The Growing Problem of Identity Theft, Part 2

Part 2, How we can protect ourselves

As discussed in Part 1 the terms data breach and identity theft are relatively new terms that can have devastating effects on our personal lives. Billions of personal records have been stolen and it seems that data breaches are in the news every day.ID Theft

In today’s world your credit rating is very important. It’s a determining factor in the amount of interest that you pay; it affects your insurance rates; it can affect your employment, and your children’s future. Therefore it is vitally important that we do everything that we can to protect our good name.

What can we do to protect ourselves? There are both preventative and reactionary measures that we can take to protect both our credit and our identity.

For the individual, insurance companies offer a type of reactionary identity theft protection. If your Identity is stolen they will then step in to try and help bring your name back to where it was before the incident. There are limitations to this coverage but these coverages do help to alleviate some of the expenses in regaining your identity.

LifelockAlso for the individual there are credit monitoring companies like Lifelock that will monitor your credit for you and notify you of any activity on your credit report. Lifelock will also monitor individual credit accounts as well as bank accounts.

For business owners that are concerned about their client records many insurance companies now offer data breach coverage with the Business Owner Policy. The amount of the coverage can be customized to the size of business and the exposure associated with the business. If an incident did happen the coverage would kick in to help out with the expenses associated with the notices that must be sent to potentially affected clients. These notices are required by law. In most cases the policy would also help with expenses in offering additional services to the affected clients and with any legal fees associated with the breach.

Both Insurance companies and credit monitoring companies are a good start to protecting you identity, but there is more that you can do.images8AMQY7Z5

While there is no 100% bullet proof way to keep a criminal from stealing your identity there are some things that you can do to protect yourself. Here is a list of 10 things that will help you to protect you identity.

1. Shred your personal documents instead of just throwing them in the trash. Thieves are not too proud to go dumpster diving.

2. Check your credit report once per year. You can get a free credit report at http://www.annualcreditreport.com. You can dispute inaccuracies at the credit reporting agencies.

3. Carefully read your credit card statements each month to make sure that there are no unauthorized charges. Even small unauthorized charges could be an indication that a thief is getting ready to make a big purchase on your card.

4. Don’t leave your mail in the mailbox for too long. A lot of personal identifying information comes to us in our daily mail via USPS.

5. Don’t give out your personal information over the phone, or in an email. In recent times it’s become clear that phone conversations can be monitored and emails can be hacked.

6. Protect your Social Security Number. We take it for granted, but people entering into the country illegally are in search for good Social Security numbers.

7. Keep your computer secure with antivirus software and firewalls. Sometimes that pesky virus on your computer is looking for your personal information.

8. Don’t let your credit card out of sight. A big scam that was going on in the Chicago area a few years back involved waiters taking the clients credit card to the back of the restaurant and stealing the information to use later on. Have the waiter bring you the card machine instead.

9. Avoid doing business online with companies that you don’t know anything about.

10. Don’t open attachments or click on links from people that you don’t know.

For more information on how you can protect your identity theft contact Brian Bragg at Bragg Insurance Agency at 317-758-5828, or by email at brian@bragginsurance.com. For related information visit http://www.bragginsuranceblog.com

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