Stopping thieves start with you and starts with me. As a retailer, you are responsible for also protecting your clients and consumers. Learn how to stop one of the quickest growing crimes in America – identity theft.
According to a recent study complied by Javelin Strategy & Research, in the last two year alone, identity theft has struck almost 20 million people. Identity theft has also cost over $56 billion in the last year alone.
That averages out to $6,381 per person victimized by this crime. There is the chance you will be the victim of identity theft with a new victim being struck every 3.4 seconds. Just for the record, even drug trafficking is not as prolific.
According to the report released by the Justice Department, identity theft is now the number 1 crime in America.
There are ways to protect yourself as well as your consumer base. With cyber-Monday seeing a profit raise of 37%, it is vital that you protect yourself and offer your consumers the ability to stay protected as well.
1. Remind your consumers, if you have a web-based retail storefront, to update anti-virus software. Anti-virus software is an ideal way of insuring there are no viruses on the computer that will record your keystrokes and transmit your personal data to an identity thief.
2. Teach your consumer how to always look for a lock icon on the status bar of any given website where private and/or financial information is given. The lock icon shows that the site is transmitting secure data that cannot be easily translated by a hacker or identity thief.
3. If you send out newsletters or e-mails, keep a generic copy on your website as an image. This will allow your consumers to investigate the validity of the latest information you sent to your consumer base.
4. Never ask for private or personal information to be transmitted via an e-mail sent from your consumer’s computer to your database. In other words, you may have links to forms, but do not have those forms in the e-mail itself.
5. Encourage your consumer to make purchases only via secured web pages, or web pages with the lock icon in the browser status bar.
6. Have a telephone number available for purchases as well as your online ordering form. Let the consumer know “you” are there to protect his or her assets.
7. Strongly encourage and remind your consumers to investigate their credit card statements especially after the holidays. In fact, as a retailer, you should do the same thing. If something looks awry, take appropriate steps to insure you verify the information is correct.
8. If you are a victim of identity theft, or if you are a retailer who has a consumer that is the victim of identity theft, prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. Stopping identity theft will only succeed if each case is handled professionally.
As a retailer and as a consumer, you have the responsibility as well as the ability to lower the number of cases of identity theft. You also have the power to reduce the damage of identity fraud. Each step you take insured someone else is protected.
What are you doing to stop identity fraud for yourself as well as your consumer?
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