Running a Shop Operations Estimating

Preventing Identity Theft

Order Reprints

A recent customer worried as I photographed his VIN and license plate. They weren’t related to the loss, but were required by the DRP. He was paranoid about whether that data was secure. It got me thinking: Is it?

Given the risk and hardship of identity theft, the concern expressed by your customer is valid and something that every repair facility should respect. We often get caught up in our work and potentially leave our customers vulnerable by, say, stepping out of the office momentarily and leaving their personal information in plain view. Here are some appropriate cautions:

ESTIMATING SYSTEMS

1. When you’re done with a customer file, digital or otherwise, file it properly in a secure location.
2. Shred paper copies of information that was obtained for claim processing or estimating.
3. Maintain a backup of all information, keeping one copy locked on the premises. I recommend a fireproof safe.

MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

1. For all information, make backups and keep a copy off the premises. Save files in a format that you could print in the future.
2. Know what access you have, or don’t have, to the information in your management system once your contract expires. Get those terms in writing. You may be surprised! Most management providers will allow access to the information only if they are still providing service to you.
3. If you are a paperless facility, save your documents in a PDF format and maintain them on an external hard drive. Be sure your drive has ample space, as PDF files tend to be larger than text files.


Ray Fisher is the president of ASA-Michigan. This article represents his opinion and does not reflect the views of ASA-Michigan.

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