Your business could face big problems if one of your employees becomes a victim of identity theft. That’s an alarming fact considering the rapid growth of this costly white-collar crime.
How does identity theft among your employees affect your business? One of the provisions of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act is that an employer whose action (or lack of action) results in the theft of an employee’s information can be sued. As an employer, you should keep in mind that the workplace is the biggest source of identity theft.
Businesses should be concerned with more than just the lawsuits associated with employee identity theft. Reoccurring identity thefts lead to negative publicity — which can impact sales and significantly damage employee recruiting and retention efforts.
How can you protect your employees and your business? There are two things you should seriously consider: Offer identity theft coverage as an employee benefit, and tell your employees what they can do to reduce their chances of becoming a victim.
What does identity theft coverage give employees?
- Insurance coverage: To help them get back on their feet after they’ve been a victim.
- Credit monitoring: That alerts them when unusual credit changes take place.
- Computer protection: Such as anti-spyware and wireless security.
- Protection of personal information: Such as assistance with opting out of marketing databases, as well as tracking data in Social Security databases and financial databases.
What can you tell your employees about protecting themselves from identity theft? Start with the following checklist of do’s and don’ts.
IDENTITY THEFT PREVENTION DO’S
- Always shred sensitive information rather than just throwing it in the trash. (This is wise advice whether you’re at home or at work.) Things to shred include any confidential information, such as credit card pre-approvals, credit card receipts, bank statements, etc.
- Review your credit report regularly. Take the time to make sure it’s accurate. It’s also important to carefully check your bank statements every month.
- It may seem like a hassle, but it’s a smart idea to have your financial mail deposited in a post office box rather than in your home mailbox.
- Remove the mail from your mailbox as soon as possible to afford less opportunity for someone to steal it. Also, be sure to pinpoint when all your bills are supposed to arrive.
- As elementary as it may sound, it’s important to do whatever it takes to keep your personal identification numbers (PINs) secret.
IDENTITY THEFT PREVENTION DON’TS
- Obviously, you should never give personal information to anyone without a good reason for having it.
- Never carry your Social Security card or passport in your purse or wallet, and never keep them in their vehicle. Remember that thieves are very interested in your private information – just as they’re interested in your tangible valuables.
- Never put your address or driver’s license number on a credit card receipt.
- Never put your Social Security number or phone number on your personal checks.
- Never carry credit cards you don’t plan to use.
By helping employees keep their vital personal information from falling into the wrong hands, you’re doing your part to look after their financial health — and protect your business from a growing risk. Identity theft coverage as an employee benefit not only helps employees stay safer, it makes your business a more attractive place to work.