Every machine connected to your network has the most advanced anti-virus software on the market. You routinely train your employees on the dangers of identity theft and how to protect themselves from threats like phishing and malware. You may even provide members of your organization with complimentary credit monitoring services. There’s no way they’re going to fall victim to identity theft, right?
When you hear “identity theft,” you might envision a hacker in a dimly lit room trying to break into the records of a major credit bureau. As evidenced by the latest Equifax breach, where millions of Americans had their personal data stolen, this can and does occur. But, it’s far from the only way your employees can have their identity stolen. Something as simple as using a check can cost your employees thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours.
Yes, It’s That Easy
If you want to catch a con man, you have to think like a con man. So, there’s probably no better person to turn to than Frank Abagnale Jr. You might not know Frank by name, but you’re probably aware of the blockbuster movie that was written about his life, “Catch Me If You Can.” You know, the one where Leonardo DiCaprio jetted around the world, committing various types of fraud and even successfully pretended to be a doctor?
As a result of his well-publicized escapades, Mr. Abagnale spent five years in prison. Ever since then, however, Frank has been on the other side of the law – training FBI agents around the nation about fraud and assisting with bringing down cybercriminals and identity thieves around the world. One of his most noteworthy warnings as of late? Using checks can be a huge mistake.
When speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Abagnale breaks down exactly how risky it can be just to write a $9 check for some groceries:
“You have to hand the clerk the check with your name and address, phone number, your bank’s name and address, your account number at your bank, the routing number into your account. That’s your wiring instructions. Your signature that’s on the signature card at your bank. And then the clerk has written down your state driver’s license number on the front and your date of birth.”
In many instances, the check isn’t returned to you. Instead, it’s held at the store’s warehouse, where it MAY be destroyed six months to a year later. Anything can happen during that period.
Seeking Privacy in an Insecure World
The reality is that, despite the best of efforts by your organization, many of your employees will have their private data stolen while being an employee at your company. We don't have to look any further than this summer’s Equifax breach, where 143 million Americans had their personal data compromised. That’s nearly half of the U.S. population. And, with data breaches on the rise year after year, this disturbing trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
That's why it’s critical you relay the risks of identity theft to your employees and alert them to new scams as they appear. Your employees work hard for your company, shouldn’t you do everything in your power to protect their finances, security, and privacy?