAS), identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United Kingdom today. Identity thieves use countless avenues to access personal information, so staying ahead of them takes a commitment to security. Because businesses handle sensitive customer information, they have a responsibility to protect that information.

It is important that you do your part when handling personal information, to protect both your customers and your business. This includes taking security measures both externally and internally so that customer information is only shared with necessary parties.

Computer
Your computer contains the most sensitive customer information. Follow these guidelines so that this information is kept secure:
• Never leave passwords where anyone can find them.
• When you step away from your computer, always ‘lock’ the screen.
• When sending email with personal data, make sure it is encrypted for security.

Customer Contact
Only gather personal customer information through company-approved channels. Do not use personal email (or if you must, be sure to encrypt the message). Follow company policies to verify the identity of the customer when giving out or changing any personal information. Use discretion when offering or receiving personal information over the phone–this is a common way for thieves to commit identity fraud.

Paperwork
When stepping away from your desk or leaving for the day, do not leave any paperwork with sensitive information lying on your desk. It should be filed in a locked drawer or cabinet. When disposing of personal information, use the paper shredder or secure recycling container.

Above all, be aware of the potential for identity theft when handling personal data. If you are ever suspicious of a transaction or conversation you are having, follow your instinct and pursue further verification before proceeding with the customer’s request. Talk to your supervisor if you have a question about procedure or need assistance with a particular transaction. If everyone does their part, identity fraud can be prevented.

For more information and to speak to an insurance expert, please get in touch with your nearest A-Plan Commercial branch.