They’re not you, but they’re using your credit card. They’ve also dipped into your bank account.
Identity theft can be a devastating experience. Victims may spend months or even years sorting through the disaster left in the wake of an identity thief. Educating yourself about this crime and how to protect yourself will help you avoid its damaging effects.
First, understand how identity thieves typically get their hands on someone else’s secure information. The most common methods include stealing physical documents (wallet, checkbook, credit card, bills or statements), stealing hardware (thumb drives, laptops, tablets), obtaining information via phone calls (scammers posing as legitimate professionals), and obtaining information online (email scams, hacking).
Take steps to protect your personal information from each of these methods. Keep all documents secure and never give out personal information to unverified sources. Appropriate security software can also help prevent online breaches.
Even with the proper precautions in place, you may suffer from a determined identity thief. In this case, it is important to have proper coverage. Many credit cards provide some liability relief, and homeowner’s or renter’s policies often include some limited protection for loss of cash or credit cards. However, this is not sufficient coverage if your identity is stolen.
To protect yourself from the financial loss, reputational consequences, and credit issues that can result from identity theft, look to insurance products that cover these costs. Policies vary, and can cover everything from minor assistance to major restoration services.
Your coverage can provide a consumer fraud specialist or case manager, replacement of government-issued identifications, reimbursement of attorney’s fees, assistance with credit restoration, and assistance with hearings and charges related to fraud.
Extending beyond basic coverage, these restoration services can be life-changing. Consult with your insurance provider to learn what options are available for you.