If somebody steals your personal information to commit a crime it’s called identity theft. Thieves do anything from hacking into national databases to pulling bank statements from the trash. No matter how these criminals obtain such sensitive data as your checking account or social security number, you can lose money and have your credit damaged when somebody else pretends to be you in order to conduct business. With this min mind, have you ever considered protecting your identity and your finances by buying identity theft protection insurance?
Is Identity Theft a Big Problem?
If you pay attention to news stories, you’ve probably heard about the criminals who have hacked into national retailers and financial institutions. Closer to home, there have been plenty of stories from Chicago and even from Rolling Meadows about stolen checks, credit cards, drivers licenses, and insurance cards. In some cases, the thieves steal the physical object, but at other times, they gain this information by pretending to be somebody else over the phone or on the internet or by hacking into email and databases. In turn, the criminals may use what they’ve stolen to obtain fraudulent loans, make purchases, or obtain cash.
Many victims don’t realize there’s a problem until weeks later when they get denied for a loan or receive unexpected bills. That’s why you should consider checking your credit score and financial statements frequently. The sooner you act, the faster you can minimize the damage.
You may already have access to credit and identity monitoring services. Some employers offer these services as a benefit, and lots of banks, credit cards, and other financial companies provide them as well. If you can use one of these services, you should explore it. Besides monitoring your credit, you should also take care to check your banks and loan statements for unexpected charges. You should try to defend yourself by carefully guarding all of your sensitive information.
If You Monitor Your Identity, Do You Still Need Extra Identity Theft Protection?
Identity and credit monitoring can help you, but it’s very likely that you will still only know that you’ve become a victim of identity theft after it has already happened. In that case, you should take quick action. Of course, you can perform many of the steps on your own by freezing your credit and notifying the police and businesses. This can take time, and in some cases, you might need to pay for documents, mailing, and in the most serious cases, lawyers.
Besides reimbursing you for your time and expenses, identity protection plans may also come with tools that can make some of these tasks easier. Often, the services will let you access experienced representatives, and you might benefit from guides to help you through the process faster and with less stress. The service may also include online tools that you can use to order documents, freeze your credit, and contact credit bureaus. While you may not need legal assistance to repair damages, some plans also cover a lawyer’s bills.
In any case, these plans can vary quite a bit, depending upon the insurance company and the specific plan that you choose. If you decide that identity theft protection can offer you peace of mind, you should compare the premiums and the services offered. Sometimes, you can purchase this kind of coverage as an extra rider on your renters and homeowners insurance policies, but you may also choose to buy one of the standalone plans.
Find Out More About Identity Theft Insurance Plans
At AFI Insurance, we’ve helped customers find the best protection at the right price for over three decades. We’re here to answer your questions about identity theft and various kinds of insurance, so call or email us at your convenience about your business and personal insurance needs.
As independent agents, we shop for the best rates and benefits. We also work with our clients when they need to make an insurance claim.