What you didn’t know could ruin your corporation…

At the start of 2014, the frequency of the crime of Identity Theft was such that we were all 3 times more likely to have our identities stolen than we were to have a medical emergency. Now those statistics are pretty horrifying, especially when you consider the fact that we have seen matters become significantly worse since the first quarter of this year. We now are sitting at a place where we are at a staggering 90 times more likely to have our identities stolen, than to end up in the emergency room. It amazes me that every American does not already have some measure of protection from this catastrophic crime already, yet fewer than 10% of Americans have any level of protection at all. With my firm’s expertise, we also know that only a fragment of those actually have a program in place that will give them true peace of mind in the long run. I will not go into analyzing and dissecting the various types of Identity Theft protections here, but would be more than happy to elaborate further during our scheduled meetings.

(It is important to know the differences, and marketing campaigns are great at making a product sound as though it is the best thing since sliced bread.)

Now even according to the Federal Trade Commission, this is the 14th year in a row that Identity Theft is the number one complaint in this country, and in light of what has transpired this year alone, it is no wonder why. We have now each seen quite a few corporations previously considered by many to be too large to become a viable target, hitting the headlines. The first of these which really caught everyone’s attention was Target, making big news in March of this year. This data breach led to some 110 Million individuals having their identities stolen, so for those that like numbers and statistics, here you go; That is one third of the US population. One in three of us. Granted, not all of these victims have seen evidence of this just yet, but that also does not mean that they will not. Unfortunately with what I know of this crime, I would feel comfortable going on record by saying that they most definitely will. It is important to note that there are many faces to the crime of Identity Theft, and financially related or Credit ID theft as we call it, is only one type and a mere 17% of the instances reported today. There are another 83% of cases which plague us in the other common forms of Identity Theft.

Matters would be bad enough if it stopped with 110 Million victims, but that is not the case.

We then learned that 4.5 Million records were stolen through a hospital network of 206 facilities, Community Health Systems, where the thieves have accessed Social Security Numbers, Addresses, Birthdays, and Telephone Numbers, which I know is all too easily converted into new lines of credit, unauthorized financial transactions, medical treatments with possible changes to your medical file, employment for undocumented aliens in our country (which have been crossing our borders in droves recently as well), not to mention a fresh start for criminals wanting a clean slate. This breach alone shows us instances where several of the other common types of Identity Theft come into play. I have merely named a few examples of how this information can be used by the criminals, and unfortunately there are many more that I have not listed here.

But as I said earlier, the bad news did not stop there…

I am sure that you have seen news reports and articles within the past month, referring to a recent data breach that was discovered involving roughly a dozen individuals that gained access to over 1.2 Billion unique email addresses and passwords. This particular event literally dwarfs in comparison all that I have mentioned thus far in this article. Now just to put into perspective what that means to all of us. Most all of our online accounts now days are accessed via email address and password. In the hands of an Identity Thief, the possibilities are almost endless in how this could be used, since every piece of our personal information is now stored digitally somewhere.

Web Bots have and will continue to be created to utilize this treasure trove of information that the criminals have in their possession. Recall the Home Depot incident that was brought to our attention just this week, which I might add has been forecasted to be even larger than the Target breach affecting 110 Million people. Because this occurred in Russia makes matters even worse for us, given there has not been a history of prosecution of this crime, and the criminals go unhindered to carry out their plans of using as well as reselling this information on the Identity Theft Market.

This breach single handedly brought the statistics to where we are 90 times more likely to be an Identity Theft victim, than an Emergency Room patient, and that figure is only as of now when I am writing this article – not taking into account how many times each piece of information gets resold over and over again. So, for those of you that like to gamble, I make this statement: “No one would take those odds in the casino”, yet you are taking them right now by not having your employees, your businesses, your families, etc., protected by putting into place programs that will have a guaranteed rate of success.

These recent events overseas in Eastern Europe, Russia, and China has led our agency in making the decision to further heighten our efforts assisting clients and their employees, so they can be even more diligent in dealing with Identity Theft related matters.

With this increased activity abroad (and here in our nation as well) occurring, our aim has been and continues to be, to provide our highly rated and still complimentary Risk Assessments to as many corporations and organizations as possible; This is the best way to determine whether current policies and protocols are as effective as they must be, in an age where fraud and the sale of personal information has reached an all-time high. Our expertise and services could not be more relevant than they are right now.

In light of this mission, and dare I say calling, we are excited to announce that our staff numbers are being increased to meet this demand, so that your appointments can be scheduled at the earliest convenience. That being said, please continue to read further to the reasons why we have taken these steps in anticipation of the numerous referrals and requests for our expertise.

My firm has protected tens of thousands of businesses and countless individuals from this problem, to date, by giving them the education and the resources necessary to have peace of mind in an age where that notion is becoming more fleeting by the second. Make the right call for your organization, and at least take a look with a qualified advisor at what your operating procedures and programs say about your preparedness. You just might be surprised what you find.

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