The Federal Trade Commission processed 2.8 million fraud reports—
totaling more than $5.8 billion in losses in 2021. Identity theft occurs
when an unauthorized person uses your personal identifying information (e.g.,
your name, Social Security number, credit card number or financial account
information), without permission.
You may not realize you are a victim until you review your financial
statements, or you are contacted by a debt collector.
Reduce the risk of identity theft and protect yourself by:
• Shredding documents with personal information, including pre-approved
• Reviewing financial account and billing statements.
• Using fire walls, anti-spyware and antivirus software and keep it updated.
• Using trusted, encrypted websites— do not respond to spam, pop-ups or
• Limiting the amount of personal information on social-networking sites.
• Using strong and different passwords on each online credit and banking
• Destroying labels on prescription bottles before you throw them out.
Additionally, you should never provide personal information over the phone,
through the mail or internet unless you know the firm or person. And, never
carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your number on a check.
You shouldn’t share your health plan information with anyone who offers free
health services. If you are an active-duty military member and away from your
usual duty station, place an active-duty alert on your credit reports to minimize
the risk while deployed. This will remove your information for prescreened credit
card offers for two years.
Even if you take precautions, identity theft can happen to you. It has serious
implications, such as: loss of money and time spent to repair damage to
your name and credit record; loss of job opportunities; denied loans for housing,
cars or education; and possible arrest for crimes you did not commit.
For more information on identity theft and for a reporting portal, you can log
on to the FBI Cyber Crime website: www.fbi.gov/investigate/cyber.
Identity-theft insurance can provide reimbursement for expenses resulting
from the crime, such as phone bills, lost wages, notary and certified-mailing costs
and attorney fees. It is inexpensive and may be endorsed to your homeowners or
renters insurance policies.
If you are interested in the insurance, give our agency a call, we can provide
more details on this coverage.