How to Investigate Identity Theft When Your Properties are Targets
By Peter Goldmann President, FraudAware Hospitality | March 31, 2010
The news is full of reports about Americans falling victim to identity theft and fraud and about how difficult it is to recover from this devastating crime. For good reason: According to the Federal Trade Commission, approximately 270,000 complaints of identity theft are received each year-up dramatically from 215,000 as recently as 2003.
Less widely reported is the growing threat to corporations-especially ones processing large volumes of credit card charges-of identity theft and fraud.
The problem for hospitality companies, among others, is that thieves have found more and more ways to steal customer credit card and other personal information in order to create counterfeit credit cards in the victim's name.,..or to use the credit card information to fraudulently purchase goods over the Internet with the victim's identity.
In addition, restaurant and front desk point-of-sale locations are common "hang-outs" for dishonest employees armed with credit card "skimmers" that record guest credit card data for later use in identity fraud.
For hospitality companies seeking to protect themselves and their guests from the growing threat of identity theft and fraud, securing confidential employee and customer data is the obvious first step to mitigating risk.
This is often easier said than done. For that reason, says Judith Collins, PhD, former Director of the Michigan State University-Business Identity Theft Crime and Research Lab and author of the recently published book, Investigating Identity Theft: A Guide for Businesses, Law Enforcement and Victims, most hospitality organizations wisely retain the services of an experienced information security consultant to achieve this goal.
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