Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve heard about the increase in identity theft. It seems like there’s a big news story every week about breaches, etc. Target, Yahoo, and Equifax exposed most of the country - now we're learning that 57 million Uber users and drivers had their personal info hacked LAST YEAR. In other words, no one is safe.
I could bore you with a million stats about the growth of this type of crime, but I won’t. It’s growing and it’s one of the most popular forms of consumer fraud. Why? Because it is the most profitable AND continuous technology advancements make it hard for perpetrators to be caught. Oh, that’s just great!
OK, now that we’re all properly terrified, let’s make sure we understand the difference between identity theft and credit card fraud…
Identity Theft vs. Credit Card Fraud
Most conversations I have with people about the importance of identity theft protection start with them saying “Oh, my credit card company does that for me.” It’s important to know the difference.
While credit card theft is a serious crime, it’s not true identity theft - which can have long term devastating effects on the victim. Credit card fraud is short term and relatively easy for companies and consumers to catch. True identity theft is when someone accesses your resources to get credit or other benefits in your name. An identity thief wants to assume your identity long-term, not just to use your credit card for a couple purchases. They are looking for ways to clone you and make money from your information for as long as they can!
Believe the hype
The bottom line is this: with all that’s going on, there’s a STRONG chance our personal information is already in someone else’s hands. The problem is we don’t know it. That’s what identity theft protection is for – to watch for the “bread crumbs” of future crime, stop it early and help us recover our identity if it happens.
Spending a few dollars now can save employees thousands of dollars and hours in the future. That sounds a lot like…insurance! At freshbenies, we’ve found that 1 in 4 employees will choose it when offered the option in their employee benefits plan. After the Equifax breach, we saw more employers wanting to offer this protection and many deciding to pay for it.
Here are 7 reasons employees love identity theft protection – said in their words. I'll let you draw your own conclusions about why employers would love providing this as a benefit...
1. It decreases stress
“When I hear the news about data breaches, I don't stress about whether or not my family's info was exposed. If it was, I'm confident my identity theft protection plan will see suspicious activity and take the lead to correct any potential fall-out. I know I've got experts ready to go to work for me.”
2. It makes families feel safe
“My plan gives me peace of mind knowing that my son is protected. I’ve heard so many stories of kids having their identity stolen and not even finding out about it until they are over 18 and trying to get their first car or apply for some type of credit. I feel confident that he is protected.”
3. It gives control
“I love the peace of mind it gives with alerts that someone ran my credit or that there was a transaction over my pre-set limits. I had this happen when I bought my last vehicle. I got the notification from my identity theft protection service while I was still sitting at the dealership. I knew that if someone was trying to access my credit, I would find out fast!”
4. It keeps the benefit top-of-mind
“I have my profile/accounts/cards set up, and I receive transaction alerts. I like hearing monthly that my information isn’t being used maliciously.”
5. It saves time
“When I went to buy a car, I could quickly see my credit score before I even walked into the dealership. I knew ahead of time the rate I should get (score ONE for this chick’s negotiating skills). When the news was flooded with the latest breach, my plan proactively sent a message letting me know they had already checked our account and were taking steps to ensure our information was secure.”
6. It’s all-encompassing
“I love having identity theft protection as a benefit because my personal info and credit cards are being monitored, I’m alerted immediately if there is fraudulent activity, and I don’t have to pull a credit report or follow up with my banks, etc. to monitor all of this on my own. It takes care of multiple issues that I don’t have time or energy to concentrate on.”
7. It’s good for everyone
With all the talk about multi-generational workforces, this is a benefit I’ve found that everyone appreciates equally, for different reasons.
We have benefits plans for a reason: to attract and retain employees, and to keep them healthy and safe. Identity theft protection is a benefit that can help in multiple ways toward that end.
P.S. If you’re not familiar with how identity theft can impact in real life, click here to read an article we wrote based on the movie, Identity Thief (starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy). In short: Funny movie. Scary crime.
Now it’s your turn! Have you had success with identity theft plans as part of an employee benefits program? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.