Monthly Archives: February 2010

Remember when life was simple?

As kids, we rode our bikes past four neighborhoods to play with a friend after school and all we had to know was what time our moms wanted us home for dinner.  We left our cars unlocked and never thought about locking up each time we left it unless we were in a ‘bad’ neighborhood.  Besides, it was a lot of hassle to lean over or go around to each door of the car and push the buttons with no power door locks.

And our parents routinely left files in their ‘in-baskets’ and atop their desks that contained customers’ or clients’ personal information within it and never gave it a second thought.

How life has changed.  Not much is safe anymore — including our non-public information.  You would think that the Internet might be the first avenue for identity theft, but you would be wrong.  A full 85% of identity theft happens in the American workplace — right under our noses.  Disgruntled, laid-off employees  and customers sue employers for data breaches while it is said that the typical stolen driver’s licenses or social security card is sold on the streets to undocumented workers or criminals for around $150-$300 each.  If you are unlucky enough to have your child’s identity stolen, that little prize goes for a lot more — try $1500 – $3,000.  Why? Because no one bothers to check on their child’s credit profile until they are much older and because the life of a child’s social security number has a much longer shelf life.

Over the past few years, the government and banking institutions (who bear a huge brunt of the expense when credit and debit cards are stolen) have taken steps to require employers, merchants and all manner of individuals who handle non-public information to go through a mandatory identity theft safety training.  The Federal Trade Commission now has devised ‘Reg Flag Rules” for the most vulnerable of businesses, while requiring nearly ALL employers to offer this training in order to protect again both liability and data breaches that can occur within the workplace. Smaller business leave themselves even more vulnerable if they fail to place barriers to liability from costly lawsuits by initiating this training.

To learn more about the new FTC laws and how your small business or company can learn to comply by the June 2010 deadline, visit the FTC web site.

Please note:  If you are located in the western U.S. and wish to have no-direct-cost identity theft safety training take place in your workplace, please contact me at dena@communic8or.com. I am an Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist and professional compliance trainer for NPI Compliance Consultants.

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My take on Facebook

People seem to be all over the map when it comes to Facebook.  There are those who say they couldn’t possibly live their lives ‘out in the open’ on the Internet and think the whole thing rather silly, so they claim they will never join.  Others don’t understand (nor wish to understand) what social media is – especially leading-edge Baby Boomers who just got the hang of using email and learning how to Google.

Then there are those that belong to Facebook, post the briefest of profiles and accept friends here and there but never tap any status updates onto their ‘walls.’ Instead, they just enjoy reading about what everyone else is doing. Others use it purely for business posting links to their web sites, some are in it for pleasure only (I do hate the games and some of the sillier requests), and others do both.

I am in the final category—posting links to articles I write, but using Facebook more often than not just for the social fun of it.  I am also a hopeless romantic as well as a happily nostalgic fool, reflecting often on my life so far and trying to find connections that led me to where I am today.  By doing this, I am able to take stock in how people have come and gone throughout my existence, touching it in so many different ways. What Facebook has provided me, then, is a superhighway for my personal journey.

How far back have I gone? I have typed in names of people I have known since I was a toddler to rediscover childhood buddies, waxed nostalgic with ‘kids’ from high school, laughed with fellow button-fly bell-bottomed  college comrades, reminisced with co-workers from former employers, and even gone to a reunion of fellow SFO airport agents with whom I donned ‘hot pants’ uniforms!  Because of Facebook, there is now not one decade of my life that has not been filled in with updates — all for free.

Lately, I have been reuniting with many who, like me, felt it unfair that life took us all on such diverging paths that we might never see one another again.  For us, this experience has been life-affirming, bringing things full circle by permitting us to express those 20/20 ‘hindsight’ thoughts we had of one another now that we’re all grown up and see things in a different perspective than when we were young and on our own missions.  I have been able to apologize to someone I may have wronged, complimented someone else whose talents I never acknowledged, and even had a few paradigm shifts on the circumstances of misunderstandings from long ago.  I am a period-at-the-end-of-a-sentence kind of chick. People who know me understand my need for closure.

So say what you’d like about the social media and especially about Facebook.  As for me, I will remain loyal – until some corporate weenie somewhere figures out how to spoil it all for me.  And I will not disrespect a medium that has brought so much joy back into myself by allowing me to connect so many dots along the way.

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