protect your identity at workIdentity theft can occur anytime personal information is breached and falls into the wrong hands. It can take place at the grocery store, gas station and even at your workplace. As consumers, we find comfort in thinking that our information is safe when we’re at work, but the reality is that not all employers, coworkers or even ourselves take the necessary steps to protect our identities.

How to protect your identity at work

Since your identity isn’t always protected at the workplace, it’s essential for you to take extra steps to make sure your identity remains safe.

1. Don’t volunteer personal information: Just because someone at work is talking about personal information, such as where they bank, doesn’t mean that you need to reveal all of your information because it could put your identity in jeopardy. One of the main reason for this is that your coworker or employer may be trying to coax information out of you. For example, perhaps that coworker or employer has access to your personal information and wants to find a way to get access to your bank accounts. By volunteering personal information, you’re basically giving that person all of that information they’re looking for. People usually want to fit in at the workplace, especially if it’s a new job, but there’s no need to overshare personal information to make friends at work.

2. Ask questions: If your employer or coworkers are asking for your personal information, you should be sure to ask questions as to why they need the information, how it will be stored and who will have access to it. Some examples of appropriate questions to ask include “Why do you need this information?,” “How will the information be stored and who will have access to it?” and “If I leave this company, will my information be destroyed?” It’s important for you to know how your personal information is stored so you can be sure it is not accessible by anyone.

3. Don’t be afraid to say “no”: Saying “no” can be a difficult to tell your employers or coworkers — especially if you’re starting a new job — however it’s an essential word to get comfortable with saying when it comes to your personal information. If you feel uncomfortable providing certain information to your employer or coworkers, then you should not be afraid to explain that you’d rather not disclose that information. That being said, it’s important to point out that you’ll be required to disclose some information — such as your social security number, home address and legal name — for tax purposes and in order to get paid.

4. Store personal belongings in a safe place: When you’re at work, be sure to keep your personal belongings, such as your wallet, in a safe place away from the public and coworkers. If your work offers you a locker, then you should make sure to lock your belongings in it while you work. If you have an office position, then you should store your belongings in your desk. And, if you don’t have a safe place to store your belongings at work, then you may want to consider either keeping personal items, such as your wallet, in your pocket or leave them in your car or at home.

5. Don’t leave documents with personal information laying around: Sometimes you have to bring documents containing personal information, such as your social security card, to work in order to set up payroll or even for other personal reasons. If that’s the case, you’ll want to make sure that you do not leave those documents laying out on your desk or in a common area for anyone to read. Instead, store the documents in a safe place, such as your wallet, or lock them away in your desk or locker.

Following these steps will not guarantee that you won’t fall victim to identity theft, however they will make you less vulnerable to the crime at your workplace. Visit our identity theft protection blog to learn more about how to protect your identity in every aspect of your life.