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Reduce Your Risk of Identity Theft
By David Miller
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. For those of us that use credit cards routinely, we are potential victims of credit card fraud. Although it is not always possible to prevent fraud from happening, there are a few steps you can take to make it more difficult for a criminal to capture your card or card numbers and minimize the possibility for identity theft.
As premier risk managers, our team at The Bensman Group has provided some suggestions that can help you minimize the risk of this happening to you and shift some of the responsibility to an insurance company in the event that it does.
The first thing you should know is that credit card companies today are taking steps to make the cards more secure. Some display a photograph of the cardholder so criminals can't make face-to-face purchases with a stolen card, and most cards have holograms, secret imprints, or hidden images so thieves have a harder time making a new credit card with a stolen card number.
However, despite these improvements, it is still possible to be a victim of identity theft. Step one in mitigating your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft is to follow some precationary steps like:
Be cautious about giving out your personal information to others
Check your financial information regularly, and look for what should be there and what shouldn’t
Ask periodically for a copy of your credit report
Maintain careful records of your banking and financial accounts
Immediately report lost or stolen cards to the credit card company
Additionally, our primary carriers, Chubb, AIG, and Traveler's all offer some form of Identity Fraud Expense coverage. With the appropriate coverages these programs pay for the extra costs involved in researching and correcting credit information that is damaged after an identity theft. Note that these programs are not designed to prevent identity theft from occurring, but only to offset expenses associated with the crime.
Here are some additional helpful resources:
Identity Safeguards provides monthly monitoring of a person's credit history and alerts them of any suspicious activity. There are other benefits that can be found on their Website at www.identitysafeguards.com
If you call 888-5OPTOUT, you can have your name removed from credit card solicitation mailings for 5 years.
You can get a free copy of your credit report once a year from Equifax, Trans Union, and Experion by accessing www.annualcreditreport.com.
Lastly, here are some identity theft awareness tips:
Use a cross-cut shredder to destroy any financial information (credit card statements, utility bills, etc.) that you do not plan to keep
Shred the envelopes that contain sensitive information as well. Nobody needs to know where you bank or who issues your credit cards
Do not use your curbside mailbox to send outgoing mail. Take it to a secure mailbox that is accessible only to USPS employees.
We understand how stressful and challenging identity theft can be, and our team of experts can discuss any of your questions and concerns about it. Please contact your Bensman Representative at 847-572-0800 to discuss how we can continue help manage your risks and advance your financial goals.
All the best,
Please use the following link Bensman Group Referrals to contact us with the names of specific individuals that would appreciate an introduction to our firm.