There are times when sharing personal information cannot be avoided; financial transactions, credit agreements, employment applications, etc. Because you and the institution requesting the information are involved in a legitimate transaction, sharing the particulars of your identity seems logical and most of us do it without issue. The potential for identity theft lies, particularly in employment situations, in the unnecessary use and poor safeguarding of our personal information.
Most companies maintain employee files that include the employees' full name, Social Security number, home address, telephone number, salary and other benefits information. It is easy to understand why Human Resource files are a gold mine for identity thieves. All it takes is a name and home address to assume an identity. When it comes to protecting employees information, there are several relatively simple security measures that can and should be done. Your personal information, whether it is in paper files or stored electronically, should be secure. But are they?
Identifying information should only be used when absolutely necessary.
It is the responsibility of the employer to safeguard employee information even when it is no longer needed.
Employers have beefed up their employee data security in recent years. However, we continue to hear shocking stories about employee data being found in dumpsters or on laptop computers that are being stolen from within the office environment or out in the community. While we may not be able to control the measures our employers take to secure our personal information, we can make ourselves aware of potential misuse of our identity. By consistently monitoring the use of our personal information, we can help avoid unauthorized changes and use of our information before an identity theft becomes a serious problem.