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Sarah Wilper, your ARA regional director, discusses cyber vigilance

By Sarah Wilper, CERP

September 5, 2023

Sarah Wilper, CERP

Sarah Wilper, CERP

Happy September! We made it through another spring and summer, and I hope everyone has a busy fall to look forward to.

With the day-to-day bustle in our rental companies, one thing that can often be overlooked is cybersecurity. Many times we think, “Oh, I’ll get to that in the off season” or “That won’t happen to me.” The reality is we all face cybersecurity concerns. Cybersecurity encompasses everything from credit card fraud to personal information theft to how we protect our customers’ information.

As technology advances, we all need to be vigilant with the data we provide others with and the data we are tasked with handling. Over the last several years we have transitioned to an online portal for customer payments at our office. That way our team no longer takes credit cards over the phone. It reduces the risk of potential fraud or stolen information. The customer is responsible for their credit card information, and it removes us as the mediator. Our staff feels more confident in handling customer payments, and our customers like the ease and additional layer of security.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have also been a victim of fraud. As I was going through our mail last week, I got a notice of unemployment filing — for our very-much-employed VP of operations. Someone had stolen his personal information and attempted to collect unemployment payments. This kind of fraud truly is all around us.

Educating ourselves and our team is the first step in preventing cyber-related fraud. Utilizing the tools available as American Rental Association (ARA) members, including seminars, membership meetings and RentalU, are all great places to start. Cybersecurity is a constant issue that we all need to be vigilant in addressing.

Sarah Wilper, CERP, ARA Region One director
Taylor Rental Center
Manchester, Conn.