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Data Breaches Put Consumers and Employees at Risk


Local BBB Arms Alaska for National Consumer Protection Week, March 7-13

Anchorage, Alaska – March 5, 2010 – Data breaches in businesses and agencies are making headlines. Breaches can affect businesses of all sizes, so during National Consumer Protection Week, March 7-13, Better Business Bureau is encouraging businesses to review or initiate data protection policies.

Data protection is an important issue, the statistics are clear:

  • 33 percent of small businesses lack even simple antivirus protection, according to Symantec Corporation in 2009.

  • 85 percent of data breaches occur at the small business level, according to Visa Inc. in September 2009.

  • 78 percent of consumers said they'd stop shopping at a store if they believed the store had experienced a card data compromise, according to Visa Inc.'s National Survey of Cardholders in February 2009.

“Many small business owners recognize the importance of data security but don’t realize how vulnerable they really are, feel intimidated by the issue or think that they lack the resources to implement a sound strategy," said Robert W.G. Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. "Now, we've made it simpler."

BBB's new program for businesses: Data Security—Made Simpler

Businesses can visit www.bbb.org/data-security for free, easy to understand information on protecting sensitive customer and business data. Launched in January 2010, this program shows businesses how to: Identify their data loss vulnerabilities; develop a data security policy; identify and deploy tools to protect sensitive data; communicate data protection policies to consumers; and steps to take if they believe data has been compromised.

If a data breach occurs:

Businesses should be prepared to address the threat of a data breach, visit the BBB Data Security--Made Simpler site and research state laws.

Consumers who discover their personal information was compromised by a business or employer data breach can: 1. Contact the business. Find out what information may have been compromised and if any protection measures have been set up for those affected by the breach. 2. Protect finances and credit. If the compromised data was related to finances contact relevant financial institutions. Get free credit reports annually through www.AnnualCreditReport.com, 1-877-322-8228.

Stay Informed: If compromised data leads to identity theft, click here. For identity theft prevention tips, click here and check out these FREE events:

Consumer Protection Workshop

Friday, March 12, 2010 from noon to 7 p.m.

Alaska Zoo's Gateway Hall, 4731 O'Malley Rd., Anchorage

Several agencies will present on consumer topics at an AARP organized event. BBB speaks on Smart Shopping, Scams and Identity Theft from 3-4 p.m.

National BBB Secure Your ID Day

Saturday, April 17, 2010 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Lyberger's Car and Truck Sales, 9530 Old Seward Highway, Anchorage

Attendees can bring 3 bags/boxes of paper to be shredded by Shred Alaska.

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About your BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington:
Your Better Business Bureau is a not-for-profit organization funded by Better Business Bureau Accredited Businesses. The BBB’s mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. For more information about the services and products provided by your BBB, call 206-431-2222 or 253-830-2924 in Washington, 503-212-3022 in Oregon, 907-562-0704 in Alaska, or visit our Web site at www.bbb.org.

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