Identity Theft: Employers Beware

Is your employee making more than a paycheck while working for you? If so, your business could be held responsible according to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act. For more facts, every employer should know about their employees and identity theft, read more . .

When it comes to identity theft, consumers should take care but employers should beware!
Identity theft by employees is on the rise. As law enforcement takes prosecuting identity theft more seriously and states like Texas toughen penalties, consumers can benefit from the awareness of how easy and common the practice of identity theft is. However, employers need to beware of the threats to their business when employees who are unscreened, untrained and unsupervised take advantage of their access to personal information and misuse it to commit identity theft.
Identity Theft Cases By Employees
Pizza Hut
A thirty-year-old employee of the Pizza Hut, was charged with making $6,700 worth of internet purchases using bankcard numbers and names of Pizza Hut customers.
As a rash of complaints about unauthorized purchases were made, police found one common denominator among the identity theft victims- all of them had dined and used a credit card in the Ebensburg Pizza Hut within one month. The identity thief was charged with seven counts of each identity theft, access device fraud, theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception and receiving stolen property.
Police have encouraged all customers to check their statements carefully, as they could have been victims and not even know it. There was a similar rash of identity theft crimes being investigated that are linked to the Subway restaurants in the Pittsburg area. Makes you wonder if you should just pay cash for that pizza or sub.
Southeast Missouri State University
It is not just convenience food restaurants in the news, a former Southeast Missouri State University employee downloaded over 800 students names and social security numbers. The investigation didn’t reveal the social security numbers had been used to apply for credit or financial gain but at least two had been used in an attempt to log into student accounts. However, students are being advised to obtain fraud alerts and security freezes on their accounts. The former employee, a hall director, was indicted on two charge of identity fraud and one charge of computer trespass.
“In Georgia, unauthorized possession of such data is a felony. In Georgia you don’t have to show the person used the data in any inappropriate way. Possession is enough,” said Dr. Dennis Holt, vice president for administration and enrollment management.
Facts on Employee Identity Thefts
The number one source of identity fraud involves the theft of employee records.
A Michigan State University Study found that over half of identity thefts occur in the workplace.
Employees hired to perform low-level tasks, such as data entry, commit the majority of identity thefts.
Only about 10 percent of record thefts involve customer information, while 90 percent involve payroll or employee records.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act hold employers responsible.
Any employer whose action or inaction, leads to breach of employee information can be fined by state and federal governments and can be sued in civil court. Class action lawsuits can be brought against employers for both actual and punitive damages.
These stories are red flags for employers to screen, train and monitor employees to protect their businesses and their customers. It is important to be aware of state laws for possessing, using and even disposing of customer’s personal information. Companies can be held liable for employee actions that even put people at risk for identity theft, even it an identity theft hasn’t occurred. Individuals aren’t the only victims of identity theft. Employers can reap the consequences of employee identity fraud and identity theft. Being informed, proactive and vigilant is the only way to protect your customers, employees and your business.