Identity Crime Can Impact Your Career
You may never be prepared for the moment you discover your personally identifiable information (PII) has been fraudulently used to steal your money, your tax refunds, or create an entirely new synthetic identity. Once discovered, identity fraud can take hundreds of hours and months of work to recover.
In addition to all of the financial and personal headaches that can result, your career can also suffer. The recovery process for identity crime can wreak havoc on your daily routine and will likely impact your productivity in your current workplace. Identity theft may also create anomalies in your credit history that must be explained to potential employers when job hunting before a background or credit check is performed. Even worse, you may first learn you’ve become a victim of identity fraud upon being denied a job due to a poor credit score you weren’t even aware you had.
Through clear and transparent communication, you can set expectations that meet your needs as the victim of an identity crime and those of your current company to remain a productive employee, and also prevent the red flags that a negative credit check may signal to a future employer.
Avoiding a Professional Problem Due to Identity Fraud
For most people, the time to make phone calls, file police reports, and otherwise deal with the fallout of identity fraud often overlaps with regular working hours and can quickly create an unpleasant situation on the job. If you’re actively job hunting, your time to talk with hiring managers may be interrupted or cause delays in scheduling interviews.
When it comes to disclosing your identity theft issue at work, it’s best to do it early on. Talking with your manager about the time you’ll need away from the office can help you better understand time and attendance policies, so everyone is clear on whether you need to take personal time off when dealing with your ID theft recovery, or if there is flexibility in working hours allowing you to make up the time elsewhere.
If you’re interviewing with potential employers, be sure to provide a brief history and documentation about your status as an identity fraud victim when filling out background and credit check forms. If necessary, add a note to the background and credit check authorization form, guiding the appropriate person to review your attached police report.
There’s no reason to be embarrassed; you are the victim, and you will need support from your family, friends, and coworkers while you work to restore your identity. Getting it out in the open means your employer, or future employer, can understand and be supportive of your situation, rather than pass judgment on your lack of availability, reduced productivity, or the impact your time away may have on the entire team.
Consider the following five tips when discussing your identity fraud case:
- Be Prepared | Have proper documentation of your case, including any police reports, an FTC affidavit, and any known dates that you may be unavailable.
- Navigate Quickly | If you are unsure who to talk to at your company, start with Human Resources for guidance. Work in a small company with no dedicated HR team? Talk with your supervisor.
- Take Action | Place a fraud alert with major credit bureaus if you have been a victim of identity crime so your credit report is flagged appropriately; set a reminder to renew the alert every year as needed.
- Full Disclosure | If you are applying for a new job, ensure your prospective employer is aware of your situation, should they request a background or credit check.
- Find Balance | Don’t feel pressured to share more than you are comfortable with about your case, and understand your rights when it comes to credit and background checks by current and potential employers.
Identity theft has become the fastest growing crime of the 21st century, with two new victims every second. Companies know the toll identity theft takes on an employee’s life inside and outside of the office. In fact, identity theft protection has become a regularly-requested employee benefit, and one that many organizations are adding to their benefit packages to help their employees deal with the fall out of identity crime.
Tips to Protect Your Identity
- Keep important personal documents stored safely and securely. Whether at work or home, store your essential papers in a locked file and use passwords to protect digital files.
- Remain vigilant about your finances. Even after your identity theft crime is resolved, continue to stay alert for future fraudulent charges with continued credit report monitoring and frequent review of financial records.
- Advocate for identity theft protection as an employee benefit. Whether or not you’ve previously been an identity theft victim, requesting such progressive benefits as ID theft protection may help you and your coworkers mitigate the impact of an identity crime in the future.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of EZShield Inc. alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other person or entity, including specifically any person or entity affiliated with the distribution or display of this content.