Identity Theft Protection as an Employee Benefit
Benefits packages are a competitive advantage for employers and have typically included services to protect the physical health of employees. In recent years, employers have evolved their suite of benefits to include protection of the financial and mental health of employees as well.
Identity theft protection as an employee benefit is a natural addition to the wellness portion of a benefits package. With today's diverse, multi-generational workforce, employers are often looking for benefits that will address the varying needs of employees. Identity theft protection fits the bill.
When it comes to gauging the chance that one or more employees will be a victim of identity theft, it's not really a question of "if" but "when." Hackers and their "customers" aren't selective about whose information they steal, putting everyone at risk regardless of age, income, credit score or current financial state.
Identity theft protection as an employee benefit is a proactive approach to protecting employee's identities and can also be a valuable addition to a company's cyber security plan.
Employees are provided peace of mind that their identities are protected and the company's vulnerability is reduced when employees use company resources for their personal benefit, such as their email address and computer for banking or shopping. Similar to how health insurance won't prevent an employee from getting sick, an identity theft protection plan can't prevent identity theft from occurring.
What it can and should do is offer assurance that employee's personal information is continuously monitored for misuse, that the employee will be notified right away if suspicious activity is detected, and that if they are a victim of a identity theft they remain focused and productive in the workplace and that they receive full identity restoration services. It can take up to 6 months to resolve tax fraud.
Tax-related fraud is the most common form of identity theft
While everyone's information may look the same to a hacker, identity theft protection plans are not all created equal. When considering adding an identity theft plan to their employee benefits program, benefit professionals should carefully consider the following features:
- Continuous credit monitoring
- Clear signs of identity theft are unexpected changes to a credit report. Changes such as new credit, late payments, change of address or new employment could signal that an individual's personal information has been compromised. Even if the change is merely a reporting error, it needs to be addressed so as not to negatively impact the individual in the future.
- Non-credit monitoring
- As mentioned earlier, not all identity theft is credit-related. A thorough identity theft protection offering should include monitoring of online sites and marketplaces for an individual's bank, debit and credit card account information, passwords, driver's license number, medical identification numbers, and more.
In addition, a thorough service will monitor court records to see if a crime has been committed in the member's name, payday loan records to see if someone has used the member's personal information to obtain credit from a service that does not check credit reports, and social media profiles to see if a member is putting themselves at risk by posting personal information.
- Consultative support
- Identity theft protection as an employee benefit, is only as good as the ongoing support it provides. What happens if an employee receives an alert, or an offer that sounds too good to be true? What does it mean and who do they call? Employees should be able to reach out to an identity theft professional at any time who can tell them what an alert means and the next steps to resolve the matter.
It is important to ensure the identity theft protection provider selected has experienced licensed private investigators, who are fully able to assist the plan participants with a variety of identity theft matters. Including how to recognize a potential scam and avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.
- Full restoration
- Despite everyone's best efforts, the odds are great that one or more of a company's employees will become a victim of identity theft. This is when they really need a professional to take over and work their case.
Employees should have a designated licensed investigator assigned to their case; one who will conduct further investigation to make sure all identity theft issues are identified, and resolved until the victim's identity is restored to pre-theft status.
- Additional features to consider
- A complete identity theft protection plan will include enhanced features that offer employees even more convenience, education, and support. Some features to consider:
IDShield is the only identity theft protection plan that provides direct access to licensed private investigators. These investigators have credentials that matter including:
- 24/7 emergency support
- Identity threat and credit inquiry alerts
- Mobile app for quick convenient access
- Password manager
Benefits managers have many options and plans to consider. An identity theft protection plan is a fitting complement to any financial, health and wellness program.
- Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)
- Fair Credit Reporting Act Certified (FCRA)
- Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist (CITRMS)
- Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP)
They can protect employees from identity theft, reduce workplace distractions and lessen their anxiety over the well-being of themselves and their family in the event of a data breach or an identity theft incident.