Identity theft is a type of fraud that could directly affect an individual. Identity theft could disrupt an individual’s finances, credit history, and reputation – and would take time, money, and patience to resolve it. It happens when someone steals an individual’s personal information and uses it without their permission.
It is true that identity theft typically affects individuals, but believing that businesses do not suffer any consequences or costs associated with it is simply wrong. Based on an aftermath Identity Theft survey, over half of victims of identity theft that resulted from tax fraud had to borrow money from family and friends, and nearly half were unable to meet their needs and went without. 32 percent of the respondents had to request some form of government assistance, and 13 percent had to obtain a payday loan.
In another survey by Ponemon, identity theft did not only affect individuals but also resulted negatively for employers. Ponemon studied the cost of phishing and the value of employee training revealed that victims of identity theft take an average of 175 hours of company time to address their theft cases. If divided by eight (daily working hours), 175 hours equal to 21 working days that were not actually working ways, meaning employees might be physically present at work but the distraction they experience will heavily impact their productivity resulting in presenteeism.
According to several studies, presenteeism could cost 10 times higher than absenteeism. In other words, presenteeism is more dangerous as it can not only decrease productivity but also motivation and morale within the workplace. To prevent presentism from identity theft occurring, employers should swiftly take action.
Identity theft takes different forms, including employment and tax-related fraud, bank fraud, credit fraud, phone or utilities fraud. Experts advised people to file taxes as soon as possible, keep informed about the latest fraudulent schemes, protect computers and mobile devices, avoid carrying around Social Security card, avoid providing personal information over the phone or via email, shred any tax-related documents that are no longer needed, and most basic one, protect and don’t keep passwords in one visible place. As best as possible, use a different and unique password for certain cards.
Employers, in this matter, could help by investing and deploying technology that can help stop the great majority of malicious emails and block malicious websites. Employers should also diligently educate employees to not click on any links or attachments in emails that seem suspicious.