How to Avoid Identity Theft Where you Work
No one likes to think that they are working with a thief, much less one who may steal their personal and/or financial information and then uses it to wreak havoc in their lives. Identity theft is a criminal offense and, on average, it can take almost two hundred hours to get straightened out. But there are ways that you can help prevent identity theft in the workplace.
For one, you should never leave your computer open and unattended, where someone could easily access your data. Always make sure that your personal information is password protected and you should not do any personal or financial things at work, such as changing your login information, checking your account, paying bills online, etc. Consider just how simple it would be for a co-worker, even your boss, to sit at your work computer and see what you have been doing.
You should make sure that you are setting the screen saver to click you out after no more than five minutes of no activity. You should also make sure that you are password protecting any files or programs that have personal information. If you cannot password protect these files or programs, then save anything that has your personal information to a flash drive or disk and lock them up.
You should also encrypt your files if your workplace will allow it. If you cannot encrypt all files, then just do the ones that contain your personal information. You can find inexpensive software that is made especially for this type of data security. Be cautious about any co-worker who just seems to stay around your office or area just wanting to chat. They may be “shoulder surfing” to try and get your personal information or passwords to use later or to sell on the black market.
If your company has bought new equipment or is upgrading old systems, you need to be sure that your information is totally and permanently gone from the old hard drive. You cannot just delete the information and programs or re-format by using the general uninstall programs. These methods could leave personal information on the hard drive and later it could be recovered by anyone who could be an identity thief.