Identity theft is in the news almost every month because it costs millions of Americans millions of dollars and hours each year. In today’s world, it’s impossible to stop identity theft completely, but being informed can help you reduce your risks. Here’s what you need to know.
What Identity Theft Is
Identity theft includes a broad list of financial crimes. It can include stealing your credit card physically or virtually, opening new accounts in your name, or using your health insurance. The common factor is that the identity thieves steal pieces of your personal information to commit their crimes.
How to Spot Identity Theft
You can usually only spot identity theft after the fact. You might see unauthorized charges on your credit card or get a collections notice from an account you never opened. Your main goal should be to spot identity theft as quickly as possible to keep it from getting worse. To do this, you need to monitor your accounts and credit report regularly.
What to Do About a Data Breach Notice
In some cases, you may get a notice from a business you gave your information to that identity thieves hacked them and stole your information. At this point, you need to take action as quickly as possible. Freeze your credit report, put a fraud alert on your bank accounts, and check your accounts daily.
What Credit Monitoring Does
Credit monitoring services watch your credit report for you. They send you alerts about changes such as new accounts or increases to your account balances. Depending on the service you choose, alerts can range from instant to monthly. This saves you the hassle of checking on your own.
Why You Need to Monitor Your Credit
Even though you usually have the right to restore your credit report and have unauthorized transactions reversed, this still takes time and can have other consequences. For example, if you were trying to buy a car, but an identity thief took out a loan in your name and didn’t pay it, you may not be able to get approved for a car loan until you get the fraudulent loan off of your credit report. That process could take at least several weeks and possibly several months.
Continually monitoring your credit ensures that you don’t get any surprises when you need to use your credit. It also helps you to report identity theft by the required deadlines to receive fraud protection from your banks.
What Identity Theft Insurance Does
When your identity is stolen, there are two sets of costs. The first is any unauthorized transactions. These are usually covered by your bank fraud protection.
The second is the cost of clearing your name and credit report of any debts or score impacts caused by the identity theft. This is usually not covered by bank fraud protection and requires separate insurance if you don’t want to pay the costs on your own.
Get an Identity Theft Insurance Quote
To learn more about ID theft insurance or to receive a quote, contact us today! We’re here to help you meet all of your insurance needs.