The difference between a victim of identity theft who does have coverage and a victim who doesn't is monumental, and the costs (time, money, health) affect not only the victim but also his productivity in the workplace. It is vital that an employer understands the necessity of an identity theft protection plan, and which types of services and features should be included, so employees have access to the resources they need for timely and sufficient assistance.
How does identity theft affect the victim?
Identity theft affects more and more people every minute; in fact, every two seconds someone becomes a victim. The financial consequences of this growing threat can't be ignored:
- Over the last couple years, roughly $45 billion has been lost because of identity theft.
- Fraud ends up costing companies three times as much as what was initially stolen.
Thieves not only steal people's information and money but their time, as well. Close to a third of identity theft victims spend a month or more trying to resolve the issues, and a lengthy recovery process takes a toll on victims’ health:
- More than one-third (36%) of victims said the identity theft caused them moderate to severe emotional distress.
- 47% of victims who spent six-plus months fixing the issue(s) felt severe emotional distress, vs. the 4% of victims who resolved issues within 24 hours.
What does identity theft have to do with productivity?
Identity theft can distract victims and affect their levels of productivity at work.
- About one million employees miss work each day because of stress.
- One survey found that 60% of employees said they have lower productivity at work because of stress.
- Stress-related illnesses can cost businesses as much as $300 billion a year in lost productivity.
If identity theft causes such severe stress, and the recovery process takes months to complete, imagine how many workers are distracted or absent because they're dealing with fraud, and imagine what that's doing to their company's bottom line.
How can identity theft protection products help?
Catching identity theft before it gets out of hand, and getting quality support, can help cut costs. Say a thief steals someone's personal information and tries to reset her bank password. If the victim has a protection plan that includes high-risk transaction monitoring, that feature would catch the transaction as it is occurring and could prevent it from going through. If the victim doesn't have that kind of alert system, she may not even find out about the issue until the thief has already drained the account.
There are different kinds of monitoring available, and each type covers a different group of data points. The most common are credit monitoring (for credit-related activity) and identity monitoring (for personal information). Other features could include watching high-risk transactions, assistance with tax fraud and medical identity theft cases and data sweeps.
Assistance during the recovery process can also lessen distress and distraction. If victims have access to a Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist (or someone with comparable experience) who can give them an immediate action plan and actually take on some of the recovery tasks, victims can recover more quickly, which means decreased absenteeism and financial losses.
Over the past year, 70% of companies suffered from fraud. The threat is real, and the consequences are deep, but they can be subdued if employees have a coverage plan with support for victims and protection against future attacks.