Preventing identity theft

Preventing identity theft

Pryor Area Chamber of Commerce featured identify theft risk management specialist Dr. Ron Kite at the forum luncheon Wednesday.

Kite, a native Virginian who lives in Tulsa, is one of three Group Security Specialists in Oklahoma. He focused on what employers can do to protect their business, clients and employees.

Identity (ID) theft occurs every four seconds. Ten million people claimed ID theft in 2003. According to, 218,604,356 security breaches of sensitive personal material occurred between Feb. 15, 2005, and Feb. 15, 2008.

Kite said five types of ID theft are common. Twenty-eight percent of ID theft cases are financial. The other types are identification, social security, medical, and character/criminal.

“ID theft is getting to be a headache,” said Kite.

Fifty percent of ID thefts occur in the workplace. Employers can be held liable. They can be fined up to $92,000 per victim when employees or customers lose information under the wrong circumstances.

Once security has been breached, 20 percent of affected customers will no longer do business with the company. Forty percent of customers will consider ending the relationship, and five percent will hire lawyers.

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, passed in 2003, added Red Flag rules effective in January. Accounts, creditors and businesses must be in compliance by November. The Red Flag rules help protect personal information.

“Most of it is common sense,” said Kite.

The companies must develop a written privacy and security program, which should be performed by an employee in senior management. The program helps people be aware of “red flags” in ID thieves.

“Staff must be trained,” said Kite. “You can no longer shun this off to someone else and say Joe’s doing that for me.”

Companies should create a culture of security by practicing regular schedules of employee training. The training should include temporary help as well as seasoned employees. Further, employees should sign an agreement to follow the company standards for security and confidentiality.

Kite advised layered

protection. Businesses can implement ID theft

programs and training. Reasonable steps will lower the risk and minimize exposure to ID theft.

Kite strives to educate business owners of the dangers and liabilities in ID theft. He said his job is to tell people how and why steps must be taken against ID theft.

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