Protect Yourself from Cyber Crime

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Identity fraud is one of the fastest growing types crime in the U.S. and it can be devastating. When your identity is stolen, it usually takes a fair amount of time and money, and a considerable amount of frustration, to make sure the fraud is contained and you don’t suffer any more adverse consequences.

What is identity theft?

Identity theft, also known as identity fraud, is a crime in which an imposter obtains key pieces of personally identifiable information, such as Social Security or driver's license numbers, in order to impersonate someone else. Different types of identity theft include tax-related, medical, child and senior and more.

What are the current trends of cyber crime?

  • New-account fraud continues unabated - Following the introduction of microchip equipped credit cards, attacks shift to fraudulently opening accounts that allow them with access to a victims personal information. At the same time, these hackers have become better at evading detection.
  • Card-not-present (CNP) fraud rises significantly - Driven by closing opportunities for point-of-sale fraud and the growth of e- and m-commerce, attacks are increasingly moving online, dramatically increasing the prevalence of CNP fraud by 40 percent. 
  • Account takeover bounces back - Both account takeover incidence and losses rose notably in 2016. Total ATO losses reached $2.3 billion, a 61 percent increase from 2015, while incidence rose 31 percent. Account takeover continues to be one of the most challenging fraud types for consumers with victims paying an average of $263 out of pocket costs.

What do I do if I think my identity has been stolen?

If you think your identity has been stolen, report it immediately. IdentityTheft.gov is a great resource. You can report the incident and get help in putting together a recovery plan.

What is identity theft insurance?

Identity theft insurance provides reimbursement for expenses you have to pay to fight identity fraud and restore your name and credit. Depending on your policy, these costs can include the following:

  • Expense reimbursement in connection with medical identity or tax ID fraud
  • Travel expenses
  • New Government IDs
  • Lost wages
  • Attorney fees
  • Resolution services to restore your credit
  • Counseling from identity theft specialists
  • Loan application fees if you have to reapply following rejection of an original loan application due to identity fraud, this could be the way you discover the fraud.

Is identity theft insurance expensive?

No. It generally runs in a $25-$40 range, for limits of $15,000 to $35,000. Obviously, the price can vary depending on the type of services offered, the limit selected, and on your risk assessment. Identity theft is generally offered as an add-on to a homeowners’ policy, which helps keep it affordable.

Sources:

2017 Identity Fraud Study, Javelin Strategy & Research. 1 Feb 2017. https://www.javelinstrategy.com/press-release/identity-fraud-hits-record-high-154-million-us-victims-2016-16-percent-according-new

Identity Theft and Cyber Crime, Insurance Information Institute.
 http://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/identity-theft-and-cybercrime