When you’re a business leader or a member of HR, your employees put a lot of trust in you. Your team expects you to provide them with a stable work environment, to pay them on time, and to act with integrity. And your team is at one of their most vulnerable points when trying to get a loan, mortgage, government assistance, or any other aid.
As someone who processes verifications, you need to ensure the process goes smoothly for your team. Security is an area that’s often overlooked during the verification process, and this could end up being a costly error for you and your team. Fortunately, it’s a problem with a clear solution.
Employment and income verification both entail disclosing personal information. This includes the applicant’s Social Security Number, salary, home address, and detailed work history.
Phishing, or the act of obtaining someone’s personal and sensitive information, isn’t new. And it’s still a prevalent problem. Fraud reports alone totaled nearly $1.5 billion dollars in 2018. Because employment verification involves so much sensitive information, it’s a prime target for phishing attacks.
In the wrong hands, the information included in employment or income verification could be used to steal one’s identity and do irreparable damage. Acquiring someone’s name, address, and Social Security information alone is enough to apply for lines of credit, which can be devastating for someone’s credit score.
Losing an employee’s information during verification, or giving it to the wrong party, can also hurt your company in a big way. First, this kind of event opens you up to a lawsuit, which can run up significant legal costs for your company. This kind of event can also hurt your brand image, as you’re likely to make headlines if you’re responsible for an employee’s identity being stolen. Worst of all, losing someone’s information during verification can damage the trust your team has in your company.
The verification process is fairly straightforward, but there are still two easy-to-make mistakes that can leave your company, and your team, at risk for fraud.
Verification requests are either handled by a verification company or the company needing the verification directly. This could be a mortgage company, rental company, bank, government agency, etc.
Without a verification company, your business will have to handle all the verification requests directly. Verification companies will typically handle the request or at least oversee and broker the exchange of information. Without a verification company, the request for an employee’s data comes straight to you. This usually results in faxing or emailing back employee data when prompted by the other party.
It’s not uncommon for companies to get a verification request from another party and to simply reply with the employee’s information sans vetting. These requests could easily be coming from someone phishing for sensitive information to commit fraud. That means the personal employee info being sent over could be used to steal the person’s identity, leaving the company vulnerable to litigation.
Your company likely has a lot of employee data on hand. Employee information is always at risk of a breach, whether or not you’re doing income or employment verification. Because of the amount of data handled by HR, data security should always be a top priority. Neglecting data security within HR can leave all company records vulnerable to a breach and lead to successful phishing attempts from parties making false verification requests, and beyond.
Involve the IT department and create a compliance framework that makes security a priority. While you’ll still need a more secure verification process, proper data security at your business will still reduce the chances your company is susceptible to a breach.
Just as there are security risks during employment verification, there are also ways to avoid these risks. The following tips can help you keep your employees and their information safe from harm.
Even if a request looks legitimate, look up the information provided in their email or fax. Does the number provided match up with a real business? Does the person who contacted you work there? And does your employee know about the verification request?
Dig deep before responding or sending any information over.
If an employee confirms that they recently applied for a mortgage with a specific lender or a loan from another company, you know the verification is likely legit. Discuss any verifications with your employee to confirm the details and validity of the request.
Always obey the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) of 2003. This law requires certain personal information to be properly destroyed unless needed for a specific purpose. When in doubt, read up on the laws or consult with a business attorney to ensure your department is being responsible with employee information.
You can largely remove your role, and the employee’s role, in some cases, by using a verification company. Professional verification companies will handle verifications on behalf of the business and employee and follow proper safety protocols to keep information out of the wrong hands.
While a verification company can help keep you and your team safe, not all verification companies are the same. This is where Truework can help.
At Truework, we have security built into every step of the process, from the beginnings of verification to the storage of employee data for future reference.
You’ve worked hard to assemble the perfect team. Your employees have a lot of trust in you, too. The best way to respect that trust is by ensuring they’re all safe when they’re at their most vulnerable: in the midst of a verification. At Truework, security is in our DNA. We’ll make sure you and your team’s information is safe every step of the way.
Verification is an essential process that can’t be avoided, no matter your industry. Your team will almost certainly need verification for some major life event at some point. As a team leader or member of HR, it’s your job to keep your employees safe. Verification can be easy, and with the right secure solution, it most certainly can be safe.