In 2014 there was a new identity fraud victim every 2 seconds in the United States. According to a 2015 Identity Fraud Study released by Javelin Strategy & Research, identity theft is responsible for $16 billion stolen from 12.7 million U.S. consumers in 2014. It’s no wonder that it remains the number one consumer complaint according to the Federal Trade Commission. The good news is that identity theft can often be prevented by using better habits to protect your personal information.
Here are some tips to avoid falling victim to identity theft…
- Only carry the necessary amount of personal information in your wallet or purse. Leave the social security card, extra credit cards and passport at home in a safe location.
- Guard your card…Make sure you are looking over your shoulder during transactions, and make sure other not.
- Take your credit card receipts after transactions and do not dispose of them in public places. Shred all documents containing personal information such as credit card and bank correspondence.
- Keep personal information personal. Do not give out information to others over the phone or mail without your knowledge of secure legitimate purposes. This includes making secure internet transactions performed over a secure line. And do not send personal information via email.
- When transacting online, check for the authenticity of the site. For example “https://” (rather than http://) should be viewed in your browser window along with the locked padlock icon.
- Keep anti-virus software up to date on your computer. Update your passwords with challenging information that is not easily accessible to outsiders.
- Monitor your accounts and check your credit report for suspicious activity. You are entitled to one free credit report a year.
Some companies offer identity theft insurance as part of a homeowners policy, some as an endorsement and some as stand-alone coverage. Not sure about your identity theft coverage? Be sure take precautions and contact RHH Insurance to discuss your current coverage and options.