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Should Businesses Give Identity Theft Protection to Employees?

Should Businesses Give Identity Theft Protection to Employees?

Many companies will offer identity fraud and theft protection services to customers who have had their data compromised in a breach, but relatively few provide it as a benefit to their employees—just 25 percent as of 2019. This approach ends up costing businesses in the long run, according to CyberScout founder and chairman Adam Levin.

“If you don’t subscribe to an identity theft resolution service or lack a plan of action before you suffer a personal compromise, you will need to spend more time and more money than you are probably prepared to spend,” said Levin. 

This often has a major impact on workplace productivity. Recent studies estimate that the average victim of identity theft spends 165 work hours trying to resolve the issue. That’s more than 20 work days, or $4,300 of lost productivity for a salaried worker making $50,000 per year. With 3.2 million cases of identity theft and fraud reported in 2019, that amounts to a massive loss of time and money for businesses.

Identity theft victims will typically use twice as much sick time and are absent five times more than average, and that’s not counting the potential loss of productivity if they happen to involve their co-workers.

“Everyone becomes a sleuth trying to help their friend out,” said Levin

There are a variety of identity theft and fraud resolution services companies can offer their employees to help prevent this level of disruption.

Credit monitoring can track activity on credit reports from credit bureaus such as Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This helps to identify new financial accounts opened, changes in credit limits and other potential indicators of identity theft, but is not a panacea.

“Credit monitoring only warns you about activity that shows up on your credit report. But many types of identity theft won’t appear. For example, credit monitoring won’t tell you if an identity thief withdraws money from your bank account, or uses your Social Security number to file a tax return and collect your refund,” according to the FTC’s consumer website.

Identity monitoring services regularly screen a wide array of reports to see new activity associated with personal data, including change of address requests, arrest record searches, new utility payments, and transacted information on the dark web.

Identity Recovery and Insurance services help mitigate the potential damage following the exposure or theft of an employee’s identity. These services will often provide reimbursement for expenses to repair credit history as well as lost wages, child care, and fees for re-applying to loans that have been declined. 

“Expert assistance is required when consumer or business accounts have been taken over, new accounts have been opened fraudulently for financial gain, or simply when someone has questions or needs to mitigate risk associated with identity theft,” said Matt Cullina, executive vice president of strategic partnerships at CyberScout. 

By Travis Taylor

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