Infographic: How Much Can Identity Theft Impact Your Life?

Data breach. Identity theft. System hacks. Those words are enough to start the heart racing if you’re a business owner or manager. You think, “How can this be? I do everything possible to protect my networks, computers and customer data.” Yes, and the criminals always seem to be one step ahead.

The reality is your own employees could be the “criminals.” Recent financial industry changes like EMV (chip cards), reduced card-cloning in retail stores and many restaurants. Some small businesses have extra time to comply due to the expense of implementing chip readers. If you have an online presence (and who doesn’t these days?), fraud can happen almost anywhere during a transaction.

The negative press to your business from a data breach is bad enough. Putting customers and yourself at risk for identity theft takes it to another level. Over $16 billion was stolen from consumers in 2016, roughly $1,300 per victim.

Even though the number of consumers hit with identity theft continues to increase, the amount per consumer is down thanks to an increase in digital expertise. Consumers are more vigilant about their online presence and card use.

Fraud prevention at the workplace, and protecting yourself from identity theft, doesn’t cost millions. Here are some low-cost steps you can take now.

  • Protect your credit cards and bank accounts by separating the personal from the business. This limits your exposure if someone steals the business account information.
  • Secure your technology infrastructure. Invest in anti-virus software, malware, spyware and a firewall. Regularly backup your data.
  • Keep the social media and web-surfing computer separate from the banking one.
  • Create a password policy that requires changes every 60-90 days.
  • Invest in security training for your employees so they recognize current threats.
  • Hire the right people–background checks are worth every penny.
  • Consider cyber liability insurance that covers the cost of fines, fees and customer notification if the worst should happen.

Businesses and consumers need to work together to safeguard nonpublic, personal information. All our identities and millions of dollars are at stake.

For identity theft facts and prevention tips, take a look at today’s data packed infographic, created by Megan Wells, Financial Data Journalist at InvestmentZen.

How Much can Identity Theft Affect Your Life?