Stories of the struggle of those falling victim to identity theft dot the news headlines regularly. In addition to taking sensible precautions, what can you do to protect yourself? Consider identity theft insurance.
The Basics of Identity Theft
Identity theft occurs when others obtain and use your personal information without your permission. Once your personal information is obtained, thieves can use existing or open new credit cards in your name, write bad checks or take out loans.
Before you catch wind that your identity has been stolen, your credit may be tarnished and thieves may have racked up significant debt, all in your name!
What is Identity Theft Insurance?
Identity theft insurance can be purchased as a stand-alone policy or added as endorsement to your existing homeowners or automobile insurance coverage. Though identity theft insurance does not protect against the cost of the actual theft, it is a relatively inexpensive insurance option that reimburses for the cost of reclaiming your identity. This includes the following:
- Phone call charges, photocopying costs and postage fees
- Salary loss due to uncompensated time off from work
- Legal fees
Additionally, you’ll gain access to a fraud specialist who can assist you in restoring your good name and protecting your identity. This service accompanies reimbursement for expenses associated with credit restoration, as noted above.
Identity Theft Protection Suggestions:
- Carry only the necessary amount of personal information in your purse or wallet.
- Shield yourself when using an ATM or making a credit card purchase.
- Do not throw credit card or ATM receipts away in public trash receptacles.
- Monitor your accounts regularly by checking statements to make sure that all documented transactions are justified. If you suspect a problem, contact the company or bank immediately.
- Order a copy of your credit report from all of the three major credit bureaus. You are entitled to one free credit report per year from each. This document outlines where you live, accounts opened in your name, how you pay your bills and more. Inspect these documents closely to uncover any indiscretions or activities that you did not authorize.
- Create passwords that do not use easily obtainable information on your accounts and credit cards.
- Never give out your personal information to parties you do not know.
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