IDENTITY THEFT: IT’S A JUNGLE OUT THERE
Despite the explosive growth of online identity theft, the great majority of personal information is stolen or lost in other ways, according to one recent study.
A nationwide survey of claims data by Travelers insurance company found that nearly three in four cases of identity fraud (73%) did not involve cyber-crime. According to Travelers, such stolen or misplaced items as wallets and pocketbooks were the most common known causes of these claims. The theft of drivers licenses, Social Security cards, or other forms of personal identification ranked second. Burglaries ranked third, followed by cyber breaches, including Internet scams and old-fashioned forgeries.
To protect yourself against all varieties of identity theft, experts recommend these guidelines:
- Check your monthly financial statements to detect any suspicious activity (in case you find any discrepancy, contact the financial institution immediately).
- Carry only essential credit cards
- Keep critical documents in a secure place
- Avoid scams by not disclosing personal information if you receive an unsolicited request
- Shred old bills and financial statements
- Store purses and wallets in a safe place
- Never print account information on an outgoing mail envelope
- Be careful about sharing personal information on social media
- Ask for a free report annually from the national credit reporting agencies.
You might also consider purchasing Identity theft insurance. Many policies provide coverage for lost or stolen funds; long distance calls to resolve, report, or discuss the fraud; the cost of notarizing fraud affidavits, certified mail, or other documents needed to restore compromised credit; loan re-application fees due to incorrect credit information; and attorney fees (if pre-approved).
For more information, please get in touch with our agency.
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