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How Employers Can Help Employees With Identify Theft Concerns
David published this article in the Nashville Business Journal. You can view the original article here. For those not subscribed, we want to share it with you here:
In recent weeks, Aetna commented on how they have made efforts to protect their covered lives security over the years. However now, all insurance companies are being required to collect spouses' and children's social security numbers as part of the Affordable Care Act. Make no mistake, medical identity theft is on the rise. It may happen in a variety of ways but most commonly from thieves stealing your health insurance number, social security number, or other personal information. The fraudulent acts cost thousands and the headache associated with restoring security is daunting.
This causes unnecessary anxiety on millions of people and understandably so. Recently the IRS reports correcting identity theft takes far longer than the criminal takes to fraudulently use your identity. ( IRS insights) In 2013, there were an estimated 148 million tax returns filed in the U.S. For this year, the IRS reported an estimated $5.8 billion in fraudulent refunds. That same year, the IRS launched 1,492 identity theft investigations - up from 276 a year ago.
Identity theft is a problem, and sadly, the problem is growing at a rapid rate. There are warning signs and proper things those impacted should do, but how many of us know these? Identity theft has been the top consumer complaint with the FTC for the past 15 years straight. Criminals are getting smarter and the honest ones are spending an exorbitant amount of time and money dealing with it.
Enter identity theft protection. Yes, you have probably heard many commercials from those who provide it, but there are several others that warrant consideration because "as seen on TV" isn't often the best solution.
But why am I writing this to you? You might say if my employees want it, they know where they can go get it. You would be right. However, if they do so, the cost of doing so is often double the cost of purchasing it through their employer - whether you choose to pay any portion of it or not.
So let's agree identity theft is a growing problem and your employees know about how to gain protection - even if it's on their nickel. While this might be perceived as a non-traditional employee benefit, nevertheless, you should view it as an employee benefit. Identity theft benefits those who purchase it and by doing so through their employer, you can give them access to it much less expensively as well as more effectively and easily.