It is referred to as employment identity theft when someone seeks a job under false pretenses using your social security number.
Due to the fact that the victim is not immediately affected by what has taken place, it may be difficult for them to determine what has happened and who is responsible for it. The vast majority of people don’t become aware that anything is wrong until the application is denied, at which point they start piecing together any evidence that might lead them to the perpetrator of the crime.
In this piece, we’ll discuss the red flags that indicate someone may be stealing your identity at work, as well as some preventative measures you may take.
What Is Employment Identity Theft?
Employment identity theft refers to the act of a third party using your personal information, such as your name, Social Security number (SSN), or date of birth, in order to get employment without your knowledge or consent.
This may occur if an employee does not report the loss of the identifying data that was provided throughout the process of getting the job. This is a major problem in today’s culture, and it has to be addressed. Indeed, there are many who believe that this is the most typical kind of identity theft. In a broad range of contexts, it’s possible for a person to put himself in danger of committing this sort of crime.
A person who is going in for a job interview, for instance, can provide information that isn’t true in order to ace the exam and acquire a position for which they aren’t qualified. Additionally, if someone has inaccurate information about you, they might impersonate you in order to steal from you or do other types of crimes. It’s crucial to take precautions against this kind of identity theft since it may happen in a number of different ways, and if you don’t want to become a statistic, you shouldn’t let it happen to you.
Warning Signs of Employment Identity Theft
Throughout the recruiting process, you should be vigilant for any symptoms of employment identity theft. The following are the two most significant warning signs:
- In order to carry out what is known as a “background check,” potential employers could inquire about the specifics of your banking or credit card accounts. This is especially likely to happen if you have not yet been interviewed for the position.
- Be wary of communicating through personal email with a person who works for a potential employer rather than utilizing the company’s official email address.
- You may use this database, which is maintained by the federal government of the United States, to keep track of all of the employers that have conducted background checks on you. If you are unable to recognize any of the companies on the list, this may be an indication that your work identity has been stolen and used by someone else.
- A notice from the Internal Revenue Service that you may have been the victim of identity theft in connection with your employment.
- A message from the IRS asking you to verify any payments, income, or credits that were not previously recorded.
- A notice from the IRS informing you that there is a difference in your income and requesting you to analyze your documents in order to verify your income.
- A W-2 or a 1099 issued by a corporation for whom you did not do any labor.
- A letter from the Social Security Administration alerting you that the amount of benefits you get will be decreased or that you will not receive benefits at all due to unpaid wages.
- A Social Security statement that gives the impression that the recipient has a higher income than they really did.
How Does Employment Identity Theft Occur?
Several of the following scenarios might be indications that someone stole your identity and used it to get a job:
1. One-Time Offers Only
For instance, if a person is offered a job on a temporary basis, they put themselves at a higher risk for committing a crime of this kind.
One possibility is for a corporation to provide part-time or temporary work for a certain amount of time. If this individual does not make the disclosure that their identity has been taken within the allotted amount of time, they are guilty of the crime of employment identity theft.
2. Invalid Credentials
When a hiring manager chooses an applicant whose resume exaggerates or incorrectly represents their qualifications based on previous work, this is another example. In the event that it is discovered later on in the process that these credentials are false or fictitious, it is possible that this act constitutes employment identity theft.
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If we aren’t being too gloomy, the risk that one of your employees will read your personnel file and use it for their personal gain is far greater than the possibility that someone would rummage through rubbish or look for information on the dark web.
In point of fact, the likelihood of being victimized by an employee increases when the person is in a position where they have access to confidential information not just about you but also about other individuals.
The Impact of Employment Identity Theft – A Case Study
It is not difficult for identity theft committed against an individual to become a problem for a company.
According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, which is a consumer advocacy group, one in every three victims of identity theft report having problems at their place of employment as a consequence of the crime, either with their supervisor or coworkers. This can be due to the fact that the criminal used their stolen information to open new accounts in their name. (The complete findings of the research are scheduled to be published later on this year.)
The chief executive officer and president of the center, Eva Velasquez, was quoted as saying that “this problem is so toxic that it seeps into all aspects of a victim’s life.”
When Alexis Moore discovered that she had been the victim of identity theft 15 years earlier, she was a private investigator and a debt collector at the time. She assumed that her expertise would make it easy for her to solve the matter since she had done it previously. She quickly learned, however, that the banks she was visiting in an attempt to find a job were not very sympathetic to her situation.
Moore’s problem is still one that people who are looking for jobs say they come across. 13.8 percent of identity theft victims reported to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) that the fraud had negatively impacted their ability to get a job or prevented them from finding one in 2016, the most recent full year for which data is available. Additionally, 8.5 percent of identity theft victims discovered that they had been victims when they were rejected for a job opportunity.
The victims continue to face further ramifications at their current place of employment. The majority of the time, victims express the difficulties that come with missing time from work in order to deal with fraud. It was revealed by the resource center that 22 percent of clients had missed work as a result of a theft.
According to Velasquez, some bosses may be less receptive to your need for time off than others, particularly if it has an influence on your productivity. This is especially true if the employer perceives that the employee will be less productive as a result of the time off. Taking time off without being compensated might have an immediate effect on one’s finances, in addition to having potential ramifications when it comes to performance reviews and pay raises. (Roughly six percent of victims said that the theft of their identity led to the loss of their employment.)
According to Velasquez, depending on the nature and severity of the identity theft, victims may have their income garnished as a result of the actions of the thief (think of unpaid tax bills or court decisions).
The best course of action, according to those who specialize in the field, is to inform your current employer, or a future employer in the event that you are currently searching for employment, about any problems in the workplace that are associated with identity theft
If you believe that your PHI is at risk, reach out to the Global Payback experts and we will help you out!
How Can you Protect Yourself Against Employment Identity Theft?
Here are some actions you can take in order to protect your organization from employment identity theft.
1. Ensure that your Social Security number is always secure
If you want to prevent unauthorized access to your Social Security number (SSN), you should make use of a safe password manager that encrypts the information you save in it.
Using a password manager is the simplest method to secure critical documents such as your passport or financial information such as your Social Security Number from being inadvertently divulged during an interview or background check. These documents and information might include your SSN.
Applicants for jobs should also be aware that they are permitted to delay providing their Social Security Number (SSN) until after they have been offered the position. At that point, the employer would request it on a separate “background check permission form,” rather than as part of their application materials. Applicants should be aware of this option.
2. E-Verification confirmation
Both employees and employers have access to the E-Verify system, which is based on the internet and allows for the verification of job eligibility for both parties.
While workers are allowed to perform their own background checks, employers have the option of screening all possible applicants for employment using E-Verify to ensure that the individuals in question possess the necessary documentation before hiring them.
3. Examining the submitted job applications online
Job searchers routinely complete online forms, and when they do so, they usually give personal information such as their Social Security Number or license number.
Unfortunately, not all companies keep these application forms on a secure website, which leaves them open to hackers by scam artists who are looking for information that might be potentially useful. You should make use of virtual private networks (VPNs) that come equipped with password managers to help increase your internet security in order to ensure that identity thieves cannot access your application form.
Theft of one’s identity at the workplace is a serious crime that may have serious effects, just as theft of one’s identity, in general, can have serious consequences. Theft of an employer’s identity may leave victims with a tainted employment history, issues paying taxes, and, in extreme cases, even an audit by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
It is important for employees and employers alike to have an understanding of how employment identity theft occurs and the steps to take to protect themselves from its harmful effects. If you are a victim of employment identity theft then reach out to the Global Payback for expert advice and assistance. For more trending scams visit our news page.