As one of the main decision makers, or even the owner of a business, how well do you really know your employees?
It is so easy these days for a person to pose as someone else, and you will be the one left with egg on your face if this happens.
In fact, there could be imposters planning on a grand scam on your company right now.
If a person applies for an open position, you might create a priority list of what their qualifications are or even if they can pass a drug screen. However, you should first make sure that whoever you choose for this position is who they say they are. This is the case, even for the simplest of jobs.
This is serious. It is so serious, in fact, that Michael Chertoff, the Department of Homeland Security’s former chief, has honed in on it too. He says that the most important asset we have is who we are and how we identify ourselves.
When people are allowed to masquerade and pretend to be someone else, it can damage people’s livelihood, reputations, and even our assets. It can also damage a person’s standing in the community.
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Identity theft, or pretending to be a person you are not, is so easy to do these days. For instance, did you know that you can purchase a Social Security number on the Internet? You can also buy a birth certificate, a kit to make a fake ID, or any number of devices to make stealing or obtaining a new identity an easy scam.
You may have received another person’s mail, such as an offer for a credit card. Perhaps the mail carrier simply delivered the offer to the wrong home, or the individual used to live in your home. At any time, you could fill that application out, receive the credit card, and go on a shopping spree. When the bills come in, the collection agency will likely never find you, as your name isn’t on the card or the bills. This, of course, in known as identity theft.
Protecting Your Business From Identity Thieves
You might have to “identity proof” your company. This refers to verifying whether or not a person is who they say they are. The first thing to do is to ask the person questions that only the individual would know. This might be the name of their first-grade teacher, their mother’s maiden name, or even the color of their first bicycle. This practice is known as “knowledge-based authentication, or KBA. This is an “out-of-wallet” identity authentication.
Credit reporting, background check and data aggregation companies all have solutions for companies that want to identify proof, and this type of authentication is always recommended.
This practice has flaws, however, because it is very easy for the imposter to learn information, such as the maiden name of the person’s mother. But other questions, such as the color of a person’s first bike as part of an out-of-wallet database are unable to be found by an imposter in many cases, which can help to identity proof an individual who knows the answers. Can you find out what your first car was by doing a Google search? Probably not, so imagine how difficult this would be to find out about a stranger.
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Another approach that one might try is documentation. This might be a mortgage statement, birth certificate, or driver’s license. Some might even ask for a copy of a person’s high school yearbook. Though a good con artist may be able to find these things, they can also give a good degree of information, such as the name of a person’s high school, year of graduation, and mascot, which will certainly make it seem as if they are who they say they are.
Go High-Tech Instead
Some companies go one step further and use biometrics, such as fingerprints and voice recognition. People also will authenticate identity with a method known as “identity scoring,” which is often used by mortgage brokers. By using the Internet, these systems can verify if someone’s public identity is authentic. Identity scores are comprised of a lot of data, such as corporate, credit and Internet data.
The driving force behind the increase in imposter fraud is the fake ID. A person that is in a position to hire a new employee can use various ID checking tools to help to verify this information.
If an employer simply blows off the idea that there are imposters out there, it can lead to a number of costly and dangerous consequences for the business. There are projections that the detection methods for finding phony IDs will become more and more reliable as the years go on. The combination of tactics, such as utilizing biometrics or smart cards, will help to increase security. Until these things are fully developed, however, it is very easy for a company to hire an employee who is lying about their identity and planning to steal and scam.