By Kevin Pipkins
As an HR professional, it’s one of your priorities to protect employee data. You may not realize it, but responding to employment and income verifications may be adding unnecessary risk for your company. For example, if you respond too quickly to assist employees, then you may not be fully confirming the validity of the income or employment verification request. Is the person or organization requesting the verification of employment or income legitimate or have a valid purpose to obtain the information? Indeed, failing to confirm the requestor may mean a company is putting its employees at risk of identity theft or fraud. Bottom line? It’s increasingly important to confirm the identity and the purpose of a verifier.
Verifications: Knowing Who and Why is Essential to Helping Protect Employee Data
Through conversations with employers, Equifax learned that some employers only confirm the identity of verifiers when an employee asks them to do so. Additionally, it was not uncommon for employers to be unsure what their company policy was on validating inquiries.* Your company can take several steps to feel more confident that a verifier is who they claim to be. These options include:
Contact the employee to confirm the verification request is valid
Require verifiers to submit verification requests on formal company letterhead
Obtain a copy of the pertinent permission
Independently confirm the verifier name and phone number
Outsource verifications to a specialty credit reporting agency (CRA)
Sending verifications to a CRA offers employers and employees some peace of mind. CRA activities are governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This federal legislation helps ensure fairness, accuracy and privacy of the personal information contained in CRA files.
Permissible Purpose – Verifiers must certify to CRAs that they have a “permissible purpose” for requesting a verification of an employee’s personal information contained in the files of a CRA, which is considered a consumer report.
Users of Consumer Reports – CRAs must take measures to help verify the identity of a potential user of consumer reports before providing information.
The Work Number database helps to protect employers in the following ways:
A network of more than 71,000 organizations with credentialed verifiers utilize The Work Number database.
Periodic Audits – Equifax performs random audits of its verifiers to help ensure proper use of employer contributed data including permissible purpose and consumer consent.
As a result, there is a wide array of verifiers that will simply and privately receive verifications for your employees.
Learn more how Income and Employment Verifications from The Work Number database can help offer increased efficiencies and employee data protections.
*2018 Equifax data
Kevin Pipkins is the Director, Product Marketing for Verification Services with Workforce Solutions at Equifax, supporting The Work Number® Income and Employment Verification service. Prior to joining Equifax, Kevin spent 10 years in consumer and commercial banking as a Program Manager, Sales Manager and Business Development Officer. In addition, he has also worked in the manufacturing industry and education sector.
Kevin received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Management, Marketing & Communications) from Truman State University and his Master of Education (Educational Psychology) from Texas Tech University.
Kevin is a self-professed yardie and always looking for new plants and places to tuck them into the landscaping, enjoys running and always looking for new places to try some good eats.
The information provided is intended as general guidance and is not intended to convey any tax, benefits, or legal advice. For information pertaining to your company and its specific facts and needs, please consult your own tax advisor or legal counsel. Links to sources may be to third party sites. We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of any third party sites or services.