Nov 201502

Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft This Holiday Season

One way to help prevent identity theft: Limit what you carry in your wallet, keeping your Social Security card, birth certificate, passport and extra credit cards at hand only when absolutely necessary.
Nov 201502

Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft This Holiday Season

Long & Foster Insurance Offers Identity Theft Prevention Tips

During this busy holiday shopping season, Long & Foster Insurance, a leading independent insurance agency that represents many of the nation’s top rated insurance companies, reminds consumers to remain aware of the risks of identity theft. Thieves need only a single piece of personal information to steal your identity, so it’s essential that you properly protect your personal and financial information.

Additionally, with technology advancing every day, it is important to know what you can do to protect yourself before it is too late. Long & Foster Insurance and Travelers, one of Long & Foster Insurance’s partner providers and the first company to offer identity fraud expense reimbursement insurance, recommend the following identity theft prevention tips:

  • Visit www.annualcreditreport.com at least once every 12 months to check your credit report from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. If you suspect that there are any inaccuracies, call the bureau immediately.
  • Do not use your social security number as an identifier at work or school or on your driver’s license.
  • Create passwords and PINs that you can easily remember but are difficult for others to guess.
  • Destroy financial and personal documents, including bills, statements and pre-approved credit card offers, with a paper shredder before throwing them away.
  • Limit what you carry in your wallet, keeping your Social Security card, birth certificate, passport and extra credit cards at hand only when absolutely necessary.
  • Use the post office instead of your mailbox to send documents that contain personal information.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings especially when using an ATM, entering PINs or making a purchase with a credit card. Scam artists can easily look over your shoulder, or even spy from far away to steal your information.
  • Use caution when responding to, or clicking on, an unfamiliar or unsolicited email.
  • Be aware of your personal information. Know where it is going and to whom if you choose to enter it online. Read each website’s privacy policy and check for the padlock icon on the bottom of the screen to help ensure your privacy.
  • Avoid sending personal or financial information to anyone via email. It is much safer to furnish this information over the phone, provided you are the one who initiated the call.
  • Report any suspicious activity to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) immediately. For more important prevention tips visit the FTC website at www.consumer.gov/idtheft.

Long & Foster Insurance, through Travelers, offers identity fraud expense coverage as an endorsement to a Travelers homeowners, condo or renters policy. In addition, Long & Foster Insurance and Travelers offer resolution services that can help you in the event you become a victim of identity theft. A consumer fraud specialist will walk you through the steps to reclaim your identity and repair your financial history, including ordering credit reports, alerting credit reporting agencies, enrolling you in six months of daily credit monitoring and preparing dispute letters on your behalf.

“Repairing the damage that’s done from identity theft can be a long, expensive and complex process,” said Patrick Bain, president of Long & Foster Insurance. “When you add identity fraud expense coverage to your policy, though, you not only protect yourself from the out-of-pocket expenses associated with cleaning up your credit, but also gain a sense of security that qualified fraud specialists will be there to guide you through the identity theft recovery process, should you need it.”

For information and quotes on insurance coverage, visit www.longandfoster.com/insurance.