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With a new year upon us, we have the opportunity to put our gifts to good use. Comprehensive identity protection is a gift that keeps on giving, especially when it’s fully marketed and utilized. Now is the time to plan a few key campaigns to help you hit the ground running next year with implementing and promoting your new benefit offering to your global workforce. We encourage you to work with your partner marketing support and account director to discuss a few campaign ideas to address the top “seasons” of identity theft: Tax Season, Summer Travel, and the Holidays. They will work with you in advance of each season to develop easy-to-execute plans to include, at the very least, the following tips:
#1 Tax Season (January – April)
During tax season, it’s important to remind employees of the tax-related scams that appear year after year – and to be on the lookout for new ones. First and foremost, your employees need to be aware of scams sent via phishing emails and phone calls asking for information criminals can then use to file and obtain a return on their behalf. To avoid these scams, remind your employees to:
- File tax returns as early as possible. Cyber criminals often prey on people by offering quick fixes to those who wait until the last moment to file their taxes. Employees should not give any information over the phone to someone who claims to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with questions about their taxes and demanding sensitive information like their Social Security number, etc. If an employee is contacted, they should immediately hang up and contact the IRS or their accountant/tax prep service provider directly to see if there were actual issues. If it does turn out to be a scam, they should report it to the Federal Trade Commission and/or the IRS.
- Confirm the credentials of tax preparer or service. Employees should research the company or account they’ll be using before handing over their tax paperwork and personal information. They should make sure the company is approved by the IRS; if the company is questionable, they should report it.
- Be extra vigilant in online security practices. Your global workforce should follow online security best practices, including only accessing and working with sensitive personal finances on protected networks/devices.
#2 Summer Travel Season (May – August)
When your global workforce begins to travel again – for both personal and business travel needs –, it will be important to refresh them of best practices around safe travel to help minimize opportunities for identity theft. Almost one-third of identity fraud takes place while an individual is on travel. With Iris Identity & Cyber Protection, your employees will have immediate access to the user-friendly data monitoring dashboard, resolution resources, and other vital information to address any questions or concerns they may have before, during, and after their trip. Some additional tips to remind them include ways to:
- Protect money and credit. Notify bank and credit card companies of travel plans. Use credit cards over debit cards and carry only one card if possible. Limit usage of ATMs while traveling, check statements often, and report any suspicious activity immediately.
- Protect identity. Limit use of public WiFi, especially when accessing online accounts. Keep devices password protected and change pins and passwords after the trip.
- Protect privacy. Be extra cautious of posting travel plans on social media. This is one of the easiest ways cyber criminals can figure out opportunities to exploit.
- Protect organization’s information. Notify organization’s IT and/or Accounting departments of any international business travel plans as they will be more aware of details that may/may not indicate potential fraud.
#3 Holiday Shopping Season (November – December)
Year after year, identity theft attempts increase significantly during the holiday season. The attempts on both consumers and businesses make it a particularly risky time of year for all. To minimize the risk, employees should be reminded to:
- Be mindful of transactions. Keep a list of the places they shop (online and in person) and purchased items. Check to make sure all purchased items were received charged correctly. Monitor credit card transactions and report unreceived goods and/or file disputes for inaccurate charges.
- Beware of phishing emails. Hackers love to mimic emails from retailers to collect personally identifiable information. If a deal sounds too good to be true, take a minute to double check the offer by going directly to the retailer’s website.
- Be sure of the charity. This is a season of charitable giving, so if there are plans of making donations to a charity, research the charity and know the intended cause the donation is meant for. Your employees can check the legitimacy of the charity before making a donation via online resources, such as Charity Navigator or CharityWatch.
- Be joyful – and cautious. While we all want to “share” our joys online, remember that hackers love to lurk and secretly store that information as well. Your employees should continue to follow privacy guidelines when posting on social media so their holidays can remain joyful.
Wherever you and your employees find yourselves, Iris will be there with you. File with confidence. Travel with confidence. Shop, give and celebrate with confidence. Don’t let identity theft and fraud get in your way. Start 2021 off on the right foot by letting us handle defending and protecting your employees’ personal information.
Interested in offering Iris to your global workforce? Request a demo today to learn more.