Identity theft occurs when criminals steal your identity by stealing your driver’s license, your passport, your social security number, or even just your name and use the information for criminal purposes. Many identity thieves will use the information to take out credit cards or loans in your name so that they are able to make purchases, but you will be held financially responsible. Identity theft is something that has seen a dramatic increase since the rise of the internet. Companies are constantly trying to create products and services that protect against identity theft, and thieves are always finding new ways to steal information. Thankfully, you can purchase identity theft insurance which will cover you in the event that someone steals your identity.
States With Most Identity Theft
Although no state is completely safe from identity theft, there are some that have a higher risk than others. The top 10 places in the United States with the biggest identity theft and fraud problems in order are:
3) New Jersey
6) District of Columbia
7) New York
8) West Virginia
10) North Dakota
If you live in one of these places, it’s a smart idea to look into identity theft insurance since your risk is higher. The FTC points out that while no one can protect you from having your identity stolen, being covered by insurance will help you recover much better and quicker if you are the victim of identity theft. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0235-identity-theft-protection-services
Most Common Methods of Identity Theft
There are many forms of identity theft, but some are more common than others. Below we describe some of the most common ways that identity thieves will try to steal identities.
Skimming – This is where thieves steal credit or debit card numbers by using a special device attached somewhere like an ATM machine or a gas pump. The machine reads the number and reports it back to the thief.
Phishing – This form of identity theft is done when thieves try to appear that they are financial institutions of companies. It is a scam where they will try to convince you to input your information over the phone or email.
Stealing – This is just plain old-fashioned stealing like stealing your wallet or purse to get either your ID card and/or credit cards.
Remote Stealing – Thieves can use a remote radio frequency device that reads your credit card information. There are companies who make wallet protectors that are supposed to block this from happening.
Consequences of Identity Theft
There can be consequences for both the thief and the victim when it comes to identity theft. If the thief is caught, they can be sentenced to jail time. Depending on how the crime is classified, the criminals will face a certain amount of jail time. If the identity theft is deemed as aggravated identity theft, then the thief faces at least two years of jail time whereas it can be less than a year if classified as a misdemeanor. Identity theft can have unintended consequences for the victim too. For example, the victim’s credit score can be detrimentally affected.
Time of Year Identity Theft Increases
The holidays should really be about holiday cheer and spending time with family. However, identity theft is the most rampant around this time of year. There are many reasons that contribute to the holidays being the most dangerous time of year for consumers to get their identity stolen. For example, sales like black Friday pose an ideal time for thieves to steal information from people. During Black Friday, both shoppers and employees are distracted and there is often a chaotic environment, so thieves are able to commit theft much easier. Additionally, many people choose to shop online and seek out the best deals for the holidays. These deals often show up on websites that a consumer isn’t familiar with, and these websites can sometimes be scams. It’s important to do your research and make sure the website where you’re entering your credit or debit card information is reliable and trustworthy.
Why You Should Consider Identity Theft Insurance
While identity theft insurance can’t necessarily prevent you from getting your identity stolen, it can help you to recover in the case that you are a victim of identity theft. Identity theft insurance often reimburses the victim for the money they have to spend reclaiming their financial identity and repairing their credit score. These costs can come in the form of legal help, paperwork processing fees, notary fees, lost wages, credit monitoring services, and even phone bills. Sometimes, identity theft insurance will be packaged into one of your other insurance plans like homeowners insurance. If it’s not packaged with another insurance plan, you can often get identity theft insurance for a low price.
Most Common Identity Theft Insurance Companies
Many insurance providers will bundle in or offer identity theft insurance as part of their services. However, there are also companies that specialize in this type of insurance. Some of the most popular ones are listed below.
LifeLock – This company is pretty well known. They offer identity theft protection for around $10-30 per month and reimbursement funds up to $1 million.
Credit Sesame – This company offers three different monitoring options ranging from around $10-$20 per month. They offer text and email alerts. In the case of a theft, they cover up to $50,000.
Identity Force – This company offers both individual and family plans for around $18-25 per month. They offer identity recover help and up to $1 million in insurance.
Identity Guard – This company offers identity theft protection plans from around $9-20 per month. They will send email and text alerts that are accompanied by ID verification. They cover $1 million in identity theft insurance.
While only really you can decide if you should get identity theft coverage, it’s smart to have some sort of plan in place in case someone is to get a hold of your credit cards, identification cards, or social security number. Stay safe and monitor your accounts on a regular basis.