ID Thefts Prevalent At Work

Workplace settings have become increasingly attractive for identity theft because criminals are aware of the personal data stored there, such as birth dates, Social Security numbers and bank-account numbers, among others.

The annual cost of such identify thefts to corporations and consumers is about $50 billion, and innovative criminals have developed techniques that exclude almost no one from the scourge of stolen information created by the prevalence of personal data.

But organizations are becoming more aware of the problem. Just a few years ago a stolen laptop was viewed as a loss of hardware, today, organizations and individuals are acutely more aware that the sensitive data a laptop contains is of different, greater value.

HR executives must stop thinking about data protection as solely an IT responsibility. Practitioners need to examine and reinforce physical security practices, both brick and virtual operations.

An organization must also be mindful of where sensitive data is stored and who has access to it. Encryption of data, limited access, privacy training and employee-background checks for workers with access to co-workers’ personal information is a necessary requirement.

Organizations should also be cognizant of devices that contain personal data, how the data is stored, and even how it’s discarded, Frank notes.

By employing data minimization across the organization by collecting only the information you need will help to reduce the risk of ID theft in the first instance. In addition, any collected data should be kept in as few places as is possible and only for as long as is necessary, and disposed of responsibly once it is of no use.

Educating employees on appropriate handling and protection of sensitive data is also important. It’s essential that policies, procedures and physical safeguards are in place, understood and enforced.

Some individual identity theft solutions offered by organizations as employee benefits are advantageous to employer and employee alike. The employee receives value through access to a solution that helps him recover from the damages of fraud, and the employer is less likely to see productivity slip due to presenteeism.

It’s estimated that the average identity theft victim spends 600 hours or more in the course of clearing records, restoring credit and reestablishing credibility. The associated paperwork, phone calls and police reports require an inordinate amount of time, and most of the issues must be addressed during regular business hours.

Taking a proactive approach with respect to the potential for identity theft makes the most sense. Pre-breach preparation as a facet of business continuity planning is key to maximizing risk management.

Regardless of whether identity theft occurs in the workplace or elsewhere, as individuals grow more expectant of real help as opposed to advice, employer-paid fraud solutions are sure to be recognized as a valuable recruiting and retention tool.

If you require further information on access control systems and software, please don’t hesitate to contact us, where a specialist will be onhand to answer your questions.

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