For onsite managers who have their office space within their home (like you), protecting confidential information is an ongoing struggle. This holiday season, as family members join you at your home to celebrate, take some precautions to protect your residents’ personal and confidential information. While it’s unlikely that a loved one will attempt to steal a renter’s identity, it’s important all the same to uphold high security measures (especially when sticky-fingered children are running around). In order to protect your residents’ information, here are 3 things you shouldn’t have lying around.
- Any of your Applicants’ Credit Reports
Under the Code of Federal Regulations 682.3, “any person who maintains or otherwise possesses consumer information for a business purpose must properly dispose of such information by taking reasonable measures to protect against unauthorized access to or use of the information in connection with its disposal”. The Federal Trade Administration requires you to burn, pulverize, or shred paper reports and properly destroy electronic credit reports, after you’ve made your rental decision. This means using a cross-cut shredder is a must. Take advantage of our 5 Tips from the FTC on protecting personal information and preventing a data breach.
If you haven’t made your rental decision yet, then it’s imperative that you utilize a lockable filing cabinet in the meantime or, if you have digital credit reports, then you should take some time to make sure your computer’s security features are updated and your passwords are secure.
- For All Applications and Resident Files
While CIC partially masks the applicant’s social security number on the background report for your resident’s security, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be safeguarding your residents’ applications. You should store all applications in a safe lockable filing cabinet. For extra protection, if you have an at-home office, consider adding a door lock. Don’t forget to hide the spare keys to your filing cabinet or office in a safe place.
- Rent Checks and Contact Information
Overall, if you keep an organized and clean work space you should not only be able to keep all the rent checks you receive and your resident’s contact information out of plain sight, but you’ll be ready to tackle work after the holiday season. According to a 2013 survey, 55% of surveyed Americans stated that at-home disorganization was a source of their stress, so take some time to sort, organize, and properly destroy documents that are no longer needed. If you’re ambitious, take advantage of our email inbox organizational tips so you’ll be ready to handle whatever 2017 brings.
During the holidays, close off your office space to guests and family members and remove credit reports, applications, rent checks, and other personal information from plain sight. Utilize safe practices by taking advantage of lockable file cabinets, cross-cut shredders, and unique computer passwords. While you might feel that your residents’ information is safe amongst your loved ones, it just takes one bad milk spill from a running toddler to ruin a recent rent check or personal file. It’s better not to take chances.
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