While the problem of identity theft has been around for many years, only over the past decade or so has it become one of the top dangers faced by Americans today, with one in four already experiencing some form of cybercrime according to Gallup.

Offering protections against this threat is also relatively new, with little consensus over what is really covered by the term "identity theft protection," Many consumers end up making false assumptions about their coverage options because they aren't even sure which questions they should be asking.

In this article we'll dispel 8 myths your employees might assume about identity theft protection.

1. Your personal data can't be hacked or stolen

Companies spend billions of dollars each year on cybersecurity, a trend that continues to grow. Unfortunately, hackers receive plenty of backing and the funds to keep up with those advances, too. Despite cybersecurity efforts, they still get through from time to time. Identity theft protection is not going to change that, or stop you from being involved in a breach of 230 million consumers’ data at Equifax, for example.

What it can do is make your data more difficult to be hacked or stolen from certain accounts or platforms, And it can help your employees realize when their data is at risk so they can take steps to protect themselves.

2. All of your accounts are being monitored

Every privacy protection program is a little bit different. What it covers, where it scans, and how it accomplishes those tasks can vary greatly. But some people assume that when they have identity theft protection, it’s automatically watching all their accounts. The truth is that most protection programs will monitor credit-based accounts such as banking and credit cards, and a few will monitor some of the most popular social media platforms. But all those other accounts — shopping, news sites, membership portals, small social media platforms, etc. — are seldom monitored, if at all.

3. Just turn it on and you're protected

Identity theft protection is not a turnkey solution. You can’t just flip the switch on and be covered from identity theft threats. No privacy protection program is going to perform important tasks such as shutting down or blocking your accounts, changing your passwords, or initiating claims on its own. You have to do all that. So identity theft protection tries to do the next best thing: alert you when those activities might be warranted.

4. It's all just scanning software

When you hear this, you know the speaker either doesn’t understand the value of identity theft protection or has had a bad experience with the most limited forms of it. A good protection benefit offers much more than simple scanning software. The application and sophistication of AI in monitoring algorithms can provide huge differentiation. So, too, can the implementation of human elements such as PrivacyArmor's 24x7 advocates and dark web investigators.

5. All the money you lose to identity theft is covered

Coverage of lost funds is not automatically “built-in” to identity theft protection, it’s insurance. Some identity theft benefits may include insurance. Others don't. Those benefits which don't will usually point out that other insurance policies, such as homeowners, will cover you for identity theft. Which is true, but most standard identity theft riders include payout caps around $500. The average out-of-pocket costs? $1500 to $4000.

Even those privacy protection benefits which do offer insurance vary widely in what they cover and how much. Here are three types of coverage you need to know about and compare:

  • Coverage of the costs associated with recovery only

  • Coverage and advances for lost wages and time off

  • Coverage and advances for stolen funds and fraudulent tax returns

To make it even easier for victims to receive reimbursements, be sure there are no or few conditions attached (such as a requirement for financial monitoring to be active, or a mandate that fraud be reported just 30 days or less after it occurred).

6. Of course it scans the dark web

Think that just because the dark web is where identity thieves and hackers like to lurk, that all identity protection programs monitor it closely? Think again.

The dark web is so complex in its mismatched architecture that scanning programs can’t work properly there. Instead, companies like InfoArmor hire human investigators to lead their dark web searching. Specialized AI programs called bots can be developed to aid them in their hunt, but this effort cannot be conducted by software alone.

7. Breaches always lead to identity theft

If this were the case, over 80% of Americans would have fallen victim to identity theft and the world would be even more confusing than it is now.

Luckily, a breach is simply an unauthorized access to, or exposure of, a person’s private data. If a company accidentally dropped the security on a personnel database for thirty minutes and no one noticed or did anything with it, that would still be a breach. But when that breached data is criminally retrieved and either exploited or sold to thieves is when corporate breaches become harmful to consumers.

8. Identity theft is the result of massive corporate breaches

Large corporate breaches will, of course, provide the data source for some identity thieves. But they’re hardly the only source. Many identity thieves prefer to operate through individual access points such as videogame systems and social media. Others operate phishing schemes, hitting specific companies for as little as $7 in compensation — a huge temptation for disgruntled former employees.

And as much as we hear about shadowy hacker organizations and nation-backed digital crime syndicates, the truth of the matter is that 30% - 50% of all identity theft originates within the workplace, from your own coworkers.

Offer the best choices for your employees… learn the truth behind identity theft protection

When explaining the value of an identity theft benefit to your employees, it’s important to dispel any myths they might have associated with it. You don’t want them assuming their benefit does too much, or avoiding it because they think it does too little. In either case, both parties ultimately lose.

A winning solution is when employees understand exactly what their identity theft benefit provides... and can make an informed choice based on that knowledge.