According to the Insurance Information Institute, 16.7 million U.S. consumers had their identities stolen in 2017. That’s a four million increase in just two years. The cost of these thefts reached nearly $17 billion, resulting in an average loss of more than $1,000 per incident. Plus, one million of these breaches affected those you might consider unlikely victims: children.*
With this activity on the rise and with so much at stake, here are some simple practices to help you stay protected against cyber fraud.
While shopping at a store
- Keep your Social Security…secure – Only give out your Social Security Number when absolutely necessary and required. Don’t carry your card in your wallet.
- Protect your PIN – Never write a PIN on a credit/debit card or on a slip of paper kept in your wallet.
- Watch out for "shoulder surfers” – Use your free hand to shield the keypad when using checkout keypads and ATMs.
- Don’t leave your credit card visible for extended time – Identity thieves can quickly write down your card number, or may even try to take pictures of it with their mobile devices
- Keep your receipts – Promptly compare receipts with account statements. Watch for unauthorized transactions.
When shopping online
- Think before you act – Be wary of emails that offer deals that sound too good to be true, and implore you to act immediately.
- When in doubt, throw it out – If an email looks suspicious, it’s best to simply delete it or mark it as junk, and do not reply.
- Make sure the websites you visit are legitimate – This includes a closed padlock on your web browser or a URL address that begins with shttp or https.
- Protect your personal information – Make sure the information requested of you is limited to only what is needed to complete the transaction.
- Keep a clean machine – All the devices you use for shopping—including smartphones and tablets—should have up-to-date software including security software, operating systems, programs and apps.
- Be savvy about WiFi hotspots – Don’t share personal or financial information over an unsecured WiFi network, which could be a haven for ID thieves. Secure networks require a password for access.
- Keep a paper trail – Save records of your online transactions. Read your credit card statements as soon as you get them and, if there is a discrepancy, report it immediately.
The right IDea
The Hanover partners with CyberScout, the nation’s leader in identity management and fraud education, to help customers prevent and resolve identity theft. Our identity theft coverage is available through certain Hanover home insurance policies, and can be purchased as a standalone policy as well. This powerful coverage includes protection for:
- Restoration services if your wallet or purse is lost or stolen or you suspect your identity has been compromised and might be vulnerable.
- Expense reimbursement coverage for expenses such as preparing and notarizing documents, sending certified mail, reasonable attorney fees and more.
- Document replacement assistance to provide guidance and help in replacing lost, stolen or destroyed identity documents, including Social Security cards, birth certificates, passports and driver’s licenses.
Make sure you talk to your independent insurance agent today to see if you are covered in the event of an identity theft, and to learn more about the right coverage and carrier to keep you protected.
*Source: Javelin Strategy