Surely you’ve seen the commercials about identity theft. I especially like the CapitolOne ads where the victims are basically the puppets speaking the perpetrators words. But this makes a humorous point about something that isn’t a laughing matter.

Recently, hackers got thousands of credit card numbers by hacking into the PlayStation system. In restitution, PlayStation had to pay for a year of identity theft insurance for each person whose information got stolen. At $150 per person, that racks up in a hurry.

Keeping customer’s information secure isn’t just the carrier’s job…it’s yours, too. If client information is taken from your computer, phone or emails, you could be held legally liable for any crimes committed with that information (depending on your states’ laws).

Are you doing enough?

While using a password-protected lockout screen on your computer that engages when you leave or startup your computer is a good first step, it’s not enough to adequately protect your desktop/laptop. If someone takes your computer, they can simply pop the hard drive out and connect it to another machine and by-pass that security. Then all of your sensitive data is theirs for the taking. Protect your computers and flash drives by using hard drive encryption software.

SmartPhones are also a serious security risk. For the most basic level of protection, make sure you use your phone’s password protection. There are also a few providers that offer encryption software for: hard drives, emails and even voice.

Email protection

Protecting emails is trickier. Using secured zip or pdf files should be common practice. But your subject lines and the text of your emails are susceptible. There are numerous vendors/solutions available to protect emails, each with their own pros and cons.

Here are some things to consider when evaluating email protection software:

  • Cost is always an issue, but you don’t always get what you pay for. There are often setup costs and per transmission charges. Make sure you get an accurate picture of the total costs involved.
  • Make sure that the carriers/agency’s you work with are able to use the method you’re pursuing. Call them to see if they have experience with it.
  • Using Certificates may be free but require the other end to download and share a certificate before decryption can happen.
  • Will the solution help you comply with SEC regulations?

As a matter of full disclosure, LBL uses PaperClip’s EM4. We chose this solution because it was created with input from insurance agents/carriers, adheres to legal and compliance standards and is commonly used throughout the industry.

Protect yourself by protecting your customer

Every person or company who has fallen victim to identity thieves thought it would never happen to them. Protect your data as if your life depends on it because, financially speaking, it might.


Additional resources

Encryption software resources:

Email encryption:

  • PaperClip – EM4
  • PostX
  • Sigiba
  • TLS
  • Tumbleweed