We’ve all heard of identity theft but rarely connect the victim’s experience with the toll it can take on the workplace.

Identity theft has a big effect on employee productivity. Employees are not only impacted financially, but they also experience considerable distraction and emotional stress which leads to less time focused on work. It can take anywhere from 33 to more than 600 hours to restore an identity. And a lot of this must be done during business hours.

This means when a person has their identity stolen, there’s another innocent victim: the employer. For these reasons, it’s critical in today’s digitized world to protect the personal identities of employees through benefit programs, vigilance, training and continual education.

Identity theft is on the rise. Last year alone, $16 billion was stolen from more than 15 million U.S. consumers, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. One reason for the rise in identity theft is due to the fact that we are living in a society and business environment that is increasingly connected. Today, we have mobile devices, laptops and even smart home devices that contain a wealth of personal information. Additionally, the prevalence of mobile devices both in the workplace and in our personal live means personal data is everywhere.

The result? Now more than ever, there’s an increased likelihood of identity theft affecting an employee, and in turn, the employer. That’s why HR and benefits managers need to focus on protecting employees (and their firm) with a number of steps.

Explore paid or voluntary benefits. First, nothing can prevent identity theft; it’s about protection and continuous monitoring. Identity theft protection services can be added as a paid or voluntary benefit, in order to show that the company is proactively working to protect employees’ personal information both within and outside the four walls of the office.

Steven Bearak

STEVEN BEARAK

Steven Bearak is the CEO of IdentityForce, a provider of proactive identity, privacy, and credit protection.

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