There’s been much coverage in the media recently about identity theft operations targeting innocent consumers all over the world. You’ve probably seen or heard about it. Maybe you’ve even been a victim. There’s no question; identity thieves are after our personal information and they’re using a variety of ways to get it.
ID theft was the top complaint made by consumers to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2013. What’s scary about ID theft is that it’s only going to happen more often, and affect more people of all ages. ID theft is a lucrative industry because identity-stealing equipment has become more affordable for thieves.
Here’s a list of the top ten complaints consumers made with the FTC in 2013. Consumer complaints to the FTC total more than one million and cost more than $1.6 billion in fraud losses.
- Identity Theft
- Debt collection;
- Banks and lenders;
- Imposter scams;
- Telephone and mobile services;
- Prizes, sweepstakes, and lotteries;
- Auto-related complaints;
- Shop-at-home and catalog sales;
- Television and electronic media; and
- Advance payments for credit services;
One of the more common ID theft scams is called “voice phishing.” Voice phishing is a security attack where criminals try to get personal information from you over the telephone. It generally starts with an automated phone call asking you to press a number on your phone. Then, either an automated voice or a real person comes on the line to collect more information. The criminals are trying to manipulate you into revealing information like your Social Security number, bank account or credit card numbers, or any other information that might help them steal your identity.
If you receive a call like this, it’s wise to be suspicious, regardless of where the call appears to be originating or who the caller claims to be. Please do not divulge personal financial information like credit or debit card numbers, bank account numbers, or your Social Security number over the phone if you receive such a call.
To help protect our policyholders from the potentially devastating financial consequences of this fraud, West Bend offers an Identity Protection Program on our Home and Highway® policy. This very valuable and affordable optional coverage provides protection from the hassle and expense you may incur if you become a victim of identity theft.
The program also provides a wide variety of proactive identity protection services that can help you avoid identity theft when you or your loved ones are most vulnerable to this growing crime.
Please talk to an independent insurance agent that represents West Bend if you’d like to find out more.
We hope this information can help you avoid the dangers of identity theft. If you have comments or tips you’d like to share, please enter them in the box below.