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How to Help Protect Your Employees’ Identities During a Pandemic

How to Help Protect Your Employees’ Identities During a Pandemic
Posted on Thursday, August 20, 2020 by Businessolver Team

The last thing we all need is more to worry about, but identity theft is increasing at an alarming rate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unfortunately, there are some bad actors that have decided to take advantage of the release of government stimulus checks and the overall chaos of this health crisis to unleash new scams and steal identities, often targeting the most vulnerable.

Identity theft could cost more than just money in the bank.

Despite the new schemes identity thieves are using in this current crisis, identity fraud isn’t new, and it isn’t cheap. The results of the Javelin’s 2020 Identity Fraud Survey should serve as a wake-up call for businesses and financial institutions alike. For example, total identity fraud reached $16.9 billion (USD) in 2019, a 15% increase from 2018.

Identity theft costs an average of $1,343 for victims. While a portion of this loss may be recuperated through financial institutions, some may remain out-of-pocket. With the unemployment rate at the highest level since the Great Depression, a $1,343 loss could be enough to trigger a precarious financial situation for a victim.

And the financial cost is only part of the story.

Identity fraud has drastically evolved over the years and recent areas of concern range from fraudulent account openings to full account takeovers, including financial investment accounts. Account takeover rose by 72% in 2019, with criminals taking full control of the targeted account more than half the time. These types of fraud are extremely complex and call for the user to adopt certain levels of technology security that frankly, some are not willing (or able) to implement. For example, only 48% of Americans lock their mobile devices.

Technology adoption is complex.

The crux of the issue lies with technology adoption in a digital world. Consumers want the most seamless, omni-channel experience with everything from their banks to their benefits. Due to this multi-channel account access, these types of fraudulent account takeovers are some of the hardest to identify. Over 60% of identity fraud is first detected outside of the financial institution by consumers self-identifying fraud through various monitoring techniques — but these techniques are not as successful at identifying account takeover and new account fraud which are gaining traction in the criminal world.

That is why, to counter fraud and ensure data privacy for your employees, the conversation needs to change from identifying theft after it’s happened to monitoring a wider range of information before it is stolen.

Here are a few other tips to share with your employees to help keep their identity and accounts safe:

  1. Be cautious of emails offering unsolicited COVID-19 updates or “cures.”
  2. Before donating to a relief fund, search the organization online and conduct diligent research. This can help.
  3. Learn how to recognize and avoid phishing scams. Don’t trust emails with blurry images, frequent typos of urgent requests.
  4. Lock your phone and set up two-step authentication on your accounts.
  5. Never use static passwords with any account.

Identity theft is a devastating and destructive occurrence for victims. This is especially true during a pandemic, when criminals are taking advantage of your employees’ increased vulnerability. A few key protocols and precautions can help your employees protect themselves and have peace of mind.

To learn more about identity theft benefits, visit Allstate Identity Protection’s website.

Danielle Engelking brings with her nearly 25 years of experience in various positions in the voluntary benefits and financials industries. She has held positions in sales, operations and customer care. Danielle started her carrier at Allstate Identity Protection leading the implementation team which she helped architect from the ground up. She currently is responsible for the management of all Benefit Platforms integrated with Allstate Identity Protection and the optimization of the enrollment experience specific to Identity Protection. Since joining Allstate Identity Protection in 2015 her attention to detail and strong communication skills have led to over 1000 successful implementations and 100 successful platform integrations. Danielle is a native to Arizona and a wife and a mother of two boys.

Allstate is a Businessolver Pinnacle Partner