Millions of people fall victim to identity theft each year, and the numbers are rising. The number of cases reported to the Federal Trade Commission were up 70% year-over-year in 2021 alone. Additionally, losses from identity theft cost Americans more than $5.8 billion in 2021.
Identity theft can take an enormous toll on the victim’s emotional, mental, and physical health. According to research from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), 77% of victims report increased stress, and they spend up to six months resolving the consequences of their identity being stolen. Research also shows:
- 22% of people took time off from work due to identity theft
- 40% could not pay their bills
- 32% say their identity theft caused problems at work
“Many of us don’t think about identity protection when we consider ways to maintain and improve whole-person health,” said Bruce Grimm, senior vice president, U.S. Markets, Cigna Healthcare. “Providing peace of mind to those we serve includes financial and emotional well-being support. That’s why we will be offering a new identity theft protection service to more clients in 2023.”
Educating Employees on How to Protect Themselves From Identity Theft
Organizations can take small but meaningful steps to help employees protect their identities. First and foremost, they should communicate the value of creating strong passwords and using unique passwords for each account or website.
To protect themselves and their workers, employers also should provide education on phishing scams – a.k.a. fake emails – and emphasize the importance of thinking before clicking. Best practices include looking closely at a sender’s email address and for typos in the message and subject lines. Most legitimate communications don’t have spelling or grammar errors.
Companies also can help employees safeguard their identity by providing information on:
- Keeping personal information such as medical data private
- Safeguarding social security numbers
- Monitoring bank and credit card statements
- Protecting older people and children from ID theft
Making Identity Theft Protection Part of Your Wellness Strategy
Poor financial health can have a negative impact on overall health, well-being, and vitality, which businesses should to take into account when creating a holistic strategy for employee wellness. An optimal strategy includes benefits that help employees stay on top of their finances and protect them from identity theft.
Powered by IdentityForce, a TransUnion brand, Cigna Healthcare offers a full range of identity monitoring, restoration, and response services at no additional cost (available beginning in March 2023 for clients with up to 2,999 employees). The service provides users with protections such as:
- Advanced fraud monitoring
- Secure Social Security number tracking
- ID theft insurance coverage and recovery
- A mobile app for anywhere/anytime protection
- Anti-phishing and anti-keylogging software
- Bank, credit card, and credit report activity monitoring
- Social media identity monitoring
“No one should have to deal with the damage that could result from identity theft,” said Shelby Stoll, vice president of employee benefits at IdentityForce. “Security incidents, scams, and fraud continue to grow as our world becomes increasingly digitalized and virtual, and helping your people protect their personal information is essential.”