Monday, February 23, 2009

An Identity Theft Risk Management Program

In the last four posts I have described the fundamentals of a good identity theft program that takes into account the basic requirements for all parties. There are also additional compliance requirements placed on specific industries such as healthcare, banking and so forth. But it is very important to have all of the fundamentals in place so the program will be more effective. Let me introduce you to the Affirmative Defense Response System offered to businesses from Pre-Paid Legal Services Inc..

First, we covered The Victim and the effects different forms of identity theft might have. We talked about the laws enacted to protect individuals from having their information stolen from databases, company spreadsheets, or HR files and used by thieves.

In The Company I described briefly that entities that keep information for business purposes have a legal responsibility to try and safeguard it. We then outlined the basic procedures that any business can undertake as the foundation of an identity theft prevention program. It is important to remind the reader that without these basics all of the higher order compliance procedures are much less effective.

Documentation Without documentation the company cannot mitigate its exposure to liabilities such as litigation, fines, prosecution, and damaged public relations.

There are companies that provide services to assist with portions of these necessary steps. Some offer training programs, some identity theft products for the employee or client. Some companies provide a complete response package of notification to potential victims, and forensic services to the affected business. In other words there are a number of companies that offer a lot of services to the business. The ones I have looked at are very good at what they do. They are also specifically in the business of providing only these types of compliance services.

Here’s why Pre-Paid Legal Services is unique and very effective. We are the only company in the field that not only offers a highly effective identity theft product to protect from all forms of identity theft, not simply from financial crime, regardless of how and where the crime occurs. It is also the only product that provides complete restoration of the victims’ identity again regardless of the nature. Restoration means no matter what records are affected, Kroll Fraud Solutions has licensed forensic investigators on staff to fully manage all of the restoration processes on behalf of the victim. We also offer the largest and most mature network of major law firms in each state and four provinces of Canada that will represent the client for all forms of identity theft if needed, with 24/hour access to their firm in emergencies, from anywhere in North America. For the 62% of all identity theft victims who have warrants issued in their name that can be very reassuring. (Sorry for the stat). Moreover the entire family has the services of their law firm for all of their life’s legal events such as mortgage contract help, help with estate planning, tax law help, representation in civil court, criminal court, and traffic court, and many other areas of law that otherwise most everyone cannot afford to use an attorney for. You should know that between these two public companies we have amassed over 70 years of experience in our fields. Pre-Paid Legal is celebrating it's 37th year of business this year. We don't do anything else. Those are very briefly our products. No other company in the world offers comprehensive identity theft and comprehensive legal services together as a suite of coverage.

Now on to identity theft help for a business. You recall that the first essential step is to enact a company policy illustrating the company’s position and procedures to protect information. We provide that written policy to the business at no cost. This document is the product of our Advisory Council and is current with the laws including all of the 26 red flags specified in the latest FACTA legislation. The Advisory Council is comprised of three former states Attorneys General, and the General Counsel of one of the nation’s largest energy companies. Each company is encouraged to make whatever changes to customize the policy to the nature of their industry. Next is employee training on the new policy, and a general awareness discussion of identity theft as it affects millions of Americans every day. A key reason for hands on meetings is the interchange if ideas, and the problem solving unique to every business. Very important is documentation of those meetings too. We also provide that hands on training and proof of training documents at no cost. In fact we provide all of the documents the business will need including letters notifying contractors and service providers of the policy. Once those are sent we can then follow up with each contracting company regarding their policy.

We have taken into account the needs of
· The client company by providing an entire package of identity theft prevention services at no cost to the company. Remember Kaiser? As I said before if they had provided the level of awareness training to all staff they might have avoided the recent breach of employee data. That is a very real advantage, and at no cost.
· We have offered all of the employees services that will greatly reduce their family risk while providing much needed help for the family in a number of areas. These voluntary benefits are typically paid for by the individual employee on a month-to-month basis.
· This, by the way also has the effect of limiting the company liability if an internal breach were to occur, since a mitigating service has previously been offered.
· Companies such as financial advisors, accountancies, banks and other financial services can optionally make this available also to clients, which will provide an early warning and restoration of possible identity theft episodes from any source.

Have I left out anyone? I believe not. I can provide all of the above for your company at no direct cost to the business, and provide substantial benefits to the staff that they can use from day one to help with all of the families' identity theft and legal issues they might be facing.

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