Is an Insider Stealing Your Employees’ Private Identifying Information?

Tax Identity Theft is more profitable than drugs, with less risk.

Forbes: Refund Tax Fraud, iPhone, Feed Identity Theft By Employees

Former federal prosecutor Latour Lafferty, says “The old identity theft was `may we send you a fake email and find out if you’re dumb enough to give me a Social Security number’ or going through your trash. The new trend is for employees to steal names and numbers in bulk and then use TurboTax or other software to file large numbers of refund claims.”

The financial cost could be high for companies whose employees are victims.

Some estimates place the cost to a business losing private sensitive information at over $200 per item. Does not sound like much, but if you have 20 employees and someone steals their Social Security Numbers, the cost could be $4,000. Plus, lost productivity while each employee spends company time to fix the problem you caused. Are you going to say they cannot use company time? Are you going to pay their accounting and legal fees? Will you loan them money for the two years it may take before they get their refund? Plus, there could be lawsuits, government fines and your attorney fees.

Safeguarding Private Sensitive Information is good business.

Run back ground checks on employees with access to employment records. Limit access to employees with a business need. Control the number of keys and who has a key.

I-9s, Job Applications, Payroll records and other employee information need to be locked up. If the document is not being used, employees need to re-lock up the document. Documents with Non-Public Information should not be left on desks while an employee is away from their work area.

Have a ‘clean desk’ policy regarding documents with sensitive information. Require employees to put the documents away, lock the filing cabinets and office doors at the end of the day (and during lunch).

Your employees are assets. Don’t let a thief turn them into a liability.

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About Bruce Demarest

Bruce Demarest is a Identity Theft Protection Specialist. He has designed and taught classes to educate individuals and businesses in identity theft risk management. The individuals have learned how to continuously monitor their financial identities from credit fraud, plus how to monitor their personal identifying information for unauthorized use. His business clients have become compliant with the federal & state privacy laws. He has conducted information security audits to identify their potential problems and has designed security policies, programs, and practices to address those problem areas.
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