Every year millions of people learn how easy it is for someone to steal their identity. In fact, ID Theft is the fastest growing crime against consumers in the United States. Identity Theft coverage protects you against expenses incurred as the result of this fraud.

There is no guarantee that you won’t be a victim of identity theft some day, but there are ways to decrease your chances. Adding an Identity Theft rider to your homeowner’s policy will at least protect you against legal fees and damages that occur as a result of the fraud. Contact us to add Identity Theft coverage to your policy.

For more information on Identity Theft, visit the Identity Theft Resource Center or www.fightidentitytheft.com. Learn additional ways to Minimize Your Risk of Identity Theft!

Shred Your Paperwork

Can someone legally dig through your trash looking for credit card receipts, account numbers, or your social security number? The U.S. Supreme Court implies that the answer is yes. In the decision California vs. Greenwood, The U.S. Supreme Court stated that the "expectation of privacy in trash left for collection in an area accessible to the public... is unreasonable."

In other words, when you throw something in the trash, it is available to anyone willing sort through the “garbage” to find morsels of information that can ruin your credit and cause you tremendous inconvenience.

The answer is easy – Shred everything!

Anything that has a signature, account number, social security number, or medical or legal information (plus credit offers) should be shredded.

As identity theft continues to be a major threat to consumers in the United States, there are certain basic steps that have become appropriate, in order to prevent the crime from happening again and again, according to the FACTA Disposal Rule. Destroying or shredding paper records containing consumer information is generally recommended by the FTC, according to the new act. Depending upon the volume of personal records, this method of destruction can be accomplished easily with the purchase of a shredder. Read more about why you need a shredder.

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Opt Out of Marketing Lists

Those pre-approved credit-card offers you get in the mail can make you vulnerable to identity theft. To reduce the number of offers you get, you can request that your name be removed from marketing lists. Here’s how:

  • 1-888-5-OPT OUT

This service is maintained by the three national credit reporting agencies, which takes you off pre-approved credit offer lists.

By contacting the Direct Marketing Association, you reduce the volume of unsolicited offers by opting out of e-mail, telephone and mail marketing lists. You’ll have to make a separate opt-out request for each type of list.

  • To opt out of mailing lists:
    Direct Marketing Association
    Mail Preference Service
    PO Box 643
    Carmel, NY 10512
  • To opt out of e-mail lists:
  • To opt out of telephone lists:
    Direct Marketing Association
    Telephone Preference Service
    Box 643
    Carmel, NY 10512

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What steps should you take if you’re a victim?

Linda Foley, executive director of the Identity Theft Resource Center, says you should contact the three credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—to monitor and dispute the fraudulent activity. Once you establish evidence that fraud occurred, contact the police.

You can also put a fraud alert on your account, though that won’t guarantee protection. "When you place a fraud alert with the three credit reporting agencies, what most people don’t realize is that this is advisory in nature and not mandatory," Linda says.

Victims also face the challenge of cleaning up their credit report, so Linda suggests keeping detailed records of any related verbal or written communication – for at least 10 to 20 years – to aid that process.

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