FTC Offers Tutorial for Businesses on Protecting Personal Information

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Protecting the personal information of customers, clients, and employees is good business. The Federal Trade Commission has a new online tutorial to alert businesses and other organizations to practical and low- or no-cost ways to keep data secure.

The tutorial, “Protecting Personal Information: A Guide for Business,” at www.ftc.gov/infosecurity, takes a plain-language, interactive approach to the security of sensitive information. Although the specifics depend on the type of company and the kind of information it keeps, the basic principles are the same: any business or office that keeps personal information needs to take stock, scale down, lock it, pitch it, and plan ahead. The tutorial explains each of these principles, and includes checklists of steps to take to improve data security.

The tutorial supplements brochures, slide presentations, and articles on information security already on the Web site and available from the FTC for free. The agency is encouraging businesses and other organizations to share this important information with employees who handle personal information such as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, financial account numbers, and other sensitive personal information.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, click http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.shtm or call 1-877-382-4357. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,600 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. For free information on a variety of consumer topics, click http://ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm.

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