What Is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is a crime that often occurs when someone obtains your personal information without your knowledge and begins using it to either assume your identity (act as you by using your identity) or make purchases in your name. You are the one that has to prove who you are to authorities, which of course wastes a lot of your time and meanwhile it could be hurting your credit rating. Once you have had your identity stolen, it is difficult to prove it with by just making claims that you did not charge certain items to your credit cards or open new accounts. Moreover, identity theft laws vary greatly from country to country, so that in one country you may actually get more help then you might in another. International law is not uniform when it comes to identity theft, which is all the more reason to make sure you have the proper laptop security software to help protect yourself if you move from one country to another as a business traveler accompanied by your laptop computer.

Laptop Computers And Computer Identity Theft

Now that you understand identity theft perhaps you have questions regarding how to protect yourself. It is estimated as many as 10 million Americans are victims of identity theft annually. It is vital to understand the identity theft laws that are in place if you ever feel that you have been the victim. Millions of people annually use laptop computers everyday and some use them instead of a desktop, which means there is more identity theft potential with laptop computers than any other type of technology. Over 500,000 laptops are stolen in America every year which means that the confidential data on a laptop is more vulnerable to identity theft than a non portable computer. Having the correct laptop security can protect you and your clients' private information. Moreover, you should know the type of security practices the financial institutions that you deal with use in order to protect your identity. If you don't know you should ask when someone is inputting your data into a laptop computer.

Laptop Security Software Helps Prevent Computer Identity Theft

Since so many people own laptops today, it is vital to make sure you have the top of the line laptop security on your system because at the end of the day, you want to ensure you have the best protection possible. While identity theft laws are stricter than they used to be and many financial institutions have strict laws they must follow to keep your information secure, you still must do your part to make sure you are safe when using your computer. The first of what is likely to be one of many class action court cases has started to occur because it appears clients' data was not protected while on laptop computers.

What Are The Red Flag Rules?

The Red Flag Rules Legislation in the United States refers to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA) which is also known as The Red Flag Rules which requires "any person or business who arranges for the extension,
renewal, or continuation of credit" as a way to help financial institutions, keep the individual accounts safe by reporting suspicious activity on accounts. This covers many institutions of varying types. A Red Flag is a danger signal for organizations.

Not having laptop security software or file encryption is going to clearly be a red flag for most organizations or service providers.

Top Ten Reasons Why Businesses Need To Protect The Data Of Clients

1. FACTA Red Flag Rules in the United States will require most organizations covered by "any person or business who arranges for the extension, renewal, or continuation of credit" definition to comply with the Act to have an Identity Theft Prevention Program.

2. People are wary these days of entering personal information on their own computers even if they have laptop security, therefore, you need to win their trust by making sure you are keeping their information safe and can assure clients that you have an Identity Theft Prevention Program.

3. If someone's identity is stolen due to a business transaction with you, word may spread fast and may cripple your business, especially if you own an online business.

4. Clients who have their identity stolen are very likely to sue for damages if it can be shown that it was caused by your negligence by not having laptop computer software on your laptop.

5. Protecting clients' identity by having fair and reasonable security is not only required by law but is likely a Fiduciary Duty of many professional organizations and associations.

6. Sound risk management practices for a business requires that information needs to be stored properly or if not needed shredded so that the information does not fall into the wrong hands. When there is a breach, customers need to be contacted immediately to allow them to implement their own identity theft prevention plan and insurance activation.

7. Identity theft can have a cascading effect that may last for many years after the event as criminals can wait for years to make fraudulent use of the identity details that they have stolen.

8. In the past criminals who wanted to steal money from a bank could hold up the staff at a bank branch with a gun and steal cash, but now it is more likely that they will steal someone's identity and make fraudulent transactions.

9. When you draw up your Identity Theft Prevention Program to comply with existing legislation it is highly likely that it will not pass an audit without laptop security software and file encryption software.

10. Being prepared for identity theft personally not only applies to having your account access cards listed with a security firm which will likely include identity theft insurance, but checking if they offer laptop security software as an additional service. If they do than they have completed their Identity Theft Prevention Program.

What Is Duty Of Care Imposed By The FACTA Red Flag Rules Legislation

Specific financial institutions are expected to make sure their account holder's private information remains private. In the event that their may be a breach, the company must contact all account holders who may have been affected. For instance, if a laptop goes missing from the company premises during a conference that contained personal information of any of their customers, the business must report the theft and then let everyone that may have been affected know in writing. If the company fails to follow the proper protocol, they can be held liable and often will lose thousands of dollars in litigation.

The first of the class actions by clients in the case of the loss of personal information on a laptop has already started. You can read about it by following the link in the Resource Box below.

Author's Bio: 

Jack Taggerty is a freelance journalist who has spent over forty years working in banking, financial planning and accounting. He owns a number of websites and blogs and has published numerous articles. If you want to learn about the class action involving stolen laptops and how you can start to protect yourself and your business follow this link http://www.identity-theft-scout.com/laptop-security.html