As many as 10 million American a year are victims of identity theft. More than half become victims when their credit card information is stolen. It takes anywhere from 3 to 5,840 hours over a 4-to-6-month period to repair damage done by identity theft based on the severity of the crime. The average number of hours is 330.
As a result of identity theft:
- 47% of victims have trouble getting credit or a loan.
- 70% of victims have trouble getting rid of negative information on their records.
- 66% of victims’ personal information was used to open a new credit account in their name.
- 12% of victims end up having warrants issued in their name for financial crimes committed by the perpetrator.
As a business owner, it is your obligation to protect the personal financial information of your customers.
Here are 10 simple things you can do to protect your customers’ financial information:
1) Take Stock: Know what personal information you have in your files and on your computers. Never leave sensitive papers in a common area unattended.
2) Scale Down: Keep only what you need for your business. If you don’t have a legitimate business need for information, don’t collect it.
3) Lock It: Protect the information that you keep. Limit access to employees with a legitimate business need. Control who has a key, the number of keys and know when information is being accessed.
4) Pitch It: Properly dispose of what you no longer need. If you collect applications with personal financial information, make sure the paperwork is unreadable before you dispose of it. Cross-cut shredding is an effective way to prevent identify thieves from stealing it from your trash.
5) E-mail Restrictions: E-mail is not a secure method to transmit sensitive data. Never send personal financial information by e-mail.
6) Protect It: Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as a firewall, and update them both regularly. Also, use a password-activated screen saver to lock your computer whenever you are not in front of it.
7) Use Strong Passwords: The longer the password, the better. Use passwords with a combination of letters, numbers and characters, and change it frequently. Do not use the same password for all of the various accounts you access.
8) Limit Team Roles: Only allow certain employees to access sensitive personal financial information. Manage the user permission of your employees carefully on places like banking websites.
9) Only Use Vendors Who Are PCI Compliant: Make sure your vendors are Payment Card Industry (PCI) Compliant. Whenever possible, choose a vender that is Level One compliant, which is the highest standard awarded. Any financial institution, software provider, merchant processor, or other company that you do business with should be taking steps to be PCI compliant. Any company or software application you use that contains cardholder data should comply with PCI.
10) Treat It Like It Was Your Own: Safeguard all personal financial information of your customers, employees or anyone else like it was your own personal information.
Our Commitment to You
Security is of the highest priority at Member Solutions. It’s the sum of every action we take to protect our clients that entrust their business to us, the customers that entrust their information to us, and our team that places trust in each other.
We are proud to be a Level One Service Provider Under the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).
One Final Thought
If you accept credit and/or debit cards at your business, you must become PCI compliant. Member Solutions can help get you started. With Member Solutions’ PCI compliance program, you can become PCI compliant in less than 20 minutes. And for a low monthly fee, you can bundle our PCI compliance program with Data Breach Protection insurance to protect your business and members in the event of security breaches and identity theft.
Visit membersolutions.com/credit-card-processing or call 888.277.4409 for more information.
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