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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