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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection The Resource Center | article

How You Can Protect Your Identity at Work

These three tips can help guide you as you protect your identity at work.

Between your daily commute and the hours you log at the office, it may feel like you spend more time at work than you do at home. In fact, nearly four in 10 full-time workers say they work at least 50 hours each week, far surpassing the traditional 40-hour workweek, according to a 2014 Gallup poll of more than 1,000 U.S. adults. What’s more, as smartphones create an “always-on” work environment, employees end up staying connected to their job even after they arrive at home. Considering just how much time Americans allocate for work, it’s critical they take steps to protect their identity at the office.

Stockpiles of information

From payroll documents and retirement accounts to online profiles and personal files, your office may contain just as much – or perhaps even more – information about you as your home. Moreover, you bring even more information about yourself into the office along with you every day – like you, your purse or wallet probably spends more time at work than anywhere else! Although most people enjoy keeping their personal and professional lives separate, identity theft knows no boundaries – even if it occurs within your office walls, it could have a disastrous impact on your personal finances and privacy.

Next time you head in to work, take these identity theft protection recommendations along with you.

Keep personal information off office computers

While it might be convenient to pull double duty with your work computer, using it to access personal accounts or store personal files can broaden your risk of ID theft . If the security of your office network is compromised or your business suffers a data breach, it is possible that the personal data you had stored on your work computer could be exposed. Plus, office computers are often accessible to people you don’t know very well, such as your co-workers and building cleaning crews. While one would certainly hope nobody would try to gain access to your computer while you were away, it’s best not to take that risk in the first place.

Secure physical items

From your cell phone and wallet to your HR documents, your desk area is full of financially sensitive and personally identifying information. While these items might seem safe tucked away at your desk, keep in mind that there’s plenty of time – both during office hours and after closing time – that you’re not there to keep an eye on your belongings. Ask your manager if the company can provide you with a safe or locking filing cabinet where you can keep certain documents. If not, it’s worthwhile to invest in one yourself. Before leaving your desk – even if its just for a quick meeting or a trip to the bathroom – make sure any personal items and documents are securely locked away.

Remember, it’s important to consider security even after you throw documents away. Rather than simply dropping them in the trash can or recycling bin, be sure to shred documents that contain detailed business or personal information. Using a cross-cut shredder can make it even more difficult for identity thieves rooting around in your trash to get the information they’d need to target either you or your company.

Protect your home office

Whether they have a regular telecommuting schedule or occasionally check their email from home after hours, many Americans conduct at least some business from their homes. If you have a home office, it’s important you take as much care in keeping it secure as you would your desk at work. If you don’t have a dedicated office with a locking door, invest in a safe or locking desk where you can store your most sensitive documents.

While these tips can help, there is unfortunately no way to completely mitigate the risk of ID theft at work. To make sure you’re prepared to combat identity theft when it strikes, contact Identity Guard today.