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Identity theft training crucial for companies great and small

With all the news about fraud hitting big name companies, you might think that identity theft training is only for the corporate giants. Think again.

A study recently performed by a subcommittee in the U.S. House has revealed an alarming statistic: small businesses are a target for digital criminals just as celebrity brands like Twitter and Facebook attract fraudulent attention. But unlike those huge companies, smaller names usually have less to spend on security and are therefore more vulnerable to those kinds of attacks. According to a report mentioned in a statement by the subcommittee’s chairman Chris Collins, 60 percent of small businesses hit by online attacks end up closing within six months. 

Here are some more rather frightening tidbits, courtesy of the same source: 87 percent of smaller businesses don’t even have an official written security policy. And attacks on companies with fewer than 250 employees apparently make up 20 percent of the total number of instances of online infringement. It’s not just the total gross that draws the attention of data thugs, and just because you’re not raking in billions doesn’t mean you’ll go unnoticed.

This is pretty sobering news. Small and medium sized businesses have enough on their plates without having to worry about whether they’ll survive an instance of online identity theft. But identity theft training is an issue that everyone should take to heart. No organization is so small as to be invisible to hackers. Thinking that you are could be a fatal mistake for your company – and perhaps the last one you will make.

Implementing a comprehensive identity theft training program is a smart move for any business looking to stay afloat in the digital age, no matter their size.

John Sileo is an identity theft expert and CEO of The Sileo Group, which conducts identity theft training for hundreds of happy clients including the Department of Defense, Visa, Pfizer, and Homeland Security. See his recent media appearances on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper and Fox Business.

eBay online fraud leaves you saddled with debt, junk you didn’t order

Sending unwanted orders to the innocent is an old, online fraud scam that most of us are aware of. But there’s a difference between an unwanted $13 pizza and an unwanted $13,000 purchase.

Online fraud can hit you in some truly surprising ways. Take the alarming case of Ars Technica writer Ken Fisher, who does not live in the UK or own an eBay account, yet received a notice from eBay UK out of the blue, congratulating him for successfully bidding $13,000 for 500 LED lights. In an article describing his experience, Fisher expresses his concern that this could happen, and his further frustration that his attempts to get in touch with tech support proved fruitless. Fisher was unsure of the origin of the message and whether or not it meant he was having online privacy issues. In the end, he just ignored eBay.

Take it from an online identity expert: it’s all fun and games until you wind up with 80 pounds of electronics.

John Sileo is an online fraud expert and keynote speaker on privacy, identity and reputation protection. His clients included the Department of Defense, Pfizer, and Homeland Security. See his recent media appearances on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper and Fox Business.