Prevent Identity Theft

Identity theft and fraud are on the rise. Are you covered? Identity Fraud Expense coverage is available as an endorsement to your homeowners policy. Check with your insurance agent to learn more about the coverage options that may be available to you. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), identity theft ranked number one in terms of consumer complaints received by the agency during 2009. Identity theft is big business. If it happens to you, it can cost you not only aggravation and inconvenience, but money too!

The Insurance Information Institute (III) offers some tips to help prevent identity theft. Be especially careful when . . .

Shopping online. Use only secure sites and reputable retailers.

Throwing away trash. Shred bills and documents that include any of your personal or identifying information, such as your social security or account numbers.

Making purchases. Never throw away your sales receipts in public trash cans; always ask for a receipt for items purchased with a bank or credit card.

Traveling. Only carry the bank and credit cards that you absolutely need when traveling. And be sure to keep a copy of your account numbers and contact information for your bank and credit card companies in a safe place, in case you need to report a lost or stolen card.

Selecting passwords. Do not use easily accessed names or numbers, such as your mother’s maiden name or part of your address or social security number, in your passwords.

For more tips on preventing identity theft and fraud, be sure to check out the FTC’s website for consumers. Videos, publications, and an online “test your knowledge …” quiz are also included on the FTC’s site.

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