Now, more than ever before, identity theft is a concern in our daily life.
With the internet provided “ease of access” to our personal and financial information also comes the need for rock-solid security measures to keep that information from falling into the hands of the wrong people. In response to that need for security, and acting on behalf of those most vulnerable, 45 States have enacted “Breach of Privacy Laws” that require the protection of an individual’s confidential personal information (1). This includes information sent through email.
Information you receive from a financial institution, CPA firm, Attorney or any other service provider with access to or possession of your confidential financial and identification information should be protected. Sure, it is fine to send simple messages or general information in an unsecure manner. But any electronic correspondence with information such as your date of birth, social security number, banking information or the like, should be protected through some level of encryption.
Whether buying a new home, opening a new bank account, or having your annual Income Tax Returns prepared, thanks to the ever-increasing paperless nature of business, sensitive data must be shared. Minimize the risk of identity theft. Be sure you are always conscious of what you share on the internet. This does not just apply to Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites. It also applies to typical private email. Most private email travels over the Net in a minimally secure format.
J.R. Helms & Associates, P.C. shares this concern and strives to maintain the highest levels of security when it comes to our client’s personal and financial information. We comply with Breach of Privacy Laws by sending all email attachments that are of a sensitive nature as secure encrypted files. These are password protected using 128bit encryption. The process is seamlessly integrated into our regular email system and requires very little action on the part of our clients. Each client is asked to register a password into the system. That password is not accessible to our staff, but will be used by our encryption system as the password required when opening and viewing attachments to our outgoing emails.
Security goes both ways. That is why we also have a link on our corporate web site that will allow clients to submit files (Qbooks data, Tax documents, etc.) to our staff through a secure encrypted avenue as well. This will not only allow clients to send us information with piece of mind, but also send that information regardless of the file size involved (No more email file size limits).
(1) According to information obtained from AICPA.com, as of August 2010, only Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota and New Mexico had not yet enacted such regulations).