Protecting Your Company and Personal Data: Low to Hi Tech Fraud

There’s a lot of things you can do technologically to protect your corporate data from hackers. Get a firewall, use anti-virus tools and such. However, you also must protect yourself from the local drug user (often part of a larger network than just himself) who steals credit card information from a trash can or your mail box (in the photo above a mail carrier delivers mail)
Criminals can easily (more easily than 20 years ago) access personal information (social security numbers, marriage information and more) online at County, Federal, State and other web sites. Of course commercial services harvest and sell this information to just about anyone who can pay for it as well.
When you get mail and its filled to the brim with offers from credit card companies – thieves also want to steal this information to re-program the cards.
The NY Times writes (in an EXCELLENT piece on this) Arizona officials have responded with a preventive mantra: shred all documents and avoid giving Social Security numbers or bank account numbers to strangers over the telephone or the Internet. The State Legislature has passed tougher penalties for people caught stealing or trafficking in stolen identities.
But the real problem, many officials and consumer advocates say, lies elsewhere. In recent years banks have campaigned energetically to extend more credit to more people with fewer hassles, and retailers and consumers have embraced instant, near-anonymous access to credit.
Last year a group of prosecutors, law enforcement officers and security executives from banks and credit card associations met to discuss ways of curbing identity theft. The group had plenty of ideas, including PIN numbers or fingerprint verification for all credit card purchases and a ban on mailings that include blank checks.
But all ran counter to the promotional campaigns of banks and, banks say, to the desires of consumers.
“There’s a disconnect between corporate leadership at financial institutions and their security departments,” said Brad H. Astrowsky, a former prosecutor who was part of the group. “Marketing people are ruling the day in banking. They can do things to fix the problem, but they have no incentive and motivation to do it. Preventing something from happening is a cost. What’s the benefit? It’s hard to quantify.”M

What can you do to protect yourself.
1. Regularly scan your credit report
2. Regularly view your bank statements
3. Be vigilant
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