A few simple steps can significantly reduce identity theft, data loss and
TORONTO, Feb. 13 /CNW/ - Cars without seat belts, lead paint, and bike
riding without a helmet have become obsolete over the past few decades, thanks
to education and behavioural changes. With each generation, new challenges
arise, and information security tops the list of modern-day threats. Luckily,
just as easy as taking a few seconds to put on a seat belt, changing paints or
wearing a helmet, a few simple steps can increase a business and individuals'
data and personal information security.
"Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in Canada. Couple that with
the fact that 70 per cent of the Canadian public has had some piece of
personal data stolen, we have an epidemic on our hands," said Frank W.
Abagnale, world-renowned expert on identity theft and fraud, and subject of
Steven Spielberg's movie "Catch Me if You Can." "What is amazing to me is how
many of the incidents of identity theft and data loss from individuals and
businesses can be avoided with simple common sense. When you look at the time
and financial costs incurred by ignoring these safeguarding behaviours, it is
The first step in prevention is understanding that everyday behaviours
have become the equivalent of driving without a seat belt on the data-theft
highway. The risk for identity theft and data loss can easily occur when...
- Personal information or financial documents are carelessly thrown
away - As recently as the 1990s, ripping junk mail, bank statements
and credit cards, then throwing them in the trash ensured a safe trip
to the dump. For business owners and individuals, having personal or
financial data fall into the wrong hands can lead to thousands of
dollars lost and days and weeks wasted trying to repair a good name
(whether a personal credit report or a businesses' community
standing). In fact, each year, businesses pay about $74 billion to
handle identity theft and data loss crises. Shredders can help
destroy documents containing vital information. Shredders can destroy
documents with vital information in only a few seconds, and the
selection of affordably priced shredders is abundant.
- Opening e-mails from strangers or clicking on links to unfamiliar
websites - Viruses are a major problem in the virtual world. They can
wipe out a hard drive or allow someone to take control of a computer
and access private files. Also, phishing scams, where the e-mailer
poses as someone from a financial institution to get account numbers
and passcodes, is growing in prevalence. Anti-virus software like
Norton Antivirus 2008 and the latest operating systems like Windows
Vista Ultimate help protect the security of an individual computer or
a company's computer system.
- Computer files are rarely or have never been backed up - Documents,
financial information, photos and music, anything kept on a computer
can be erased with a hard drive crash. With storage solutions such as
an external hard drive from Seagate or a secure USB flash drive from
Sandisk, it only takes a few moments to drag and drop important files
to a new location. This behaviour is imperative for business owners
who keep customer data and records on a computer. According to recent
surveys, 70 per cent of business people have experienced data loss
resulting in hours of loss and productivity and dollars spent trying
to recover the data.
- Guard your mail against theft - Whether someone is an individual or
business owner, mail should be picked up as soon as the mailman
delivers - or a thief just might do it for you. A full mailbox is a
target on private information. It takes only a few moments for a
criminal to open a mailbox and take out the outgoing mail to access
account numbers, routing numbers, signatures and any other
information found in a mailbox. To avoid this scam, take your
outgoing mail to a drop box, the nearest post office box or pay bills
- Personal information is left lying around - It just takes a moment to
organize and move a document into a safe. No one should have access
to important personal or business information, including friends,
coworkers and customers. A good safe will also protect an individual
or businesses' information in case of a fire, flood or other natural
- Forgetting to check credit history reports and scores -
Unfortunately, many people find out about identity theft after it is
too late, and during times when they need good credit the most such
as applying for a loan. Understanding and diligently watching credit
scores for unauthorized activity is one of the first lines of defence
against would-be ID thieves
"With data becoming much more vulnerable to savvy thieves, these easy and
quick behaviours will drastically reduce risks to business and individuals
alike," said Abagnale. "Today, more than ever, security threats exist in the
most unexpected places, creating opportunities for identities to be stolen,
important information to be lost from hard drives, and computers to become
susceptible to viruses and phishing scams."
"We know identity theft has become a growing concern," said Pete Gibel,
vice president, merchandising, STAPLES Business Depot. "STAPLES Business Depot
offers simple product solutions and services to help our customers protect
themselves and reduce their chances of victimization."
Although there are many considerations involved in decreasing personal
and small business security threats, the time and money spent recovering from
identity theft, data loss or computer crashes is even greater. Behaviours of
the past, including the use of lead paint and riding a bike without a helmet,
are now deemed unsafe and fortunately are no longer threats to adults or
children. Likewise, investing in services and products that increase security
will soon become common place and thieves will be stopped before they cause
About STAPLES Business Depot
Founded in Toronto in 1991, The Business Depot Ltd. is Canada's largest
supplier of office supplies, business machines, office furniture and business
services for the small business and home office customer. The company is an
everyday low price retailer. The chain operates stores in all provinces across
Canada under the banners STAPLES(R) Business Depot(TM) and BUREAU EN GROS(TM).
The company has over 13,500 employees serving customers through 300 office
superstores, catalogue, and e-commerce. STAPLES (R) Business Depot(TM)/BUREAU
EN GROS(TM) is committed to making shopping easy by offering customers three
ways to shop - online, by catalogue and in-store. More information is
available at www.staples.ca.
Staples, Inc. invented the office superstore concept in 1986 and today is
the world's largest office products company. With 74,000 talented associates,
the company is committed to making it easy to buy a wide range of office
products, including supplies, technology, furniture, and business services.
With 2006 sales of $18.2 billion, Staples serves consumers and businesses
ranging from home-based businesses to Fortune 500 companies in 22 countries
throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. Headquartered outside of
Boston, Staples operates more than 2,000 office superstores and also serves
its customers through mail order catalog, e-commerce and contract businesses.
More information is available at www.staples.com.
For further information:
For further information: Alessandra Saccal, Public Relations Manager,
(905) 737-1147, ext. 2363, firstname.lastname@example.org; Lesley Kisil
Ciciretto, Public Relations Specialist, (905) 737-1147, ext. 2424,