By Steve Schwimmer
Renaissance Merchant Services
We all make small errors in judgment that have the potential to cost us big time _ simple lapses that allow personal data to fall into the wrong hands. And most people don't realize it until it is too late.
Those looking to gain unauthorized access to information have become very inventive. Thwarting their efforts requires following our industry's best practices and vigilant opposition. This includes taking simple precautions to bolster protection.
One insidious, clever way thieves steal information takes place as the days get shorter. Many people working at computers with the lights on and their window shades open are unaware that fraudsters could be monitoring them through the windows. Those who sit with their backs and screens facing the window are easy targets. Long-range viewing and recording devices can record every keystroke and screen.
From attending numerous industry events and speaking with colleagues, I have found many payment professionals agree the general masses don't "get it" when it comes to being vigilant with personal information. It behooves us to consistently educate our customers.
Here are some reminders to pass along:
Always stay updated with the latest antivirus protections for your computer systems, consistently upgrade your systems, and do not open attachments or disks unless you know, and trust, who sent them.
Educate yourself on the ever changing requirements for handling and storing personal data. Educate customers on changes that pertain to their businesses, and help them understand and spot problems. Being knowledgeable about compliance issues and regulations will go a long way toward protecting you and your clientele.
Steve Schwimmer is President of the National Association of Payment Professionals. He has been serving the payment processing industry since 1991 and is the Long Island Director of Sales for Renaissance Merchant Services. Call him at 516-746-6363 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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