Can you describe the most serious incident you or a client has had with data security?


Security considerations reach beyond just technology. A few years ago, someone from our building stole a signed check that was sitting on our bookkeeper's desk. They proceeded to have checks made at a national office supply retail outlet along with rubber stamps of the authorized signatures. They now had a complete check and signature package to draw on against our bank account. A few weeks later, three different branches of our bank called the same morning saying they had people standing at the teller window presenting checks drawn on our account. The checks were valid and had valid rubber stamped signatures which the bank did not question, However, all of the individuals presenting checks that morning were from out of state, or at least presented out-of-state driver licenses. This alerted the bank to call our office and inquire if the checks were valid, which also was the first time we discovered the original check was missing. Bryan Wilton



Partner Insights

IRS Laptop Lost

A laptop containing personal information on 291 Internal Revenue Service employees and job applicants was lost last month.

The IRS said that the employee checked the laptop as luggage while traveling on a commercial flight. The computer contained unencrypted names, birth dates Social Security numbers, and fingerprints of employees and applicants. Information involved about 100 employees. The rest were applicants.

Two episodes come to mind: 1) Security at a client site. A disgruntled employee who quit his job had access to payroll info that he shouldn't have. Right before he left, he emailed the salary info of his peers to a long list of people. 2) Security in a sense at my own office. I had a salesperson who spent most of his day surfing porn sites. At that time, I did NOT have tracking software in place (Now I do). This jerk had porn pop-ups infiltrating his laptop because he did this so much. He was doing a demo to a client and porn popped up on his screen-great presentation.

Pat Sigmon

LPS Consulting

Fanwood, N.J.

We did have a client that had issues with check fraud. One of their vendors was changing the amount on checks sent to them. Using a Positive Pay solution integrated with their Dynamics SL system, the bank was able to catch the fraud before clearing the checks. Our client was notified of the situation before any damage was done. Needless to say, the relationship with the vendor soured quickly.

Michael S. Silver



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The most serious incident we had with data security was when our Credit Card Merchant Number was stolen, and hundreds of personal credit cards all over the United States were being charged with the reference that the charge was from "Bennett/Porter & Associates." (The personal credit cards being charged were allegedly stolen from PayPal accounts.) The FBI, Oregon Department of Justice, Oregon Attorney General and our local police department were all involved in the investigation, and it was never determined how the merchant number was stolen, the money was diverted, and didn't go into our checking account when the personal credit cards were charged, when we advised individuals to dispute the charges, whether it was through our local bank, through the credit card processor, or if someone managed to get through our firewalls and into our local network. Although money was withdrawn from our account for the disputed charges before our bank stepped in and closed our account. The FBI was eventually able to trace the where the money was going when the cards were charged, but we never heard the final outcome of the case.

Sue Bennett

Bennett/Porter & Associates

Tigard, Ore.

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