Opinion: ID Theft Takes a Toll on Drivers, Carriers
By James LaPiedra
ID Theft Solutions USA
This Opinion piece appears in the Feb. 25 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.
A top box-office movie this winter was “Identity Thief,” a lightweight comedy about a guy chasing a woman across the country after she stole his identity. The movie’s message was simple: Getting your identity stolen can be funny.
Try telling that to the more than 11 million victims who each year suffer the devastating emotional toll of knowing they no longer have control over their lives and a stranger is draining their bank account and using credit cards opened in their name.
Research shows it can take as long as 33 hours for a victim to come to a satisfactory ID-theft resolution. Some reports suggest it can take up to 600 hours for truly serious breaches to be rectified, and sometimes the problem is never resolved.
The victim spends an enormous amount of time e-mailing, copying documents, running to the post office and, of course, talking on the phone.
That takes a lot of direct telephone interaction during business hours — one of many reasons the situation isn’t going to help victims’ job performance. In fact, any time a person’s identity is stolen, there’s also an innocent bystander about to become collateral damage — the employer.
The problem of employee ID theft is particularly complicated for trucking and other transportation-related companies. They have office workers, dispatchers, trainers, etc., at home base and possibly working that traditional 9-to-5 day. But they also have commercial drivers in a very bad situation by virtue of their jobs to cope with ID theft.
Identity theft is bad enough for a person who goes home from work every night and can get extra time off from a sympathetic boss. In the case of a longhaul driver, the ID-theft situation is much more complicated. Jumping out of the truck cab and running into the post office in a strange town along his route, finding the nearest copying center or dealing with stacks of paperwork is just not going to happen with an over-the-road driver fighting to pull his life back together — and still comply with the hours-of-service rules.
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