Identity thieves will steal your wallet, purse or laptop, pick through your mail, dig through your garbage, hack into your computer or stage email and telephone scams to obtain your personal information. They’ll stop at nothing to obtain as much personal and/or financial information about you as they can get. Then they’ll go online and take advantage of you for their own benefit.

To thwart identity thieves, you must be diligent about protecting your personal property and information—whether it’s in your mailbox, on your person or in your computer.

Computer Precautions

  • Update your anti-virus software regularly or use a firewall protection program.
  • When getting a new computer, delete personal files from your old computer by using a “wipe” utility program to “clean” information off of your hard drive.

Mail Precautions

  • Retrieve your mail every day from your personal mailbox.
  • Drop outgoing mail, especially bills and other payments, into a secure, locked mailbox. Do so before the last pickup of the day.
  • Pay attention to when you should receive bills. Late bills may indicate a problem, because identity thieves may change your billing address.
  • When traveling, have your mail held at the post office or ask a neighbor to pick it up for you each day.
  • If you move, notify the post office of your new address.
  • Don’t leave important mail in an unsecured location, even if it’s a place you think things are secure, such as your desk at work.

Personal Items and Information Precautions

  • Carry only what you absolutely need in your wallet or purse, and keep an itemized list at home of what you carry. In the event that your property is stolen, you will know exactly which companies to notify to cancel and/or freeze your accounts.
  • Provide your personal information to businesses on a “need to know” basis only.
  • Ask your financial institution to omit your Social Security Number and driver’s license number from your checks.
  • Request that account numbers or identification numbers be changed if they are your Social Security Number.
  • Write “see ID” on the backs of your credit cards instead of signing them.
  • Purchase a shredder to destroy personal and financial documents that you do not want to keep.

For added protection, consider affordable Identity Theft coverage to cover the added expense of clearing your good name.

Insurance Coverage

While ID Theft Insurance does not protect against the actual monetary theft, it does cover the costs victims will incur while they rebuilding their identity. The coverage may include:

  • Phone call and photocopying charges
  • Postage fees for mailing documents
  • Salary loss due to uncompensated time away from work while repairing one’s identity
  • Legal fees
  • Access to a fraud specialist who can assist in restoring good credit and protecting one’s identity again
  • Help with preparing documents, filing police reports and creating a fraud victim affidavit

Since victims may spend a considerable amount of time recovering from ID theft, these services can make the situation a little less stressful, both on the mind and the pocketbook.  Contact BHC Insurance in Fort Smith, Northwest Arkansas or Sallisaw for details today.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as professional advice.