More often than not, when you picture an identity thief with unauthorized access to your personal information, you imagine a masked criminal sitting in a dark room with a dimly lit computer screen. While Hollywood and even the news illustrates a caricature of what an identity thief, this interpretation couldn’t be further from the truth.
Most identity thieves don’t give off an ominous and obvious glow indicating their intentions. This means that their place to strike tends to be in areas of vulnerability.
One place where people should feel safe but can manage a lot of personally-identifying information (whether it be their own or someone else’s) is in the workplace. From your first day at work, you must hand over your social security card, a form of identification, and any other background information that the employer requires.
On top of that, your information along with other employers, clients, partners, and so on are all stored within the organization’s database. Keeping the information restricted and secure is the job of the employer—a job that is mandated by certain governing bodies with serious implications if they neglect to do so.
6 Techniques to Protect Your Employees from Identity Theft
- Set up a company-wide mandate with clear instructions on how to handle sensitive information including a protocol for document destruction.
- Educated and train your employees on the dangers of identity theft and the ways in which information can be stolen. This can include methods such as social engineering, phishing, visual hacking, and even dumpster diving.
- Only allow access to sensitive data of customers or employees when it is crucial to their line of duties. Free reign on all company information is the easiest way for data leaks and misconduct to occur.
- Keep confidential documents that are not compulsory to day-to-day operations in locked storage rooms or in an offsite records storage facilities.
- Set up locked shredding bins around the office, giving employees a quick and convenient option to dispose of sensitive documents immediately rather than stockpiling them at their desk or workspace.
- Ensure that any digital files and databases are secure and encrypted.
Common Ways Your Information Can Be Stolen
Knowing how identity thieves operate can help in recognizing a situation and fending the offenders away. Some of the more common tactics of identity thieves and hackers are outlined below.
One of the oldest and most common ways of gaining confidential information is through social engineering. While this may not seem like the traditional way of hacking using a computer or any other technology, social engineering is a subtle way for a criminal to find out personal information by acting as an authority or other trusted figure, lowering the victim’s inhibitions, and deceive them into revealing bits of data that they can later compile together and use for identity theft.
Often times, social engineers will call their prey on the phone and acting as security personnel at an established company, such as a bank. Then, they will inquire about the victim’s passwords or other personal information that can help them to access their accounts.
Have you ever come across an email indicating a change in password with a link to verify or ignore the requests? Maybe you received this email even though you had not requested any of the changes indicated.
This is a common form of phishing: attempts by hackers to get you to divulge passwords or other personal information usually using a fake form, email, or web page.
One of the lowest levels of hacking is visual hacking. Here, the hacker will obtain the information they need simply from data that is left out in public view. In the workplace, this will include computer screens with programs running that contain confidential information or papers left sprawled on desks and work stations.
The message here is clear: clean up your work stations and don’t leave any information out in plain sight!
No area is out of bounds for the dedicated identity thief, and this includes trash cans and dumpsters. If your company disposes of sensitive data in the trash without a proper destruction process set in place, you are opening yourself up to dumpster divers who can retrieve these items, and legally too!
Shredding Services as a Tool for Workplace Protection
An easy way to ensure that any and all documents containing sensitive data isn’t leaked or stolen is to utilize a shredding service. Large corporations have been using a regularly-scheduled shredding service for decades and smaller companies are following suit.
Shredding services can be done both on and offsite. With mobile shredding, a truck equipped with an industrial shredder performs all shredding when and where you need it. This is also a perfect solution to those needing to witness the document destruction in person. For offsite shredding, locked bins are stored at your location where employees can place papers that need to be destroyed. A truck comes to pick up your papers where they are taken to an offsite shredding facility.
Let Shred Nations Aid in the Fight Against Workplace Identity Theft
Shred Nations is the only marketplace for residences and businesses to connect with locally-based and operated shredding service professionals. Our nationwide network of shredders are experienced in handling any size shredding job on any schedule.
To get quotes completely free with no-obligation required, give us a call at (800) 747-3365 or fill out the form on the right.