Identity theft is on the rise in Canada. In fact, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre reported a 20% increase in identity theft victims between 2012 and 2014. Here are five tips for preventing identity theft.
1. Store Your Files Offsite
The lock on your office door may keep a thief from accessing confidential documents, but it won't stop a disgruntled or dishonest employee from stealing information. Fortunately, a secure offsite document storage solution helps prevent insider theft.
When your files are stored offsite in a commercial records centre, they are protected in a facility that offers a high level of security. Only pre-authorized and screened records management professionals are allowed access to the building. Instead of being assigned one big block of shelf space, your document boxes are separated and stored anonymously throughout the records centre, identified only by barcode. The privacy of your information is maintained with the following security systems:
- 24/7/365 internal and external surveillance
- Facility access-control technology
- Alarm systems with active monitoring
Barcode technology tracks the activity of your file inventory so you always know who accessed your information and when.
2. Go Paperless
The accessibility and portability of paper documents makes sensitive client and employee information especially vulnerable to compromise. Converting your most active documents to electronic files is an effective way to prevent identity theft. Electronic files can be securely stored within a document management application where access levels can be set to individual end users. Document retrieval and distribution can be monitored and controlled digitally. For a cost-effective and reliable document conversion, use a professional document scanning service.
3. Outsource Your Document Destruction
Expired documents are just as likely to be stolen as active files. An identity theft criminal doesn't care how new or old your documents are, as long as they have social security numbers, credit card numbers, and medical information. So it's critical to destroy your documents as soon as they expire.
Outsourced document destruction ensures prompt disposal of sensitive hardcopy information. Locked shred collection containers are delivered to your office, enabling quick and easy disposal of confidential paperwork. On a scheduled basis, your containers are collected and the contents are securely shredded onsite at your business or offsite at a shredding plant. A Certificate of Destruction is issued noting the date and time of destruction.
4. Protect and Manage Portable Storage Devices
Your business may also have sensitive, personal data stored on portable storage devices such as:
- CDs and DVDs
- Mobile phones
- Backup tapes and thumb drives
Never leave these items in open or unlocked areas such as your home, car or workplace. If stolen, the stored data can be used for identity theft. Digital media containing backup data should be stored offsite in a media vault and rotated regularly. Use a media rotation service to ensure your media is handled, stored and managed with a continuous chain of custody by trained and screened data protection professionals.
5. Create a Culture of Identity Theft Awareness
One of the most effective ways to prevent identity theft is by creating a culture of awareness in your business. Discuss the importance of handling confidential information securely with your staff. Teach them how to recognize threats that put personal data at risk. Schedule regular training sessions throughout the year to review privacy protection strategies and information security policies.
Your business has to take a proactive approach to preventing identity theft. Use these five tips to get the ball rolling in the right direction.
Docu-Dépôt provides records storage, paper shredding, document scanning and data protection services for businesses in Montréal and throughout Québec. For more information, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.
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