Making You Look Like the Bad Guy
Identity theft occurs when your personal identifying information is used by someone else without your permission to commit fraud and other crimes. It's a growing crime that affects millions of consumers and businesses each year at a considerable cost.
Beyond the financial burden left behind, the victims suffer considerable emotional harm from having their name and credit wrecked.
Identity thieves target financial statements and online transactions, but what you don't hear a lot about is that they can also illegally obtain insurance policies or make false insurance claims using a stolen identity. The goal is always to steal identifying information of their victims - names, addresses, birth dates, social security numbers, credit card data, and driver's license numbers.
Once they get hold of that information, identity thieves will cross the line and use your identity to obtain insurance policies or make false insurance claims. Examples include buying and insuring vehicles used in staged accidents, obtaining homeowner's insurance policies and submitting claims for
non-existent burglaries and/or thefts. All in YOUR name!
There are a number of things you can do to prevent becoming a victim of identity theft.
Shred or tear up personal financial documents before discarding them. Do this with medical records as well, as many have your social security number printed on them.
Use your social security number as little as possible
Ensure a website is securely protected before revealing any information online - like credit/debit card information when making purchases. Secure websites display a padlock symbol to the left of the website address you're visiting.
Never respond to emails requesting personal identifying information, even if they claim to be from your insurance company. Always call your insurance representative or the carrier to verify its validity.
give personal, financial, or identifying information to unknown telephone callers, no matter how convincing or kind they sound.
Always review your monthly credit/debit card statements to insure no unauthorized transactions have taken place.
Who to Call for Help
There are many ways you can protect yourself such as educating yourself on ways your private information can be stolen from you. Safeguard your personal information and learn how to detect when suspicious activity is happening.
Reporting identity theft activities to authorities as soon as you identify it is crucial to preventing the amount of suffering you will incur and limiting the amount of finanial and emotional damage you'll go through, as soon as possible.
Text FRAUD and your tip to TIP411 (847411).
Call 1-800-TEL-NICB (1-800-835-6422)
Submit a form on www.nicb.org. Your tip can be anonymous.
Finally, if the person whose identity has been stolen is having their finances managed by someone like family, a financial advisor, or a fiduciary (such as AD Fiduciary), it is important that they be notified as soon as possible. Unlike family members, these organizations have connections to companies that have special investigation units that can help turn the tables on identify thieves. Fiduciaries have a duty to carry out actions to protect you and your finances.