Protect Your Employees Against the Emotional Toll of Identity Theft 

When we consider the ramifications of identity theft, we might immediately think of the financial repercussions that come with being a victim of the crime. These include monetary losses, the inability to access bank accounts (which may lead to unpaid bills, resulting in fines), and a compromised credit rating — which may lead to problems acquiring a mortgage, renting an apartment, or establishing accounts with utility providers in the future. 

One lesser considered result — though often longer lasting —of identity theft at the individual level is its emotional toll. In fact, in a survey of identity theft victims by the Identity Theft Resource Center, they found that “one-fourth of the participants sought professional help to manage the emotional and physical symptoms they suffered as a result of this crime, while 13% said they would have sought assistance but were unable to afford it.”

Protecting both your business and your employees from a security breach is a savvy business move. Employees are the core of any company; keeping them safe and protected at work will boost morale and their trust in the organization while protecting them from the financial and emotional toll of identity theft. 

The scope of identity theft can be as simple as scammers raiding garbage cans for paperwork and as elaborate as tech-savvy criminals corrupting work computers. With this in mind, here are some ways to protect your team members.

Implement a Destruction Policy

Business papers, both virtual and physical, contain personal employee information. Employee contracts, tax papers, and payroll files all hold information that would leave an individual open to identity theft should it fall into the wrong hands. 

Your destruction policy should factor in secure document destruction. A professional team should shred physical papers and virtual documents should be deleted effectively. Failing to safely destroy these documents once their legal hold time has elapsed leaves team members open to risk.

Provide Employee Training

Cybercriminals can sometimes be ahead of the curve when sourcing personal information. Regular employee training can help. Show team members the importance of keeping their antivirus protection and software up-to-date, how to identify and thwart potential threats, and why they should not use external devices such as USBs on their work machinery. Training updates can be highly beneficial and empower team members to prevent workplace data breaches.

Protect Work Computers

Business computers hold a wealth of highly sensitive information. Protecting devices like laptops and desktops is crucial. Programs should have proper password protection, devices should have firewall protection and files — both those stored on the device and on cloud software — should be protected by data encryption.

These measures are essential for employees who work remotely.

Keep Physical Paperwork Secure

While most workspaces have moved to 100% digitized files, some may still opt for physical papers. Keeping these documents safe and secure is key. Invest in locked filing cabinets and provide employees with desks that have locked drawers. Enforce a protocol that requires team members to clear their desks and lock up papers at night. Once an employee has finished with a sensitive document or file, it should be disposed of in a secure bin for safe destruction.

Finally, implement internal data privacy measures by making sure employees can only access data that are necessary for them to fulfill their role successfully.

By implementing the steps mentioned in this article, you’re protecting your business and your team members from identity theft and the consequential after-effects on their finances and emotional well-being.

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