Identity Theft is big business as 40 million Target customers experienced this December. Identity Theft Protection (ITP) can be added as a rider on your homeowners insurance with most companies for the cost of a pizza.
Identity Theft Protection usually covers you up to $15,000 or $25,000 of monetary damage, however; it also helps you restore your identity. Ask anyone who has been a victim of identity theft and they’ll tell you how time consuming it is to restore your identity.
Insurance companies contract with companies whose sole purpose is to help victims notify the appropriate departments and file the correct paperwork to restore ones identity. This feature alone is worth the cost in addition to the monetary protection.
How Do Thieves Get Your Information?
“I thought I kept my personal information to myself.” You may have, but identity thieves are resourceful: they rummage through your garbage, the trash of businesses, or public dumps. They may work — or pretend to work — for legitimate companies, medical offices, clinics, pharmacies, or government agencies, or convince you to reveal personal information. Some thieves pretend to represent an institution you trust, and try to trick you into revealing personal information by email or phone.
What Do Thieves Do With Your Information?
Once identity thieves have your personal information, they can drain your bank account, run up charges on your credit cards, open new utility accounts, or get medical treatment on your health insurance. An identity thief can file a tax refund in your name and get your refund. In some extreme cases, a thief might even give your name to the police during an arrest.
Clues That Someone Has Stolen Your Information
•You see withdrawals from your bank account that you can’t explain.
•You don’t get your bills or other mail.
•Merchants refuse your checks.
•Debt collectors call you about debts that aren’t yours.
•You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
•Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use.
•Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
•A health plan won’t cover you because your medical records show a condition you don’t have.
•The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name.
•You get notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company.
What If Your Information is Lost or Stolen, But Your Accounts Don’t Show Any Problems?
If your wallet, Social Security card, or other personal, financial or account information are lost or stolen, contact the credit reporting companies and place a fraud alert on your credit file. Check your bank and other account statements for unusual activity. Order a free copy of your credit report periodically to monitor your accounts. You have a right to one free copy of your credit report from each of the national credit reporting companies every year.
Contact The Andrew Agency
If you live in Virginia, Maryland or South Carolina and would like more information on Identity Theft Protection, contact The Andrew Agency at (804) 320-2886.