Social media allows us to communicate with our friends and family across the globe, provide immediate assistance in the face of natural disasters and tragedies, and help raise awareness on a level never experienced in human history. Yes, social media is an amazing tool that can be used to better mankind. But, when your employees have their accounts compromised, identity thieves can cause a world of harm for both them and your company.  

What Can Happen to Your Employee?

When your employee’s social media account is compromised without their knowledge, hackers can exploit their account in a number of damaging ways. One of the most common is to post inappropriate comments that can be hurtful to your employee. This is something we’ve seen many times in the past – hijacked accounts posting obscenities, inappropriate references to sex and drugs, or worse, racist and offensive comments your employee would never think, let alone post to the world.

There are also instances where the hacker will use the hijacked account for their own benefit. This is especially true when it comes to forced followings -- which occur when identity thieves use the victim’s account to follow others without his or her consent. Take what happened to actor John Noble for example. When his account was hacked, the hackers used it to follow thousands of accounts overnight. Forceful sharing of posts is also a common practice, where hackers will share a post that benefits them in some way without the victim’s permission. 

Of course, the most dangerous way a hijacked account can be used to harm your employee comes in the form of identity theft. Not only can they pretend to be your employee on social media, they can also leverage their account to pull address information, passwords, phone numbers, and a trove of personal data that can be used to open new accounts in your employee’s name and exploit pre-existing ones. The hacker can also post links to Phishing sites to friends, families, and coworkers of the victim. This is a very effective manner of collecting personal data on a high number of individuals. 

What Can Happen to Your Business

When your employee has a hacked social account that isn’t immediately detected, it can pose big problems for your organization. There are over 2 billion monthly users on Facebook alone, and they use their accounts to seek out recommendations and learn more about the businesses they’re considering working with. If the compromised account is used to slander your organization or executives within the company, it can have a damaging impact.

Consider this. Nearly 90% of consumers report they have read online reviews to determine the quality of a business. Of course, the most shocking element of the study is that 88% of consumers report they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. So, you can believe that if a person reads a negative review of your organization from one of its employees, they’re going to take it to heart. 

Having your organization defamed isn’t the biggest threat posed to your business. If your employee has their identity stolen from a hacked social account, it can wreak havoc for your company. Correcting the problems caused by identity theft can take hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars. That translates to reduced productivity, missed time at work, and potential disengagement, which on average can lead to 21% lower profitability. 

What You Can Do About It 

With identity theft on the rise year after year, companies are beginning to take notice. In 2015, just 35% of companies were offering identity theft protection for their employees, but some studies are predicting that number could rise to 70% by 2018. But, with so many “solutions” on the market, it’s imperative that your organization select the right plan.

In addition to choosing a solution that offers proactive alerts and credit protection services, you’ll want to select a plan that also safeguards your employees’ social media accounts – alerting them to new posts featuring questionable content, as well as recent password changes. To view a complete list of the features your identity protection software should include, click here.

To learn about other threats facing your employees, download our complimentary eBook, Phishing for Dollars: How Identity Theft is Leaving Businesses and Employees on the Hook.