Catching on to identity theft

Each year businesses pay about $74 billion to handle identity theft and data loss crises – and that’s just in the US. The figure is more than $200 billion worldwide.

Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in North America,” says Frank Abagnale, an expert on identity theft and fraud and the subject of Steven Spielberg’s movie “Catch Me if You Can.”

Add to that the alarming fact that 70% of Canadians have had some personal data stolen, and Abagnale believes we have an epidemic on our hands.


For its part, the Canadian government is trying to stem the tide. In October, Bill S-4, which targets early stages of identity theft crimes, became law.

For entrepreneurs whose personal identities often overlap with their business’s, the risks can be even more disturbing and devastating. Having company data fall into the wrong hands can’t just lead to financial losses, but to lost time repairing the damage.

Be smart. Be prepared.

The key, of course, is a little common sense. And a lot of homework.

More than ever, security threats exist in the most unexpected places, creating opportunities for identities to be stolen from carelessly discarded mail and unauthorized access to computers.

What can you do to protect yourself and your business?

1.    Protect your identity. Shredders are a smart way to eliminate documents or mail that have your name, personal or business information on it.

2.    Protect your PC. Security software like Norton 360 and Webroot Spy Sweeper can provide protection from viruses and spyware, fraudulent websites, phishing scams, hackers and more.

3.    Protect against cheque washing. That’s when criminals erase details from cheques to allow them to be rewritten. Special pens like the Uni-ball 207  lock down ink, helping what you write stay permanent.

4.    Protect your home or office. Fifty percent of identity thefts are committed by people you know. An electronic safe can keep your papers and other valuables off-limits.

Abagnale offers some more great suggestions here.

What are you doing to protect your identity and business data from being stolen?

By Adam

November 26, 2009