Waaytv.com has posted an article with some good pointers for avoiding identity theft and good news about identity theft and homeowners insurance. About 9 million Americans are victims of identity theft annually. The big problem is that people usually don’t even know they’re victims of it until they are contacted about bills or other expenses that the thief is responsible for. Normally, victims of identity theft spend about $1,200 of their own money and 175 hours to reverse the damage. If you suspect your identity has been stolen, contact your bank and credit card companies immediately.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said: “Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the country… It can happen to anybody… it doesn’t matter how big you are, how little you are, how famous you are, how unknown you are…”
The good news is that several homeowners insurance companies cover identity theft as part of their policies. The coverage can cover things such as reimbursement for “expenses lost during the process,” phone bills, mailing costs, lost wages and legal fees. It costs between $25-50 to add identity theft coverage to a homeowners/renters insurance policy.
Here are some tips to help protect your identity:
Never give personal information to anyone over the telephone.
Keep non-essential cards (medical card, identification badges, social security, credit cards) at home.
Invest in a locking mailbox. Never send outgoing mail through non-secure mailboxes.
Shred all documents that include your name, birth date, or other sensitive information, including junk mail. Determined identity thieves will often rummage through garbage cans to obtain discarded mail.
Make sure you have firewall, anti-spyware and anti-virus programs installed on your computer.
Check your credit report periodically. Consumers are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus-Equifax (http://www.equifax.com), Experian (http://www.experian.com), and TransUnion (http://www.transunion.com/).
Consider investing in a homeowners insurance policy. A number of homeowners insurance companies offer identity theft protection as a part of their insurance policy.
If you have been a victim of identity theft and have further questions or concerns, feel free to contact us through our website or by calling 205-879-2447.
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