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Identity Theft: How to Protect and Detect

We have become so used to everyday conveniences - public Wi-Fi in our coffee shops, malls, airports and restaurants; banking in the palm of our hand and access to shopping at any hour. The on demand world we live in can be beneficial and time-saving, but can also severely damage our identity including our finances, credit and more. It’s crucial to have a plan in place for protecting your identity with active monitoring to detect any suspicious activity before it can cause long lasting effects.
2/8/2016

Identity theft is the number one consumer complaint for the 16th consecutive year, according to the 2016 Javelin Strategy and Research Annual Identity Theft Fraud Study. From 2014-2015, the Federal Trade Commission FTC reported a 47% increase in identity theft complaints - resulting in $16 billion stolen from 12.7 million U.S. consumers. 


Out of the 58,800 people surveyed, the demographic most affected by identity fraud is students, and according to Javelin’s 2015 study, they are also the least concerned. In fact, 15% experienced moderate to severe impact effects from fraud, however,  22% of the students affected by identity theft found out through a third party (debt collector or credit card company as part of being denied a credit card). What’s even scarier, students are four times more likely to be victims of “familiar” fraud (caused by family or friend), than any other consumer group. 


How do you detect fraud? It’s important to monitor any current account - banking, credit cards, credit score, healthcare accounts, email, tax accounts and more. The FTC provides some early warning signs to help detect fraud (hopefully early on), including: 

  • Withdrawals from your bank account that you did not authorize
  • Notifications of opened accounts or debts that you are unaware of 
  • Missing bills or mail


While detection is important, protection is key. Javelin’s Identity Fraud Study includes these tips on protecting your identity: 

  • Secure your cell phone - use a passcode or fingerprint and keep the software updated to its latest version. You can also set up a remote wipe of your entire device for both Apple and Android
  • Practice safe passwords - don’t use the same password twice; don’t write down your passwords, instead, use a password manager; use passwords that contain numbers, symbols and letters (lower and uppercase). 
  • Mobile payments (Apple Pay or Android Pay) and chipped cards are safer options when making purchases.
  • Don’t join Wi-i networks that are not secure - use your mobile’s network’s data stream. 
  • Sign up for account alerts - vendors will notify you by phone, text or email when an odd charge, purchase or claim has been made in your name or on an account. 
  • Purchase an identity theft detection and monitoring service that keeps a constant watchful eye on your identity and information, such as LifeLock. 


According to LifeLock, detection simply is not enough; monitoring and identity restoration are essential in today’s fight against identity theft. LifeLock not only monitors a trillion data points daily to identify any suspicious activity, they have a dedicated team of U.S. based specialists who will take care of every step to help recover your identity if it were compromised. Restoring an identity can be expensive and time consuming. According to Identity Theft Center, it can include phone calls to different organizations, filing claims, letters and disputes; LifeLock takes care of that for you. 


LifeLock has over 4 million members, a 4.4 star rating out of 5 based on 7,000 reviews. Starting at less than $10/month, your identity can stay protected, and you can have peace of mind. 


To obtain LifeLock at a discounted rate, contact your local, independent SIAA Member insurance agent.


The information on this site is general in nature. Any description of coverage is necessarily simplified. Whether a particular loss is covered depends on the specific facts and the provisions, exclusions and limits of the actual policy. Nothing on this site alters the terms or conditions of any policies, nor does it provide any guarantees. You should read your specific policy for a complete description of coverage.
 



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Identity Theft: How to Protect and Detect

We have become so used to everyday conveniences - public Wi-Fi in our coffee shops, malls, airports and restaurants; banking in the palm of our hand and access to shopping at any hour. The on demand world we live in can be beneficial and time-saving, but can also severely damage our identity including our finances, credit and more. It’s crucial to have a plan in place for protecting your identity with active monitoring to detect any suspicious activity before it can cause long lasting effects.

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