Businesses can learn about new privacy laws at UHV conference

Bert Howard

Officials at any business, agency or entity should be asking the question “Are we compliant with the new privacy laws?”

If their answer is “What new privacy laws?” they should come to a free seminar at 2 p.m. May 7 at the University of Houston-Victoria.

The UHV Small Business Development Center will present “Meeting the Federal Trade Commission Guidelines: Reasonable Steps for Your Business” in Room 121 of the University West building, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St.

“Under the Red Flags Rule, part of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 2008, businesses and other entities that don’t receive payment at the time services are rendered need to have a written policy in place detailing reasonable steps they’ll take to protect personal information from being stolen for identity theft,” said Bert Howard, a certified identity theft risk management specialist who will speak at the event. “If you don’t, you could be fined by the Federal Trade Commission or even sued.”

Howard will walk business decision makers through simple steps they can take to protect the information of their customers and become compliant with federal law.

“The FTC will begin enforcement actions against businesses and other entities May 1, so if anyone doesn’t have a policy in place, they absolutely must do so as soon as possible,” said Howard, managing partner of Corpus Christi-based Business & Risk Consulting Group of America.

But that’s not the only topic Howard will discuss during the two-hour event.

“We’re also going to talk about the most common types of identity theft and how you can take steps to protect yourself and others,” Howard said.

Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the country, so all businesses need to be concerned with the issue, he said.

The conference is one of the ways the SBDC fulfills its mission.

“Helping local businesses thrive is as much a part of what we do as helping entrepreneurs start new businesses,” SBDC Director Joe Harper said.

The conference is just one of the numerous services, many of them free, that the SBDC offers to local businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs.

To register for the conference, or for more information about SBDC services, call 361-575-8944. Registration is preferred but not required.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Thomas Doyle 361-570-4342