Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Identity Theft Protection as Employee Benefit

this is an audio post - click to play

"Here's another quick audio tip from Id Theft Secrets blog.

According to recent figures from other leading identity
theft experts, over 56 million Americans had their
personal information exposed in 2005 alone.

The FTC estimates that identity theft crimes totalled
$52 billion in fraud in 2004. That's almost $200 for
every man, woman, and child living within the United
States.

Further, based on FTC figures, identity theft has been
the fastest growing crime in America the past 3 years.

And, the average lost wages associated with
identity theft has grown to $16,000 according to the
ITRC.

Victims remain vulnerable for the rest of their lives.
The ITRC reports that identity thieves are likely to
use stolen data months or years later the initial theft.

A recent research study by Michigan State University
found the majority (51%) of of all identity thefts
occur in the workplace, usually perpetrated by people
hired to perform everyday tasks such as data entry work.

While many businesses fear for the security of their
customer database, payroll records are more often what's
stolen, and with increasing frequency. Approx. 90 percent
of business record thefts involve payroll or employment
records; only about 10 percent involve customer lists,
according to the FTC.

On June 1, 2005, a new provision of the Fair Access to
Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) took effect. It states
that any employer whose action or inaction results in
the loss of employee information can be fined by federal
and state government, and sued in civil court. An employee
is entitled to recover actual damages sustained if their
identity is stolen due to the employer's inaction, or
statutory damages up to $1,000. Employees may also bring
class-action suits against employers for actual and punitive
damages. Plus, federal fines of up to $2,500 per
employee, and state fines of up to $1,000 per employee also
may be levied.


One solution against potential fines and lawsuits to the
employer is to offer identity theft protection as an
employee benefit
. Companies can choose whether or not to
pay for this benefit. But, it's generally percieved as
inexpensive so we see identity theft protection services
becoming more readily available as no cost employee
benefits.

So, our tip for today is to check with your employer
benefit's cooordinator. See what new options have
been recently added to help protect you from identity
theft. Also, confirm what security safeguards the
the human resources department mandates for the
secure handling and access of your personal
information, particularly your sensitive identifiers
which an identity thief can use to quickly open up
new credit accounts in your name:

  • Social security number (SSN)
  • Date of birth (DOB)
  • Driver's license number (DMV)
  • Home/cell phone number
  • Home address

This has been another quick audio tip from
Id Theft Secrets blog.

For the full transcript of this podcast and more
helpful resources, please visit us on the web.

While there, you may also subscribe for free to
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you whenever we add new content."

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