A seldom mentioned but important side benefit of identity theft protection programs is their potential to help strengthen credit scores throughout your organization.
In this post, we’ll look at the many ways in which providing an identity protection benefit can positively impact your employees’ credit scores.
1. Monitoring credit reports
The first and most obvious impact is the scanning of actual credit reports whenever they’re released. What this does is identify errors as soon as they hit a credit report, allowing employees to initiate corrections. This is much preferable to the alternative, when unexpectedly low scores adversely affect people’s lives before they even realize there’s a problem.
2. Monitoring credit-based accounts
Scanning credit-based accounts such as banking, credit cards, and investments can identify problems early on. Issues like duplicate charges, overdrafts, and even fraud can be detected and reversed proactively. Taking care of these problems immediately through your bank is a lot easier and quicker than trying to fix credit rating issues after the fact.
3. Fixing issues quickly to avoid compounding problems
Unfortunately, one mistake or a fraudulent charge in your finances can snowball into a multitude of other problems. A single fraudulent charge can lead to a bounced check, which leads to a finance charge that shuts down your account, which makes you unable to pay your mortgage, and so on. Compounded problems are difficult to solve because they’re all so interconnected and many of the fees resulting from that snowball’s downhill roll are never reversed. So stopping those snowballs with identity theft protection warnings is the best way to keep them from appearing on credit reports down the road.
4. Dark web monitoring
Hackers and identity thieves might be interrelated, but often they represent two very different skill sets. Hackers attempt to break through digital security methods and steal data. Identity thieves take that data and find ways to exploit it. When hackers steal those huge blocks of data they don’t go through those records one-by-one looking to access someone’s bank account. Instead, they look to sell it on the dark web to thieves with the specialized knowledge and skills to make use of it. That’s why it’s so important that the identity theft protection you choose includes active dark web monitoring by real professionals. Knowing how to find those deals when your employees’ data is involved could be the most important feature your privacy protection program offers.
5. Monitoring social media accounts
Social media platforms are targets for both identity thieves and fraudsters. When social media accounts are hacked, there’s so much personal information attached that other organizations such as banks and employers could be at risk. Knowing when a social media account is targeted or hijacked allows employees to shut down their accounts, change passwords, and otherwise protect themselves. In many cases, alerted users can block these attempts before they have any financial or credit implications.
6. Monitoring tax records
A favorite trick of identity thieves is to file bogus tax returns, writing huge refund checks on their victims’ accounts. When this happens, employees who were legitimately expecting a refund will not receive those funds until their case has been completely resolved — which could take months and cause new financial hardships. Or the IRS could deny the refund and initiate an audit, leading to a whole host of new complications for the victim. On the other hand, with an identity theft protection benefit, alerted employees could contact the IRS as soon as a fraudulent return was filed... before the IRS could process it.
7. Insurance to cover financial burdens
When identity thefts occur despite all the warnings and precautions, a reliable insurance policy is often the employee’s only recourse. But what’s actually covered by the policies attached to identity theft benefits varies widely. You want your employees to feel safe with a policy that not only covers their stolen funds so they can continue their lives without huge setbacks, but also advances large payments such as tax refunds they might depend on while their cases are being processed.
8. Advocates who make sure the process is moving forward
Another important feature offered by some identity theft benefits is access to professional assistance. In some cases, this takes the form of free advice and help navigating through all the phases of recovering from a theft. The problem with this is that the burden of getting everything done remains on the victim. Unfamiliarity with the process, not knowing when and how often to follow up, not filling out forms properly, and simple procrastination can all lead to a recovery taking longer than necessary. A better solution is to provide advocates who will take charge and complete as much of the process as possible. This leads to a quicker and more efficient recovery process, minimizing the chances that a prolonged effort will negatively impact their credit rating.
All about preventing issues and fixing them…fast
As you can see, the biggest effect identity theft programs have on your employees’ credit scores is by identifying problems before they become problems. Taken care of in a timely fashion, these situations might never even touch their bank accounts, much less their credit scores.
When a theft does occur, however, correcting the impacted accounts quickly keeps them from compounding into greater problems. A good identity theft benefit can help those victims make the necessary corrections before they compound into bigger issues.
Identity theft protection is a benefit that American employees are asking for more often than ever. And it has the advantage of providing them with peace of mind — something we can all use more of.