Identity Theft Protection
Identity Theft is an Increasing ConcernIdentity Theft affects many Americans very personally, every day. Nationally, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported 1.8 million incidents of identity theft in 2011, 15% of all the complaints reported overall. According to the FTC, identity theft was the #1 consumer complaint in America for the 12th year in a row in 2011. Identity thieves fraudulently obtain and use other people’s personal information, bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, Driver’s License numbers and other personal information to open fraudulent bank accounts, establish unauthorized credit lines, obtain loans and wrongfully report wages. As a result, identity theft insurance has become necessary.
While victims are often not held responsible for the fraudulent debts established in their name, the responsibility for contacting banks, credit issuers and other agencies to dispute these fraudulent charges does fall on the victims of identity theft. The hours and effort required to contact these agencies and bureaus are a major inconvenience, significantly impacting the lives of victims as well as consumer prices and interest rates for everyone.
Identity Theft Protection CoverageIdentity Theft Protection assists with the costs of restoring and repairing a consumer’s identity and credit history.
How to Protect your IdentityIn addition to the coverage offered through identity theft protection, consumers can take the following steps to help protect their personal information and prevent identity theft:
• Report lost or stolen checks immediately
• Shred or destroy financial and personal documents before disposing of them
• Protect your ATM pin number and keep track of transaction receipts
• Review your credit files with the major credit reporting agencies annually
• Limit the amount of personal information in your purse or wallet
• Be mindful of “shoulder surfers” when making purchases with credit or debit cards
• Only buy from reputable online retailers with secure, encrypted networks
• Beware of email, telephone or online requests for personal information
• Track your credit card and bank activity
If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft or fraud:• Place fraud alerts on your credit reports with the three major credit reporting agencies immediately
• Contact your local law enforcement agency and file a complaint
• Contact the Federal Trade Commission and file a complaint
• Contact the Social Security Administration Fraud Division
Limited reimbursement for the expenses associated from fraud may include:• Certified Mail
• Long distance phone calls
• Notary services for declarations and affidavits
• Lost wages
• Reasonable attorney fees
• Loan application fees