It is estimated that 1 in 5 families in the United States has been the victim of identity theft. Criminals use your
good name, social security number, credit card number or other pieces of your personal information for their own
gain. And then, you waste valuable time and energy trying to clear your good name. Some insurance companies
offer Identity Theft protection to their customers at little or no cost as an added benefit. Check with your agent
to see if this coverage is available on your policy.
How do they do it?
Theft of wallets and purses was once the most common way to obtain identity documents and account
information. Today, identity thieves attack virtually every area of an individual's life. These are among the most
Dumpster diving in trash bins for credit card statements, loan applications, and other documents containing names, addresses, account information, and SSNs.
Stealing mail from unlocked mailboxes to get pre-approved credit offers, credit cards, utility bills, bank and credit card statements, investment reports, insurance statements, benefits documents, and tax information.
Impersonating a loan officer, employer, or landlord to get fraudulent access to credit files.
Insider access to names, addresses, birth dates, and SSNs in personnel or customer files.
Shoulder surfing at ATM machines and phone booths to capture PINs.
Online sources of personal data, such as public records and fee-based information sites.
10 Ways to Protect Against Mail Theft
Never put outbound mail into an unsecured mailbox, especially if it contains checks or sensitive personal information. Instead, take it to a U.S. Post Office branch or place it in a U.S.P.S. mail collection box.
Always use a locking mailbox for incoming mail. Install a locking mailbox approved as secure by the U.S. Postal Service or use a U.S. Post Office box. Contact your local Postmaster for regulations and specifications regarding locking mailboxes.
Remove mail from your mailbox promptly, especially if your mailbox is not secure. If you won't be home when sensitive or valuable mail is delivered, have it held or have a trusted neighbor or friend retrieve it.
Don't have blank checks delivered to your home address. Instead, have them held at your bank branch until you can pick them up personally.
Don't have mail delivered while you're out of town. Have the post office hold your mail if you'll be away.
Reduce the number of credit offers sent to you by mail. Contact the three major credit reporting agencies and have your credit report marked "no solicitation."
Make sure you're informed when sensitive mail has been sent to you, and follow up quickly if it doesn't arrive as expected.
Consider starting or joining a Neighborhood Watch program. If you see a mail theft in progress, be a good witness by calling 911 and providing the best possible description of any persons and vehicles involved.
At the workplace, watch out for "Financial Friday" mail theft. Leaving mail in unsecured locations over the weekend in order to leave work a little earlier is a dangerous practice that identity thieves know and exploit.
If you feel you've been victimized in a mail fraud scheme that involves the U.S. Mail, submit a Mail Fraud Complaint Form to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. If you have become a victim of identity theft, contact the FTC, the credit bureaus, and your bank, and obtain expert guidance immediately to resolve your problem as quickly as possible.
What are the risks of using the Internet and other networks?
There are three main threats to the data on your computer: malicious software, network intrusion by hackers, and
To protect your computer against viruses, spyware, and Trojan horse programs (which let hackers control your
computer), you must use antivirus software — and keep it updated. To keep intruders out, connect to the Internet
through a properly configured firewall, which can be software or device-based; this is especially important if you
have an "always on" Internet connection, such as a cable modem or DSL. Avoid using public computers for online
banking, email account access, or other sensitive exchanges of information — keystroke loggers, web "cookies,"
or cached pages may be capturing your data. Similarly, be cautious in sending sensitive data over wireless
networks. And be careful what you send via email — unencrypted text and attachments can be intercepted as
they travel across the Internet.
Finally, beware of "phishing" and "pharming" scams, which use fake corporate email, redirected web addresses,
and "cloned" corporate web pages to plant viruses and con users into providing sensitive information. Never
provide identity or account information in response to an email, or if you have any doubt about the authenticity of
a web site.
Century Insurance Agency
1406 N Pines Rd
Spokane Valley WA 99206
1406 N Pines Rd Spokane Valley WA 99206