Save hours, employee worry with identity-Theft protection — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

More than 10 million people a year fall victim to identity thieves—and some of them work for you. It could take up to 600 hours to undo the damage caused by identity theft. And those hours are usually workday hours.

The process involves phone calls to lawyers and creditors; visits to the Department of Motor Vehicles and the passport office; and faxes to credit bureaus and banks—all entities that are open from 8 am to 6 pm, like most organizations.

That’s why more organizations are beginning to offer identity-theft protections, ranging from monitoring services that keep tabs on the use of employee Social Security numbers to investigators who hunt down the thieves.

The most common are insurance policies that cover lost wages for days taken off to replace drivers’ licenses, appear in court and reimburse expenses, including legal fees. Services that do the work for the employee—to restore credit to its pre-theft status—are growing in popularity because they save the worker so much time and frustration

For about $156 a year per employee, Nashville-based FNB Merchants offers its employees a service called Edentity. It monitors public databases for the misuse of an employee’s personal information and restores an employee’s identity once it has been compromised.

“It’s a very inexpensive employee benefit,” says FNB President Bryan Ansley. “There is a true benefit to having identity monitoring and recovery, but the perceived benefit is huge.”

David Croom, chief technology officer for Total Payroll Management, an employee leasing firm, says his organization has signed up 60,000 client employees for the same services.

Aside from saving employees dollars and hours, he says, the service helps protect businesses from class-action lawsuits should the identity theft be an inside job.

Before signing up for identity-theft protection for your employees:

  • Select a monitoring program that keeps tabs on more than credit. More thorough companies monitor the use of Social Security numbers, motor vehicle records and accounts at hospitals and utilities, among other data.
  • Offer a fully managed recovery system that does the legwork and paperwork for your employees rather than just sending them forms to fill out and file.
  • Hold educational seminars to teach employees how to properly shred sensitive personal documents (cross-shred them) and how to monitor their own public data.
  • Decide whether your organization or your employees will pay for the service. Ansley recommends that employers pay for at least part of the benefit. “The perceived value and the mileage are huge,” he says.

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