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Safeguarding Personal Information in a BDC
Protecting an individual’s personal information in a business development center (BDC) is paramount.
When an individual applies, they are expecting that their information will be held confidentially and that it is safe from identity theft threats. The two significant areas where the responsibility for sensitive material management falls in a BDC are in the office and over the phone. Any slack in either area will open up your BDC to so-called Red Flag violations of the legal requirements of the Federal Trade Commission.
BDCs, whether centrally located or in an offsite location, need to be safeguarded in order to protect the consumers that you are working with every day. With technology, especially as it advances, one quick shot of the screen, and someone can steal someone else’s identity. Situations like this can be easily avoided.
Some simple rules to follow in an office are:
- Lock your computer screens whenever you walk away from your desk.
- Frequently change your passwords, especially when you have a change in staff.
- Don’t allow camera phones in the BDC and face computer screens away from windows or areas where someone can easily see the information on the screen.
- Do not print applications and have them sitting around your office. If you need to print them use the “Lock it up or shred it” rule.
The phone is another area that can make you vulnerable to exposing information about a consumer to the wrong person. On the phone, it is quite easy to do because the only physical verification that you have that you are talking to the right person is the answers that they give.
Some simple rules to follow on the phone are:
- Do not disclose any specifics on the phone.
- Verify with a “what is your…” statement versus a “is your……” statement where you disclose the information and have them verify that it is correct.
- Do not give details about the specifics of the reason you are calling with anyone except the applicant. (This is especially true when you are calling a work number.)
- Do not run an individual’s credit without talking to them and gaining their permission for yourself.
Understanding the entire BDC environment allows you to give the consumers that you work with the confidence in your ability to safeguard their identity. In return, this allows them to have confidence in your store and team, knowing that they are going to the right place that can help.
Remember — I am always here for any questions you may have about BDCs or best practices for working the phones. You can reach me via the comments field below, or check out my contact page here.