People who have experienced identity theft report that being an identity theft victim is like having to work a second job. Victims spend a lot of time addressing the issues arising from their identity theft. If one or more of your employee’s experience identity theft, productivity at work can be impacted. The sooner employees find out about identity theft, the sooner they can take action to restore control over their identities. Early detection helps to minimize the damage. And Identity Recovery coverage can do a lot of the heavy lifting to help identity theft victims stay productive at work.
Steps Your Employees Can Take
Here are three steps your employees can take to catch identity theft early:
1. Stay Alert for Warning Signs
While none of the following is a sure sign of identity theft, each warrants further investigation.
- Missing Bills — One or more bills you normally receive every month fail to arrive as expected. This could just be a problem with the mail delivery, but it could also mean that someone has taken over the account and changed the billing address. Follow up with the creditor immediately.
- Unexpected Credit Cards — One or more credit cards mailed to you that you never ordered. This could be a mistake, but it could also mean that someone is applying for credit in your name. Contact the issuing company immediately.
- Loss of Credit — Being unexpectedly denied credit or offered unfavorable credit terms. There could be a legitimate reason, but this could also be a sign that your credit has been harmed by an identity thief. Ask why you are being denied or offered unfavorable terms.
- Unexpected Bills — Notices in the mail or phone calls asking you to pay for merchandise or services that you didn’t buy. It might be a mistake or it might be a scam, but it also might be a sign that someone is fraudulently using your credit.
If you see any of the warning signs listed above, a good next step is to order a credit report — as explained in the next step.
2. Order and Review Your Credit Report
2017 Identity Fraud Study
U.S. residents now have the right to three free credit reports per year, one from each of the major credit reporting agencies. If you rotate your requests between the three agencies, you can order a credit report every four months at no cost. If you have reason to suspect identity theft, you should request fraud security alerts from the three main credit repositories and order a credit report. You are entitled to a free credit report as a result of your fraud security alert.
While it is possible to contact the national credit repositories (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) directly, you may also order your free credit report through a website sponsored by the three national credit repositories, AnnualCreditReport.com (or call toll free 1-877-322-8228). If you have already received your free credit reports for that year, you may need to pay a fee through this service. You may be offered other reports and services for additional fees. Whether you do or do not want to purchase such additional reports or services is entirely up to you.
Check each report for accuracy and for indications of fraud. Here are some things to look for:
- Credit accounts that you did not open,
- applications for credit that you did not complete,
- credit inquiries that you did not make,
- charges you did not authorize, and
- delinquencies that you did not cause.
Check identifying information in your credit report to be sure it is accurate including your name, address, and Social Security number.
3. Sign Up for a Credit Monitoring Service
Various companies offer services that monitor your credit file and send you an e-mail if there is any activity you should be aware of. These services are not free. A typical cost is $10 per month. We don’t expect that everyone will want to purchase such a service. If you are concerned about identity theft, the cost may be worthwhile to you because these services provide a way to monitor your credit throughout the year.
Features and pricing vary considerably between service providers. Most providers offer a range of options. Many start with free offers, but will start charging you automatically beyond the free introductory period. Shop carefully. If you sign up, you will need to provide personal identification information so the service can verify your identity. You will also need to provide a valid credit card number. You should always be the one to initiate the call or e-mail transaction. Do not provide this information to someone who contacts you claiming to represent such a service.
The following providers are listed for your information. We do not recommend one provider or service over another.
Request Credit Monitoring: (800) 437-4619
Request Credit Monitoring: (888) 749-0731
Protect Your Business’s Productivity
To help protect your business’s productivity, we have partnered with Hartford Steam Boiler (HSB) to offer identity recovery coverage for employees. This coverage provides an identity recovery help line as well as case management services with case managers who can take action on a victim’s behalf, with permission, through limited power of attorney. With HSB identity recovery coverage for employees, business owners can help their employees recover from identity theft so they can keep their eye on the things that matter to them, including their job. HSB identity recovery coverage enriches a benefit program at the low cost of $15 per employee per year. Learn more and purchase identity recovery coverage for your employees today.
Contains copyright material with permission from The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company.