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March 10, 2016

Protecting Your Money and Identity in a Risky World

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Businesses and individuals now face a constantly evolving landscape of credit and identity threat risks. Unfortunately, hackers and identity thieves never sleep, so companies and the individuals that work for them are the best line of defense against the new mechanisms of fraud wielded by criminals all over the world. No matter how big or small your company is, cyber criminals see every business as a potential gold mine of personal and financial data.

Before assembling a robust security strategy, it’s critical to understand the different degrees of damage that can occur as a result of a breach, whether a stolen credit card or identity theft. Fortunately for consumers and businesses alike, the federal government has put into place regulations that protect credit card theft victims. For instance, if a credit card is stolen, the holder of that card is not responsible for charges over $50 (you aren’t responsible for any charges if you report the card stolen before it is used or if the account number itself is stolen and not the actual card.)

Identity theft, however, can be much more difficult to control before long-term damage is done. Identity thieves can use personal information to perform far-reaching unscrupulous activity, from stealing tax refunds to purchasing property illegally to opening new lines of credit – all without the victim’s knowledge. According to Chase.com, businesses are vulnerable to identity thieves acting as company representatives to defraud customers, creditors, suppliers and others, with the potential damage ranging from drained bank accounts to unauthorized purchases. And just like these activities can have a damaging effect on personal finances, they can also wreak havoc on a business’ reputation if its ability to protect its own sensitive information and that of its clients and vendors is called into question.

While this may be the world we now find ourselves in, it’s not difficult to achieve a basic level of vigilance. Most major banks offer credit report services which allow cardholders to determine if any erroneous charges have appeared on their accounts, while credit monitoring services provide a 24/7 watchdog that can alert card holders the instant it is detected that a card may be being used illegally. Ultimately, most experts agree that the best protection is to stay vigilant and monitor bank accounts daily and use authentication controls wherever possible, along with training employees on avoiding scams.

Companies like USI understand the need to ensure credit information and jobsite performance data is secure while also keeping data accessible to the people that need it most in order to spot a billing error or other discrepancy that could cause big trouble later on. Solutions including Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate and Sage 100 Contractor both incorporate features that help track and securely store credit card information, making it easier to record credit histories and also to automatically process payments.

Overall, the world isn’t making it any easier to stay safe, which is why careful and frequent monitoring is essential, along with utilizing software solutions that provide secure protection of vital financial data without being invasive. For more information on how United Solutions can make this happen for you, click here.


 

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