HR data is gold to identity thieves

Organisations have to do everything within their power to protect employees from identity theft.

Fraud and identity theft; hacking; electronic vandalism; cyber terrorism and extortion; cyber stalking; invasion of privacy; cyber bullying and offensive material – these are just some of the digitally enabled crimes or illicit activities that can befall the employees of an organisation. HR professionals have many responsibilities but none quite as important as their duty to protect employees and their company. In today’s digital world, that means they must be knowledgeable and proactive when it comes to digital security. 

HR data is like gold to identity thieves. The fact that human error is the singlemost common factor in security breaches speaks to the extent to which HR has to be on the ball when it comes to reminding employees to be vigilant with their information. HR departments to collect, handle, and store a tremendous amount of personal data about employees. Therefore, along with the IT department, HR managers are the best line of defence against phishers, identity thieves, hackers and all the other crooks who are increasingly targeting businesses and their employees.

Identity theft may not be directly responsible for the physical taking of a life, however, it can certainly impact the quality of life and even lead to devasting financial and/or legal implications for the unwitting victim. 

Pine Pienaar, Managing Director of Afiswitch, says that global research notes that on average industries and consumers lose more than US$ 16 billion due to identity fraud every year. “With this in mind, Afiswitch believes that biometrics should form the foundation to any solution aimed at managing identity authentication and digital security,” says Pine. “The latest in biometrics solutions offer for more accurate identity verifications and are able to deliver results in real-time. This offers a real solution to ‘knowing who you are dealing with’ and can significantly assist in routing out fake personas and cybercriminals.” 

Pine indicates that beyond the potential of having one’s dignity attacked, as a result of identity theft, cyberbullying is a growing worldwide phenomenon, which can be detrimental to an individual’s mental and physical health – and it affects citizens of all ages, genders, race, cultures and religions or faiths.

A recent report showed that among 28 countries surveyed, South Africa had the highest prevalence of cyberbullying. In fact, 54 percent of parents who took part in the study admitted to knowing at least one child in their community who has been a victim of cyberbullying – up by 24 percent since 2011.