We live in an era of unprecedented expansion in the collection, dissemination and use of consumer data. As you probably know, most consumers are becoming more and more aware of identity theft.
Of course, you collect information that is important for you to use for your business, but your customer depends on you to keep this information secure.
For example, some of the most sensitive customer information you use is credit card information.
To maintain customer confidence, it’s important to tell your customers what information you are asking for and what it will be used for, including who else will see the information. Talk to your customers about what information you would like to maintain about the products they purchase. Of course, you’ll explain how this information helps you provide great customer service.
Here are 5 key principles to keep in mind:
1. Ask First. Involve your customers. It’s their choice as to whether you should keep their personally-identifiable information. Let your customers see exactly what information you have about them. Tell them the reasons why you would like to keep their information and use the information only for those purposes.
2. Scale Down. Collect only what you need for your business and keep it only for the time you need it.
3. Lock It. Protect the information you keep on your computer, network and PDAs and in your home office:
a.Remember the basics: firewalls, strong passwords, and antivirus software. Install and use a firewall program. Use strong passwords – using mixed upper and lowercase letters and numbers throughout. Lock your computer with a pass-work protected screen. Purchase anti-virus passwords, and never store sensitive information on a flash drive or other portable storage device.
b. Lock sensitive customer information in your home office.
4. Shred It. Properly dispose of what you no longer need.
5. Shield Yourself. Remove spyware/adware. Install software specifically designed for detecting spyware and adware.
© 2010. This brochure was developed for the Direct Selling Education Foundation by L. Golodner, Principle at Consumer Initiatives, and Catherine R. Landman, The Pampered Chef.
About Direct Selling Education Foundation (www.dsef.org)
The Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF), created in 1973 by visionary leaders of the Direct Selling Association, serves the public as the industry’s goodwill ambassador. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the international non-profit organization offers comprehensive programs that advance the direct selling industry’s support of consumer rights and protection, education about the industry, ethical leadership, and individual economic empowerment. Thousands of industry and community thought leaders from diverse backgrounds and organizations have come together at DSEF sponsored programs to learn, grow and create a vital and healthy business climate. Our services include conferences, training sessions, publications, university campus visits, teaching and instructional materials, networking opportunities, grants to organizations, consultative assistance and grants for research and case studies. For more information, visit www.dsef.org or watch this video.