Protect yourself from identity theft By Gretchen Hefner-Evans, The Silbernagel Group

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Jan. 1, 2017 – Kewaskum, WI – In today’s technologically-advanced society, identity theft is easier to commit than you might think.  The internet, cell phones and automated teller machines (ATMs) are now widely used for a variety of financial transactions such as shopping online and making cash withdrawals, and are often cited as two contributing factors to today’s identity theft epidemic.

Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in our country.  One out of 3.7 people will be the victim of identity theft in their lifetime.  A victim will spend, on the average, 175 hours resolving problems related to this crime.  The average cost to reconcile the damage to your identity after identity theft is $70,000.

There are many ways a criminal can obtain personal information such as shoulder surfing, pick pocketing and lost wallets, Dumpster diving, intercepting mail, and the internet.

Be proactive and protect your personal information buy asking for credit card receipts, address labels, account numbers, social security numbers, employee pay stubs, identification cards, pre-approved credit card applications, ATM receipts, utility bills, report cards.

Protect you cell phone.  One-in-three robberies today includes a cell phone in the United States.  Set your cell phone to lock automatically after a short period of inactivity.  When you don’t need them, turn off your Bluetooth, GPS, and Wi-Fi.   Never auto-save passwords.   Make use of biometrics if your phone has that capacity.  Use strong passwords or pin numbers.  Use passwords that include letter, numbers and special characters.   Do all banking and shopping over secure lines.  Be highly skeptical of any unusual text message originating on your cell phone.

If your identity is stolen, do you have protection?  You can be covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy or a free-standing policy.  Identity theft victims don’t just need financial relief-they also need expert assistance in resolving the situation.

Before you choose an ID protection service, it is important to look closely at what exactly is covered by the identity theft insurance so you don’t have any surprises in the event you are a victim.  Act and reduce your risk of identity theft now!

 

Gretchen Hefner-Evans, CISR

The Silbernagel Group

Auto, Home & Business Specialist

 

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