Why It’s Your Employee’s Biggest Threat Online
What comes to mind when you picture identity theft? If you’re like most people, you probably envision an evil criminal lurking by the dumpster waiting for an unshredded credit card bill to come their way or perhaps an unscrupulous hacker trying to break into a server that’s brimming with sensitive customer information.
Surprisingly enough, identity theft as a result of employee information being stolen at the workplace is a much more likely cause. Studies indicate that in the United States, someone becomes a victim of identity theft every 14 seconds. Many of those affected are employees at some unsuspecting company. As it turns out, identity theft is a professional concern as a personal problem.
Here’s how identity theft can impact your employees and how you can avert the risks associated with it.
Identity Theft Can Eat Into Your Employee’s Time, Engagement, and Resources
When someone makes away with your identity, it’s up to you to get it back. From freezing your credit cards and bank accounts to reporting the fraud to the relevant authorities, there are a lot of time-consuming activities associated with recovering from the theft and preventing further damage. The same applies to your employees.
Beyond that, there’s also the possibility that the affected employee might have to deal with a huge emotional burden — especially if the malicious actors destroyed their credit card account(s) or emptied their bank accounts to the last dollar before they could take action. In addition, the affected workers might be using working hours to try and recover their stolen identities. According to one study, it takes upwards of 100 hours to correct identity theft; that’s a whopping 12 working days gone down the drain.
This on-the-job distraction and missed work will eventually lead to employee disengagement. As you probably know by now, a disengaged employee is far less likely to work hard, feel motivated or meet expectations for their role. That’s a huge blow to your organization’s bottom line and productivity.
Thankfully, this is a preventable situation, as long as you’re proactive and have the right tools and policies in place.
What You Can Do to Protect Employee Information From Identity Theft
Unquestionably, it’s your responsibility as an employer to protect employee information from theft. After all, you stand to suffer the biggest loss if one of your employees gets fleeced of their identity.
A good place to start is to invest in a robust solution that covers all imaginable angles of identity theft. Norton with LifeLock, for example, offers the best identity theft protection that spots early indicators of theft or exposure so you can take action before the situation becomes irreparable.
It’s also good practice to educate your workforce and establish a culture of security. When every single employee understands the repercussions of identity theft and the kind of behaviors that can raise their chances of becoming a victim, they’re less likely to expose themselves to malicious actors.
Other helpful ways to keep identity thieves at bay include (but are not limited to):
- Conduct criminal and background checks on all prospective employees
- Avoid hiring temporary employees who’ve not had background checks
- Use numbers other than Social Security numbers when identifying computers in their laptops, tablets, and computers
- Train staff with access information about keeping that information secure
It’s Time to Protect Your Team
Protecting your employ and democratizing security can put you a few solid steps ahead of hackers. Better yet, it can save your business from the monumental reputational damage and steep costs that often characterize identity theft cases. The best time to take proactive action was yesterday; the second-best time is today. Do your due diligence.
Mustafa Al Mahmud is the founder and owner of Gizmo Concept, a leading technology news and review site. With over 10 years of experience in the tech industry, Mustafa started Gizmo Concept in 2017 to provide honest, in-depth analysis and insights on the latest gadgets, apps, and tech trends.
A self-proclaimed “tech geek,” Mustafa first developed a passion for technology as a computer science student at the Hi-Tech Institute of Engineering & Technology. After graduation, he worked at several top tech firms leading product development teams and honing his skills as both an engineer and innovator. However, he always dreamed of having his own platform to share his perspectives on the tech world.
With the launch of Gizmo Concept, Mustafa has built an engaged community of tech enthusiasts who look to the site for trusted, informed takes on everything from smartphones to smart homes. Under his leadership, Gizmo Concept has become a top destination for tech reviews, news, and expert commentary.
Outside of running Gizmo Concept, Mustafa is an avid traveler who enjoys experiencing new cultures and tech scenes worldwide. He also serves as a tech advisor and angel investor for several startups. Mustafa holds a B.S. in Computer Science from HIET.