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Many companies collect personal information from their customers, including names, addresses, and phone numbers; bank and credit card account numbers; income and credit histories; and Social Security numbers. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLB) Act requires companies defined under the law as “financial institutions” to ensure the security and confidentiality of this type of information. As part of its implementation of the GLB Act, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued the Safeguards Rule, which requires financial institutions under FTC jurisdiction to have measures in place to keep customer information secure.

The definition of “financial institution” includes many businesses that may not normally describe themselves that way. In fact, the Rule applies to all businesses, regardless of size, that are “significantly engaged” in providing financial products or services. This includes, for example, check-cashing businesses, payday lenders, mortgage brokers, nonbank lenders, personal property or real estate appraisers, professional tax preparers, and courier services. The Safeguards Rule also applies to companies like credit reporting agencies and ATM operators that receive information about the customers of other financial institutions. In addition to developing their own safeguards, companies covered by the Rule are responsible for taking steps to ensure that their affiliates and service providers safeguard customer information in their care.

So make sure that you have a plan in place that meets the definitions and requirement of the FTC to ensure your compliance.

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