Equifax once again finds itself in the news due to its widely-publicized 2017 data breach. And, once again, it’s because the breach has turned out to be worse than first reported. Here’s what you need to know about the latest revelations and the impact it could have on your employees.
More Equifax data breach developments
From May to July 2017, hackers pulled off one of the most successful data breaches in human history. Equifax, a major U.S. credit bureau, failed to protect the personal data of more than 145 million Americans. As a result, 56 percent of adults and around 80 percent of working Americans had their Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and more compromised.
Four months after the first attack, Equifax finally announced to the public what had happened, explaining that hackers also made off with some victims’ credit card information and driver’s license numbers. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the whole story.
According to a Wall Street Journal report on February 9, 2018, Equifax has revealed to the Senate Judiciary Committee that cybercriminals also accessed other sensitive data including tax identification numbers, email addresses, and additional driver license information not previously disclosed.
Be proactive when it comes to identity protection
With more than 1,600 data breaches occurring last year alone, one thing is abundantly clear: We are all at a greater risk of identity theft than ever before. As a result, we need to be proactive when it comes to protecting ourselves from identity thieves and cybercriminals. If you’re looking for ways to keep your employees (and yourself) safe, please consider the following precautions.
Remind employees to file their taxes ASAP
With tax season upon us, one of the most important actions your employee can take is to file their taxes as quickly as possible. Tax fraud is a billion-dollar business for identity thieves, and if a fraudster claims your employee’s refund before he or she does, it can create major problems that take months to fix.
Your employee should also familiarize themselves with the warning signs of tax fraud, which include:
The IRS reveals more than one tax return was filed using their Social Security number
They owe additional taxes, or have collection actions taken against them during a year when they did not file taxes
Official records from the IRS indicate they received wages (or other income) from an employer for whom they did not work
Offer Identity protection service to your employees
To minimize the risks associated with identity theft, your company should consider providing employees with a quality identity protection service. There are many of these products on the market, so you’ll need to do your research before selecting a plan that’s right for your company. For a list of features the identity protection service should include, you can check out our Employee Protection Solutions page.
Identity protection services can be a tremendous asset for both your employees and your company. If your employees have their identities stolen, a quality identity protection solution will provide 24/7 restoration support, as well as offer identity theft insurance. This can have a tremendous impact on your company’s bottom line — reducing distractions, improving productivity, and preventing employees from having to miss countless hours away from work.
What to do if an employee's identity is compromised
To learn more about the steps your employees should take if they believe they are victims of identity theft, check out our blog, Your Data Has Been Stolen, Now What? If your employee knows someone stole their identity, there are several courses of action they can follow.
If your employee is a PrivacyArmor member, they simply need to log into their portal. We’ll handle the rest from there. One of our dedicated Privacy Advocates will work with them through each stage of the progress.
If your employee isn’t a PrivacyArmor member, you can share with them our complimentary guide, “How to Recover From Identity Theft: Employee Edition.” It’s a step-by-step guide to help them fully recover their identity. Are you looking for partners in the fight against identity thieves and cybercriminals? We’re here to help — contact us today.