Many Roseville Home Insurance Policies cover ID Theft as do Rocklin Home Insurance policies - but ID Theft is still a major problem and a major interruption in someone's life:

The annual Christmas shopping season has officially begun. In fact, nearly 65 percent of the annual retail profits are generated in the weeks leading up to Chanukah, Christmas and New Year's Day. While all of this spending is good for the economy, it is also a gift for criminals seeking to steal credit cards and other personal information from harried holiday shoppers, says the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

"Losing yourself in the spirit of the holidays is one thing, but losing your identity to a thief can turn the most joyful person into Scrooge," says Jeanne M. Salvatore, vice president, Consumer Affairs, Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.). 

Each year, more than 85,000 people will be the victims of identity fraud, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The states with the most victims are California, New York, Texas, Florida and Illinois.

According to a recent survey by the CyberSource Corporation, merchants expect more credit card fraud this year than last year and are stepping up efforts to thwart would-be criminals. The survey also reported that 20 percent of credit card fraud can be averted by "vigilant human intervention."

"Shoppers need to carefully guard their credit cards, phone cards, drivers' licenses and social security numbers," warns Salvatore. "The crime of identity fraud is becoming more common. Criminals steal personal information and use it to impersonate a victim. Thieves can use this information to steal from bank accounts, establish phony insurance policies, open unauthorized credit cards, lease apartments or obtain unauthorized bank loans with the stolen information."

To protect your hard earned money this holiday season, the I.I.I. suggests you:

  • Limit the amount of personal information in your purse or wallet to the bare minimum. Avoid carrying additional credit cards, socials security cards, a birth certificate or passport unless absolutely necessary.
  • When making purchases, guard your card. Shield your hand when using ATM machines or making long distance phone calls with phone cards. You don't want to fall prey to "shoulder surfers" who may be nearby.
  • Always take credit card or ATM receipts. Don't throw them into public trash containers, leave them on the counter or put them in your shopping bag where they can easily fall out or get stolen. 
  • If you plan to do your shopping on-line, make sure that you are buying from a reputable retailer.
  • Check your bank and credit card statements carefully to make sure all of the transactions are accurate.

If you are the victim of a crime, report it to the store and police immediately. This will help apprehend the criminal by tracking crime patterns. Ask for a police report. This will help you if you decide to file an insurance claim or want to report the crime to the FTC for their assistance. Victims of identity fraud can contact the FTC at 877-IDTHEFT or www.consumer.gov/idtheft.

According to the Privacy Rights Clearing House, the average identity theft victim spends 175 hours to restore their identity. Losses to credit cards generally average $18,000, but victims are generally only liable for the first $50 dollars. 

Protecting your credit history is very important, since this information is used by insurers, employers and others, according to the I.I.I. At least once a year, contact the major credit reporting agencies to review your file. The three major credit bureaus are: Equifax www.equifax.com, TransUnion www.transunion.com and Experian www.experian.com.

Theft of personal possessions is generally covered by homeowners and renters insurance policies. Consumers may also consider obtaining identity theft insurance. It provides reimbursement to crime victims for the cost of restoring their identity and repairing credit reports. Some companies now include it as part of their homeowners insurance policy. Others sell it as either a stand alone policy or as an endorsement to a homeowners or renters insurance policy. On average, these policies cost between $25 and $50 for $15,000 to $25,000 worth of coverage. Identity theft insurance provides reimbursement for expenses such as phone bills, lost wages, notary and certified mailing costs and sometimes attorney fees with the prior consent of the insurer. 

Credit for this article goes to the below:

If you have any questions regarding insurance, contact your insurance company or representative. For a list of resources regarding identity theft, you can access the I.I.I. website at www.iii.org.

The Insurance Information Institute is non-profit, communications organization supported by the property/casualty insurance business.