Before the COVID-19 health crisis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that about a quarter of Americans worked from home at least some of the time. But now, with most people practicing some type of social distancing and many state and local governments telling residents to shelter in place, more people are working remotely than ever before.
Some employees view working from home as a perk. After all, there’s no commute, a relaxed dress code, and for those who prepared for the crisis by stocking the pantry, plenty of tasty snacks. Unfortunately, though, a remote workforce can also open the door to cybersecurity risks.
In mid-March, 2020, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued an alert about the risks of remote working. The FBI has also issued warnings about the rise in coronavirus-themed online schemes.
In this post, we’ll take a look at how cyberattacks can lead to a distracted workforce — plus tips for how you can leverage our identity-theft protection to minimize those effects.
Identity theft can be stressful — and distracting
According to a 2017 report from the U.S. Department of Justice, the average financial loss associated with identity theft is more than $1,000. When it comes to medical identity theft, the cost can be much higher — as much as $22,346. In addition, consider the valuable time spent resolving fraud: identity theft can take up to 200 hours or more to remedy.
It’s no wonder that employees struggling with identity theft feel a strain. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s Aftermath Report, a survey of identity theft victims found that:
- 64.3 percent reported feeling stressed
- 26.6 percent reported panic attacks
- 48.3 percent reported sleep disturbances
Identity theft can lead to dips in productivity
The process of remediating identity theft can have a direct impact on a person’s workday. During the recovery process, many phone calls may need to take place during business hours, for example. Sick time or personal leave might be taken that otherwise would not have been. And in some cases, overwhelmed employees may quit or be terminated due to missed time, in which case the company loses productivity through the rehiring and retraining process.
To put it simply, workers stressed by identity theft may be off their game.
Stress is one indicator of a “distracted” worker, or someone who may not bring their full attention and potential to the workplace. Studies have shown that even brief interruptions can impact productivity and lessen quality of work — so picture the effects of a much larger distraction, like a costly and time-consuming case of identity-theft remediation.
With InfoArmor, your employees can stay focused on what they do best
One of the best ways to prevent identity theft from distracting your workforce is by minimizing its threat to your employees. Here are three ways your HR department can help employees even before a fraud incident takes place:
- Stay aware of the latest identity theft scams and communicate them to your workforce. This is especially important now that cybersecurity threats have been elevated by the COVID-19 health crisis. For example, circulating examples of coronavirus-themed scams may help your workers avoid the phishing hook.
- Share password tips and other best practices for keeping private data safe. Again, training and awareness can provide some defense against identity theft. For example, sharing best practices for creating and storing passwords and encouraging key privacy measures, like two-factor authentication, can help keep employees’ accounts secure.
- Offer identity-theft protection as a benefit. PrivacyArmor safeguards your employees’ identities with key features like credit monitoring, social media monitoring, and dark-web monitoring. With help from bots and human operatives, we alert employees and their family members of account takeovers, fraudulent transactions, or stolen personally identifiable information (PII), sometimes before any damage is done.
If identity theft does occur, here are just a few ways we alleviate the stress — and distraction — that often comes with remediation:
- Our generous reimbursement policies reduce the financial impact for employees and their families, sometimes bringing out-of-pocket costs to zero. Our product even has contingencies for offering cash advances in cases where tax fraud is holding up a refund.
- We know your employees’ time is valuable. That’s why our Privacy Advocates are available around the clock, during the current health crisis and beyond. They’re trained to take care of as much of the paperwork and follow-up as possible so your company’s productivity suffers less.
In these challenging times, it may be more important than ever to support employees with identity theft protection. With PrivacyArmor, your workers can focus on staying healthy and productive while we safeguard their privacy and peace-of-mind.