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How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Jeff Lanza, a former FBI agent, recently spoke in Omaha about cyber fraud and identity theft.  He gave a number of tips regarding protecting yourself and your business from falling prey to these types of white collar crime.  Below are the highlights of this informative session:

How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

  • Omaha has the 5th highest incidence of cyber fraud.
  • The goal of criminals is to get information and to use it for profit
  • Information that criminals seek: account numbers, credit card numbers, social security numbers, email passwords & medical information
  • People that steal information often do so to resell the information
  • Fraud is out of control today
  • Anyone can have their ID stolen, even Ben Bernanke has had his identity stolen
  • Don’t count on the government to solve this
  • Protect your mail, use gel pens, pay bills on line, shred your documents
  • Antivirus software should be used and keep always kept current
  • Most common passwords are kids names and numbers
  • Passwords should be 8 characters, one uppercase and one symbol
  • You should have 2 passwords: one for social sites and one for business accounts
  • Two types of companies: those that have been hacked and those that will be hacked
  • As a business do things to prevent this type of loss, don’t wait until the aftermath
  • Breaches are PR disasters and cost business in the future
  • Consider having one computer only to log into bank accounts
  • Criminals take the path least resistance, deterrence works
  • Have layers of security (something you have & something you know)
  • 30% of businesses do no data security or protection of sensitive information training
  • Laptops are full of information, Identity Finder is a program to find out what information is on a computer before you get rid of it
  • If you dispose of a computer with customer information on it you are liable
  • 9 million cell phones were lost last year, must have a password, understand the remote wipe feature
  • You should have an anonymous tip hotline in the workplace
  • Write fewer checks
  • Never enter login or password information by clicking on a link, go directly to the website
  • Have a clear separation of duties in the workplace, conduct surprise audits, review your checks on line
  • In hiring look for intelligence, integrity & energy
  • Get 2 letters of recommendation (business and personal) from any new hire
  • Why employees commit fraud: they self justify (don’t make enough, they aren’t covering my expenses), no humility (can do no wrong, can’t see right from wrong), people start out honest but then temptation sets in, then you cross the line and then there’s a dependency on it, eventually the discovery and cover up
  • Fraud triangle: need, rationalization and opportunity
  • Have a culture of high ethics and high integrity, read and sign a policy annually
  • Leadership should walk the walk, that sets the standard
  • The only way to protect yourself is prevention

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