In the US, the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, keeps track of all the different kinds of identity theft in the country. Sadly, their records show that these crimes are even more common than they were a few years ago. Even worse, savvy criminals keep coming up with new ways to use personal information to commit fraud. Is it possible to for you to protect yourself against this growing threat?
New Identity Theft Threats
According to the FTC, today’s identity thieves mostly commonly use stolen information to commit credit card, tax, and employment fraud. On the positive side, consumers have gotten smarter about giving payment and personal information to strangers. They’ve also learned to check their bank and credit card statements more often. Very often, this is the only way to quickly learn if somebody has used your financial information to make purchases. Vigilance can help prevent some kinds of identity theft.
Still, some criminals have begun to use stolen information to open up new accounts, so just checking the accounts you know about won’t help. It’s also important to monitor your credit score. Even more, keep track of any use of your information to access new lines of credit.
If you have access to a credit monitoring service that sends out alerts for activity on your credit, you should consider using it. Otherwise, if somebody opened up an entirely new loan in your name, you may never even know until your credit score drops, you get denied for a new loan, or you get bills for late payments in the mail. Obviously, your quick reaction to any problems can minimize the damage and make it easier to recover.
How Identity Theft Protection May Help
You can take some proactive steps to protect yourself. Know who you’re dealing with when you provide sensitive information and keep track of your finances. Be sure to dispute any suspicious activity right away.
No matter what you do, you may not be able to protect yourself against every threat to your identity. Even if you’re prudent, you can’t guarantee that every service provider that you deal with is safe. Many residents of Duluth and Cloquet were impacted by recent data breaches of national banks and credit bureaus recently.
To protect yourself against identity theft, you could consider buying identity theft protection insurance. While companies sell these plans on their own, many homeowners and renters insurance companies will also offer to bundle this kind of coverage in their policies. Identity theft protection won’t usually reimburse you for any funds that you’ve already lost, but they can cover the cost of restoring your financial records and proving that you’re not responsible for fraudulent debts or tax bills. These plans may also come with tools that will help you collect and submit documents, freeze your credit, and so on.
Some plans will cover any necessary legal fees, though you may be able to fix your problem without a lawyer if you have access to the right tools and advice. Better yet, they will make sure you have the guidance you need to resolve identity theft problems in the quickest and surest way possible.
Comparing Identity Theft Protection Plans
At Great Lakes Insurance, we serve our community in Cloquet and Duluth, MN. Contact us at your earliest convenience to make sure your coverage includes all the protection you need for your auto, car, business, and identity. We work as independent agents, so we will help you find the right policy and work with you when you need to make claims.