More identity thefts are happening at the workplace. And if you think about it, there are plenty of reasons why. A lot of your most personal information is kept at work, including your social security number, driver’s license number, banking information, and even some medical history. If any of this data falls into the wrong hands it could mean that you have become the next victim of ID theft. But fortunately there are some steps you can take to help keep this from happening to you.
Here are some steps you can take to protect your ID at work:
- Keep your social security number private. Even though most job applications ask for this information you can actually just write down “available upon request”. You can even put your reason for doing this on the application. I know many people will be concerned that this will hurt their chances of getting the job, but I have heard of cases where it actually helped people because it showed that they were responsible human beings. Of course, there are always some employers who will not even consider you if they have to ask for this information so you really have to weigh the pros and cons. If you do decide the enter your information and you get the job you can ask your boss how the security of these private documents is handled and request that someone get permission before viewing certain files.
- Talk to your boss about identity security. Unfortunately, many work places are behind the times when it comes to identity theft awareness. Many people will still have to use their social security numbers to clock in, or their social security number may be printed on work-related documents distributed at the office or by mail. Talk to your boss about changing these practices to more discreet methods.
- Don’t use your work computer to check your bank account. This applies to office computers that stay at work. You don’t know who else can see the information you put on that computer or who can see what information is sent while using it. Since more bosses are concerned about their employees using their time online to work for the company more are also spying on their employees. So make sure you check out your balance in your bank account when you get home.
- Keep an eye on your wallet or purse. You may think you can trust your co-workers with your life, but why take the chance. Sometimes the biggest threat of identity theft is with people that you already know. They know you are more comfortable with them and so your guard is usually let down. You don’t have to be paranoid with everyone around you in the work place. Just be smart and keep your personal information private.
And, of course, it’s always a good idea to monitor your credit report and keep tabs on all of your banking/checking accounts so you can spot suspicious activity as quickly as possible.
No one can guarantee that you will never become a victim of identity theft, and if a company promises this you can rest assured that they are very incapable of living up to this promise. Even the best identity theft protection services merely promise to help you keep it from happening and to get your life back in order if it does happen.