If you’ve ever been the unfortunate victim of identity theft, you know all too well the terrible wave of panic that sweeps over you the moment you realize your information has been stolen and used fraudulently. You also know how difficult it is to put the pieces back together and recover from an incident involving identity theft or fraud.
Florida – The Identity Theft State
When it comes to stealing personal information, Florida leads the nation with over 800 complaints per 100,000 residents according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. Just a few years ago, some of the largest corporations got hit with data breeches – including Delta, Equifax, and Chipotle. Billions of consumers had a moment of panic in wondering if they were hit. Many people don’t think they’ll ever fall victim to identity theft, but it’s far more common than you think.
They’re Not Just Looking for Financial Information
The common information that we protect are our checking, savings, and credit card account numbers. They’re the most obvious targets. But identity thieves can do just as much damage (if not more) with information like your mother’s maiden name and your social security numbers. Think of all the places where information like this is stored and shared. It’s a monumental task to protect it all.
Non-Digital Data Breaches
We hear about digital data breaches all the time and protect ourselves with spyware, malware, and anti-virus protection on our computers. But think about all of the other places where your personal information lives. Your doctors’ offices, your utility companies, your homeowners association…the list goes on and on. It only takes one careless or dishonest employee and your personal information could be in the hands of an identity thief.
What To Do If You Fall Victim
If you feel like you’ve been targeted by identity theft, or any other type of fraud, we recommend that you review account statements and monitor your credit reports. Experian and TransUnion are 2 companies that offer a free credit report copy once every 12 months. You should also contact the proper law enforcement authorities, including local law enforcement, and you should consider contacting the Federal Trade Commission.
Other companies offer identity monitoring, where they will keep an eye on your credit, identity, and other confidential information in an effort to protect you from such thefts. They will alert you of any suspicious activity, so you can put a stop to the fraud before it’s too late. Visit the FTC’s site to learn more about identity theft protection.
Southern Oak Insurance knows that protecting families means more than just protecting their homes, which is why we offer optional Identity Theft Coverage on our homeowners policies. If you become the victim of identity theft or fraud, Southern Oak will be there with up to $25,000 worth of coverage to help pay for expenses incurred as a result of the theft.
Our agents are ready to answer any questions you may have about identity theft, protection and additional coverage. Be sure you’re asking the right questions with our 10 Questions to Ask Your Insurance Agent resource!