Password security is important within your online network security and knowing the different types of identity theft is great, but what are the best ways to prevent identity theft? Many believe that PCI compliance does not affect them because they are not a payment processor or don’t run a gateway. This is a common mistake and can cost online businesses a lot of money. This doesn’t mean you need to be paranoid about being a company that is going to be the victim of identity theft. Use common sense and ask yourself if strangers are able to access your personal information.
Here are some tips to help prevent identity theft:
- In Part I of this series, I discussed the importance of generating secure and strong passwords. Make sure your corporate files are safe and all passwords are required to be at least 8 characters long. Make sure they have a random mixture of characters and numbers.
- One way to ensure your computer is secured is to drop it in a vat of concrete and build a 10-foot tall statue over it. But of course this would make your computer very difficult to use. Keeping your computer safe is much easier than that. First, make sure only authorized people have access to your network. Use a secure network router between your computer and network connections so hackers will have a tougher time finding the computer.
- Make sure you are keeping your website, software and operating systems updated with the latest patches. You may want to consider purchasing hard drive data encryptors.
- You should know who has access to your mail (personal and company’s). Access to bank statements, social security numbers, insurance statements, utility bills, and any other mail that may contain financial information. It is also important to protect your trash by always asking yourself the question “Is there any personal information written on this document?” Make sure to shred all important documents, as well as seemingly innocent items like credit card offers and sky miles statements.
- Order free credit reports to monitor your score and activity every year.
There are ways to fight back if your site has been compromised or your identity has been stolen. You may find local police unable to assist because of the complexity of these types of crimes, as well as their lengthy investigations. But if you persist, you can get a report filed. Make sure to keep adequate records of all occurrences, police filings, and contacts.
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