01 Apr A Look at Identity Theft Protection as an “Employee-Pleaser” of the Future
A Look at Identity Theft Protection as an “Employee-Pleaser” of the Future
As our society moves toward greater cyber dependence, the chance of having your identity stolen increases. Bill Shimp, a Partner at ClearPath Benefits, recently encountered what it means to have his identity stolen. In an attempt to keep his employees and his family safe from such theft, Bill asked to share his story and what he learned as a result.
“They believe it began with a social media account,” Bill explained. At the time, his social media password had been the same across the board – even for his bank account.
After they hacked his social media profile, the identity thief decided to try the password elsewhere. Sure enough, they got lucky, and Bill was left playing catch up. “I didn’t know until my bank called me, asking for me to confirm a $24,000 wire transfer I’d apparently requested earlier that day.”
“Fortunately, my bank manager knew who I was, thought the request was strange and decided to give me a call. Otherwise, they would’ve gotten away with it,” Bill said. The criminal had answered all of Bill’s security questions with ease, including his social security and driver license numbers. It was clear they had gotten lucky with a lot more than his social media password.
The realization of his identity being stolen was a lot to handle, considering he is a business owner and owns multiple banking accounts. “I had to cancel them all,” Bill explained, “and as soon as I did, it occurred to me just how reliant myself and everyone is on web-based banking. I never had a lot of cash in reserve, but I do now.”
Cleaning up the Mess
There are a number of measures to be taken once your identity is stolen. The process, as Bill described it, is nothing less than time-consuming. “I highly recommend taking a few days off work,” Bill insisted. The good news is once you report your identity theft to one credit reporting agency, they share the information with the other two. The bad news is that is only a minuscule portion of the process.
“You want to apply for the new driver’s license as soon as you can,” Bill said. It was possibly the step that gave him the most trouble. However, resetting all his passwords was just as laborious. “Now, I have gone through and changed all my passwords, making sure every password is different and unrelated from the next,” he explained. “I use a password-protected vault to keep track of them all. It’s an extensive measure to take, but it is necessary.”
Why is it necessary? Bill’s bank security informed him that he would have to forever live with his identity theft. Just because he changed his passwords doesn’t mean his identity won’t just be sold to the next bidder. Thieves will continue to try and hack his accounts, hoping that one day he will get lazy and they will get lucky.
After his misfortune, Bill wanted to do what he could to inform and educate his staff on the matter. Through ClearPath’s partnership with UBA Benefits, Bill is able to offer identity theft protection to his employees. “It’s actually an economical solution and benefit that many employers don’t think about adding to their benefits plan,” Bill said. “If you’re an employer looking for a new benefit to offer, then I suggest looking into adding identity theft protection.”
With the Identity Theft Resource Center seeing a 126 percent increase in the number of records that contained sensitive personally identifiable information being stolen – an identity theft protection benefit could be a great potential “employee-pleaser”. Plus, it helps establish a caring initiative within a workplace’s culture.
“Like many things, you don’t consider identity theft a real threat until it happens to you,” Bill said. “It is a complete disruption to your life. At one point, I even had to borrow 20 bucks from a client of mine for gas, because I was 45 minutes from home and had forgotten I’d canceled every card I owned.”
Every employer or employee – no matter who you are – should be cautious about their online activity and how they protect their data. “You should change your passwords for everything at least annually,” said Bill. “Had I not known my banker on such a personal level, I would have lost that $24,000.” Not everyone has that luxury and more often than not, they actually do lose the money.
Taking precautions toward identity theft is a necessary step in today’s world of cyber dependence. If you have questions regarding identity theft, or if you are an employer intrigued by the idea of offering identity theft protection as a benefit, you can reach Bill Shimp at 614.857.6444 or firstname.lastname@example.org.