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What is identity theft?
According to the Department of Justice, “Identity theft and identity fraud are terms used to refer to all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain. In the United States and Canada, for example, many people have reported that unauthorized persons have taken funds out of their bank or financial accounts, or, in the worst cases, taken over their identities altogether, running up vast debts and committing crimes while using the victims’ names. In many cases, a victim’s losses may include not only out-of-pocket financial losses, but substantial additional financial costs associated with trying to restore his reputation in the community and correcting erroneous information for which the criminal is responsible.”
What can you do to prevent identity theft?
Taking steps to protect your identity is important. Here are some suggestions:
Tips for All Consumers to Prevent Identity Theft
What steps should I take if I am (or think I may be) the victim of a data breach or cyber attack?
You may want to consider placing a freeze on your credit report with the three major credit reporting agencies. This allows you to restrict access to your credit report, making it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. Be sure to protect the information of your family as well – including children and elderly parents. For more information about a credit freeze, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information Credit Freeze FAQs. Contact your bank or credit card company if you notice suspicious activity on your account. You may ask them to put a security block on your account or preemptively request a new credit or debit card.
Make sure to closely monitor your accounts, credit score, bank, credit card and other financial information. You should also monitor Explanation of Benefits (EOB) forms from your health insurer or Medicare. If you spot charges for medical services you did not receive, contact your health insurer or Medicare immediately.
Can you insure against identity theft?
If you are a victim of identity theft, it can be very costly to reestablish your credit and identity. Several companies are now offering identity theft insurance, which generally costs between $25 and $60 per year. Identity theft insurance cannot protect you from becoming a victim of identity theft and does not cover direct monetary losses incurred as result of identity theft. Instead, identity theft insurance provides coverage for the cost of reclaiming your financial identity, such as the costs of making phone calls, making copies, mailing documents, taking time off from work without pay (lost wages) and hiring an attorney.
Things To Consider
Before You Buy
Check to see if your current homeowner insurer includes identity theft insurance as part of your homeowner’s insurance. If not, you may be able to add identity theft insurance to your homeowner’s policy for a small fee or purchase a stand-alone policy from another insurer, bank or credit card company.
As with any insurance product, make sure you understand what you are purchasing and compare the product’s price, coverage and deductibles among multiple insurers.
Consumer Alert: February 2015 |
Anthem Cyber Attack May Affect 62,000 Delaware Residents
Premera Blue Cross: March 2015 | Health insurance company from Washington state, Premera, says it was a victim of cyberattack
Answer: Members of other Blue Cross Blue Shield plans who have sought treatment in Washington or Alaska may be affected. Premera is mailing letters to anyone whose information may have been accessed during this attack.
Links to Related Pages Within Our Website
Credit Scoring: Learn more about how your credit score can impact your insurance rates and how you can access free credit reports.
Fraud Prevention: Learn more about insurance fraud and how to report suspected fraud in Delaware.
Licensee Look-Up: When you’re working with anyone selling an insurance product (life insurance, auto insurance, annuities, etc.) always verify that they have a valid license to do so. Use the free Licensee Look-Up tool to verify that your agent or broker is licensed in Delaware and confirm that their license is “Active”.
Links to External Webpages
Federal Trade Commission: Identity Theft
Federal Trade Commission: Medical Identity Theft
Federal Trade Commission: Scam Alerts
This page was created with content from various sources including the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
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