Stories of the struggle of those falling victim to identity theft dot the news headlines regularly. It’s a crime that takes both an emotional and financial toll. In addition to taking sensible precautions, what can you do to protect yourself? Consider Identity Theft Insurance.
Identity Theft Insurance can be purchased as a stand-alone policy or added as endorsement to your existing Homeowners or Automobile Insurance coverage. Though Identity Theft Insurance does not protect against the cost of the actual theft, it is a relatively inexpensive insurance option that reimburses for the cost of reclaiming your identity. This includes:
- Phone call charges
- Photocopying costs
- Postage fees for mailing documents
- Salary loss due to uncompensated time off from work
- Legal fees
Additionally, you’ll gain access to a fraud specialist who can assist you in restoring your good name and protecting your identity. This service accompanies reimbursement for expenses associated with credit restoration, as noted above.
Identity Theft Protection Suggestions
- Minimize the amount of personal information in your purse or wallet, such as your Social Security card, credit cards, etc. Carry only what is necessary.
- Shield yourself when using an ATM and guard your credit cards when making purchases.
- Do not throw credit card or ATM receipts away in public trash receptacles. Shred them before throwing them away instead.
- Do not rely on credit card companies or your bank to alert you of potential theft. Monitor your accounts regularly by checking statements to make sure that all documented transactions are justified. If you suspect a problem, contact the company or bank immediately.
- Order a copy of your credit report from all of the three major credit bureaus. You are entitled to one free credit report per year from each. This document outlines where you work, where you live, accounts opened in your name, how you pay your bills, etc. Inspect these documents closely to uncover any indiscretions or activities that you did not authorize.
- Place passwords on your accounts and credit cards. Do not use easily obtainable information such as your mother’s maiden name or your birth date.
- Do not give out your personal information to parties you do not know.
Get the Facts!
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that as many as 9 million Americans are the victims of identity theft each year. Victims are unable to use existing credit cards, obtain new loans, are subject to criminal investigations, and in some cases, are arrested for crimes they did not commit as a result of identity theft.
Identity theft occurs when others obtain and use your personal information without your permission. Personal information may include your Social Security number, bank account information and credit card numbers. Once your personal information is obtained, thieves can use existing or open new credit cards in your name, write bad checks or take out loans.
Before you catch wind that your identity has been stolen, your credit may be tarnished and thieves may have racked up significant debt, all in your name.
Take the necessary steps to avoid frustration and protect your identity and your credit!