In this digital era, identity theft poses one of the greatest possible threats to your privacy and security. If you’re lucky, your homeowner’s insurance may include identity theft protection. This may give you an added sense of security, but you should keep in mind that this is by no means a preventative measure. It’s true that identity theft insurance can assist with legal fees and lost wages that might ensue if your identity is stolen. But the security of your identity is ultimately in your hands. Here are the basics of identity theft, and what you can do to protect yourself.
What is Identity Theft?
At its most basic level, identity theft occurs when someone gets ahold of your personal information and uses it to commit fraud. The most common forms of personal information used to perform identity theft are Social Security numbers, credit card information, and full names.
The unfortunate truth is that there is no way to completely protect yourself from identity theft in the modern era. For instance, one of the most common ways personal information is stolen is through online data breaches. Such breaches have occurred even on well-known websites administered by reputable companies. This is why it is such a good idea to ask your insurance agent if your insurance policy included identity theft protection.
That said, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself.
Empty Your Mailbox Every Day
Another way that identity thieves like to steal personal information is by gathering paper mail. It’s always a good idea to empty your mailbox every day, and ideally shortly after it has been delivered. If you know you will be away for a long time, you could also place a hold on mail delivery. This will help to limit thieves’ ability to pilfer personal information sent to you in the mail.
Guard Your Information
This may go without saying, but you should do everything in your power to guard your personal information, such as SSN and card numbers. You may be tempted to store them in your phone or computer. In this case, it’s best to go the old-fashioned way, and keep your SSN card in paper form only, and stored somewhere safe. Also, be sure not to share any of this information too loosely.
Watch Your Receipts and Bank Statements
A great way to stay on top of your personal finances is to review your bank statement regularly, and to hold onto your receipts. Thankfully, reviewing your bank statement has become much easier in the digital era. With your receipts in hand, you can be on the lookout for any discrepancies between the amount you should have paid and what was actually paid out of your account.
The above tips are just a few simple precautions you can take to prevent identity theft. But remember, even if you take all the right steps, it can still happen. Consider evaluating your homeowner’s insurance policy for identity theft protection.
Get in Touch with Wachter Insurance
Whether you need homeowners’ insurance or auto insurance, our team at Wachter Insurance Agency, Inc. is here to help. We offer all of our clients competitive rates, professional customer service, and a huge range of policies to choose from for your needs. We have been serving Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia since 1969, and we would love to help keep your home and family safe every day of the year. For more information, give us a call at (301) 371-6335 or visit us online. For more blogs like these, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.