Identity theft protection is fast becoming one of the most sought after employee benefits. According to a Willis Tower Watson survey, by 2020, the majority of businesses will offer their employees an identity theft protection benefit. The steadily rising number of data breaches will further serve to fuel this trend.
Identity Theft Is on the Rise
Increasingly, Americans are finding themselves the victims of identity theft. A 2018 online Harris Poll survey found that some 60 million Americans were victims of identity theft. Due to the many high profile breaches across various industries, most consumers are aware that their personal information is vulnerable to data breaches. Who didn’t hear about the Anthem breach which exposed the sensitive information of 78.8 million individuals, or the data breaches experienced by popular retailers such as Target, Home Depot TJX (i.e., TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Home Goods), which compromised the credit card information of their millions of customers?
In addition to these scenarios, social media use is becoming a growing risk factor for identity theft. Employees’ concern for their identity protection is not lost on employers who are now recognizing how identity theft protection benefits both their employees and their companies.
A Worried Employee Is Not Productive
A Society for Human Resource Management survey found that employees who are insecure or worried about their finances are likely to be absent and late to work more often. This, in turn, negatively affects their productivity and can have a ripple effect on their coworkers. To drive enrollment in their identity theft protection plans, many employers are offering an employer-paid benefit instead of making this a voluntary benefit.
Best Features in an Identity Theft Protection Benefit
The programs they are offering often have certain features such as:
- Identity management services that offer employees personalized attention from a fraud specialist on a 24/7 basis
- Credit and dark web monitoring that keeps employees informed if their information could have been compromised
- Access to a Knowledge Center, which provides information and FAQs to help individuals minimize their exposure to cyber risk, along with other educational and cost-effective technology solutions.
- Fraud alerts, assistance with filing police reports and fraud victim affidavits, credit grantor notifications, government agency and association notifications, creation of a comprehensive case file, and active post fraud follow-up, when an incident occurs.
- Fraud resolution services.
Cyber security experts believe that awareness is the key in helping stem the tide of identity theft. Through identity theft protection services, prevention is possible. When an incident does occur, the damage can be better contained. When you consider that the average time it takes to recover one’s identity, which is 165 hours, and the related average cost of over $4,000, the investment in identity theft protection would seem nominal.