New and Improved Ways Businesses Can Protect Their Customer's Identity

Protecting Customer's Digital Identity

We exist in the era of information. There has never been a time in history where there has been such an abundance of data at our fingertips. The information superhighway has led to many advancements in technology. Unfortunately for some consumers, these advancements have come at a hefty price.

Cybercrime and identity theft are at unprecedented levels. Every two seconds, someone’s identity is stolen. In the year 2017 alone, 6.67% of consumers had their personal information stolen. In the US, 33% of adults have been victimized by identity theft. In fact, one in five consumers has had their identities stolen more than once.

Businesses have the responsibility to keep the information of their patrons safe from cybercriminals. There have been measures taken by companies to protect the personal data of their customers, but with criminals becoming more technically savvy, the measures taken against them need to be state-of-the-art. Here, you will be shown the past and present measures taken by companies to protect the identities of their customers.


To offer you a better perspective of identity theft protection, we will take a look at the timeline of the evolution of identity theft protection.

Below you will find a brief overview of the history of identity theft protection:

  • 1899 – Equifax was formed
  • 1968 – TransUnion was formed
  • 1970 – Fair Credit Reporting Act was passed
  • 1990 – Fellowes paper shredder was introduced
  • 1996 – Experian was formed
  • 2003 – Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act was passed
  • 2009 – Credit CARD Act was passed

credit card identity protection

Laws and Regulations

While it is in a company’s best interest to guard customer data, it is also a matter of federal—and sometimes state—law. Revised in late 2012, the Federal Trade Commission regulations require certain business types to actively make efforts to identify, mitigate, and prevent identity theft. The Red Flags Rule and the Address Discrepancy Rule were created by the FTC to present the guidelines for businesses that collect personal data to abide by.

The Red Flag Rule

Companies identified as creditors under the federal code are required to follow the Red Flag Rule. According to this rule, these companies are to adopt and implement a written set of protocols with the following features listed below:

  • Identification:Programs must spot “red flags” that are consistent with identity theft when they occur. There are 26 different red flags identified by the FTC.
  • Detection:Upon the identification of any red flags that apply to your business, your program must have a method of detecting them.
  • Response: The program must also include responses to implement to foil the identity theft attempt.
  • Revision: Since threats against personal data are constantly advancing and changing, your program must constantly be revised to address the changes in identity theft methods.

Address Discrepancy Rule

The Address Discrepancy Rule coincides with the Red Flag Rule. Companies that routinely use consumer credit reports are required to have a program to respond to address discrepancies. These protocols can be integrated with the company’s red flag policies.

Digital Identity

Digital Identity

The days when shredding documents was the ultimate measure in identity protection are far behind us. Companies have to now protect the digital identity of their customers. The digital identity is the compilation of personal data about consumers in digital form.

There are two classifications of digital identities, and they are attributes and activities. Digital attributes entail personal information about a consumer, like a name, SSN, medical history, account information, login details, email addresses, biometric data, etc. Digital activities describe the digital actions taken by consumers like social media activity, purchase history, search engine queries, cell phone data, etc.

cyber criminals

Protective Measures

Businesses can protect their customer’s digital identity by incorporating cybersecurity measures. If your company maintains databases containing the personal data of your customers, you need to be up-to-date with the methods that will protect this information. We will highlight three of the best ways to deal with the growing threat of digital identity theft.

Layered Authentication

Adding multiple layers of authentication offers increased security of sensitive information. Authentication requires the customer to verify their identity before accessing their account on the company website or at a brick-and-mortar location. Layering authentication means to add more than one authentication requirement for each login attempt.

Digital Certifications

If you have a website for your business, you need to secure your website with a third-party validation. The Secure Sockets Layer or SSL certificate or another digital certificate authenticates a website. This added protection has become a requirement for websites that wish to be indexed by search engines.


Biometric data refers to unique identifiers that verify your identity. Biometric markers are scanned to compare to the scanned data with the results from the company database. If a match is found, then access is granted. Biometrics scanned include fingerprints, faces, palm veins, retinas, irises, and DNA.

There are even behavioral characteristics linked patterns that are considered behavioral biometrics. These biometric indicators include voice, typing rhythm, and gait.


If you are operating a company that gathers personal information from customers, you must have all of the security measures available in place to protect your patrons from cybercriminals. Customers are becoming increasingly demanding that businesses have safeguards in place to keep their information secure. Make sure your company is taking all of the precautions necessary to ensure the protection of your customers’ personal data.


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Gil Artmoore

Gil has spent the past decade working in various roles in IT departments for many businesses both small and large. Recently, Gil started writing out the things he has learned, experienced, and witnessed in the small business and tech world during his career. He is eager to share his insights with the rest of the world.

4 min read

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