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MindShare: ID Theft and Mitigation of Risk

By My Benefit Advisor

With the widespread acceptance of remote work, identity theft has perhaps become a greater concern than ever before. 

Despite heightened levels of awareness and implementation of improved technologies aimed at prevention and protection, identity theft continues to increase at an alarming rate, putting both employees and employers at significant risk.

The issue has become serious enough that many employers are including an identity theft protection program in their employee benefit package. A quality ID protection program will include credit monitoring and credit change notifications, unauthorized account access alerts, compromised password warnings and communication regarding address changes, fund transfers, public record alerts and more.

The following represent some of the more common methods whereby criminals seek to gain access to an individual’s personal information and what can be done to mitigate the risk:

Lost Wallet or Purse

Logins, passwords, Social Security cards and excess credit cards should not be kept in a wallet or purse. Copies of the front and back of all credit cards should be made and card issuers should be called as soon as possible after a loss.

Mailbox Theft

Secure mailbox and pick up mail promptly. Sign up for USPS Informed Delivery,  which provides an email containing images of the items that should be delivered so the recipient will know if anything is missing.

Public Wi-Fi

Avoid using public Wi-Fi for anything where personal information may be used, like shopping, banking, or other sensitive transactions. VPNs (virtual private networks) can create a secure connection.

Database Breaches

Assume that personal data has already been accessed and take appropriate precautions. Monitor credit scores and reports routinely, watch for unexpected changes, and read financial and insurance statements carefully.


Don’t give out personal data in response to an email or call. Instead, look up contact information from a trusted source, such as the institution’s website, to verify the legitimacy of the call or email.

Gas Pump Skimming

Use credit cards with chip protection or pay inside the station to decrease risk. Detect fraudulent activity early by setting email or text alerts that let you know when your credit cards are used. If a card is used without your authorization, call the issuer immediately.

Phone Scams

Be alert for scams. Don’t give personal information to callers over the phone. Most legitimate institutions will not ask for personal information on the phone.

Eyeing Code/Pin Entry

To avoid having someone watch you enter a password or pin, be aware of surroundings and block others from seeing sensitive data. Don’t leave information where others can view or access it.


Caution should be used when visiting websites and before clicking on attachments or links in emails. Using a password manager is a good idea.

The Pittsburgh Technology Council offers its members access to My Benefit Advisor as a solution for employee benefits, including voluntary offerings. For more information about My Benefit Advisor, visit our website at or contact Rob Higginbotham at (724) 698-1363.