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Identifying the Top Five Types of Identity Theft and How You Can Protect Employees

Identifying the Top Five Types of Identity Theft and How You Can Protect Employees
Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2022 by Aura
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How can you protect your employees from identity theft?

identity-theft

Employees use devices and apps to shop, bank, work, and even socialize online. While convenient, this connectivity makes personal information easily accessible and puts the things they care about most at risk. That’s why it’s more important than ever to offer protection for their finances, personal info, and mobile devices. 

The top five types of identity theft and how employees can spot them

Financial Fraud

Most identity theft schemes are driven by the motivation to commit financial fraud. Identity thieves will often start off by making very small charges to employees’ credit card accounts, but they could also commit more severe crimes such as hacking online banking accounts and initiating unauthorized withdrawals. Here are a few signs that an employee may have experienced financial fraud:

  • Unfamiliar charges on their bank statement
  • Unfamiliar credit card charges
  • New credit cards or loans in their name
  • Calls from debt collectors
  • Denied credit
  • Bounced checks
  • Drop in credit score

Health Identity Fraud

While not as well-known as financial identity theft, medical identity fraud is a growing problem that should be taken seriously. Medical identity fraud happens when a bad actor uses another person’s identity to get medical treatment, prescription drugs, or surgery. It can negatively impact an employee’s medical record, health insurance costs, and even their credit. As a victim of this type of fraud, an employee could experience: 

  • Health insurance benefits limit being maxed out
  • Unfamiliar medical bills
  • Inaccurate health conditions in their medical files

Government and Tax Related Identity Theft 

Did you know that government-related identity theft was the most common type of identity theft in the United States in 2020? Government and tax-related identity theft happens when someone steals personal information to commit tax fraud… or any type of crime. This type of fraud not only puts a strain on employees, but also on your company and government agencies. A few ways an employee can tell if they have been a victim of this type of fraud include:

  • Someone stole their income tax refund
  • There’s a warrant out for their arrest
  • Income is reported that’s not theirs

Household Identity Theft

Identity theft isn’t always online. You can also flag it at home. Household theft can happen by fraudsters stealing mail from a mailbox or rummaging through trash to take credit card bills, utility statements, bank statements, or other important documents that contain employees’ personal information. These criminals can also fill out change-of-address forms to have mail (or checks) sent to another address. Here’s how to recognize any signs that quite literally show up (or disappear) on an employee’s doorstep:

  • Mail or important packages are missing
  • Utilities are suddenly shut off
  • ID or driver’s license is lost or stolen
  • Unfamiliar bills or packages arrive at their home 

Internet Fraud

Today’s identity thieves are experts at launching cyber attacks. From massive data breaches to online tracking, it’s harder than ever to live a “private” online life. Plus, scammers have become more sophisticated in their tactics with spam emails, phishing texts, spoofed networks, and much more. Recognizing the warning signs while performing regular online activities is paramount to employees keeping their identity safe. An employee could be a victim of internet fraud if they notice any of the following:

  • An account looks different when they log in
  • Suspicious login attempts to their social media accounts
  • Authentication messages for accounts they don’t recognize
  • Unable to sign into an account
  • Email alerting them of a data breach

By offering a benefit that protects employees from digital crime, you are also protecting them from the impact that identity theft and financial fraud can have on their mental, financial, and consequently their physical well-being. To learn more about how identity theft protection can complement your overall benefits strategy, visit Aura’s employee benefits website.

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