THE MAGAZINE

Preventing Identity Theft in Your Business: How to Protect Your Business, Customers, and Employees

By Eugene F. Ferraro, CPP, PCI, CFE

*****Preventing Identity Theft in Your Business: How to Protect Your Business, Customers, and Employees. By Judith M. Collins, published by John Wiley & Sons, www.wiley.com (Web); 245 pages; $39.95.

Despite widespread attention, identity theft and identity crimes continue to flourish. Judith M. Collins, an expert in ID theft in the business world, asserts that it is both the employer’s responsibility and a good business practice to protect staff and client personal information. This book attempts to be a guide for helping managers and employers to protect these assets.

A large portion of the material here is basic and can be found in free online manuals. Collins does detail some methods that businesses can use to secure personal data, such as better socializing new employees to the company culture of honesty, and she elaborates on elements of identity crime that some similar books have ignored, such as the impact of identity crimes on victims. Still, the reader is left hungry for more fresh information and original ideas.

The first part of the book paints a fairly vivid picture of the current state of identity theft and discusses some of the legislation that either helps fight the problem or unintentionally facilitates it. One of the major aspects of the book is that it gives the reader the task of identifying areas in a business where identity information is managed, then selecting the proper personnel to be responsible for that data.

Collins’s most interesting thesis (though not a particularly new one) is that most identity theft is committed by dishonest employees. She then lays out step-by-step exercises that businesses can follow to build a workplace culture of honesty and integrity.

Although the author’s recommendations are logical and well presented, empirical data to prove the value of her system would have brought much-needed credibility to the text. Right now, that credibility rests on her assertions that she has worked for years on identity-crime investigations and with victims of identity theft, experience that many security professionals would consider hardly greater than their own.


Reviewers: Eugene F. Ferraro, CPP, PCI, CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner), is the president and CEO of Business Controls, Inc., in Littleton, Colorado. He is a member of ASIS International. Collin Baer is an investigations and research supervisor at the same firm.

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