Identity Theft Insurance
Children and Identity Theft
Identity Theft Insurance
I was wondering if you have come across any information regarding identity theft insurance. It is such a problem today, and I am wondering about obtaining insurance. Do you have any suggestions on where to find information?
You May Already Have Identity Theft Insurance
If you check with your insurance agent, you may already have this insurance. In a recent "update review" for my homeowners policy, I found that this insurance had been added somewhere through the years I've been with the company. You may decide it's not enough and raise the limits, but you might also be satisfied with the coverage you already have but didn't know about! Of course, my insurance is with one of the better-known national companies and this might not apply to a lesser-known company or with bare bones type coverage.
DIY Identity Theft Protection
As far as I know, none of these services offers anything you can't get on your own, probably for free. For example, you can monitor your own credit report because you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once a year. By spacing these three free reports out, you can check your report once every four months and make sure there are no errors. You can get your free reports at www.annualcreditreport.com. (Note that this is the only website you can use to get your free annual reports. Other sites have similar names, but they will charge you for a credit report you could otherwise get for free.)
Identity theft protection services may also offer to remove you from unwanted mailing lists or pre-screened credit offers, but you can also do this on your own by calling 1-800-5-OPTOUT or visiting www.optoutprescreen.com. Finally, in many states, you can also put a "freeze" on your credit report to prevent it from being accessed. That will make it impossible in most cases for thieves to take out any new accounts in your name. Check with your state attorney general's office to find out how.
You can find more information about protecting yourself from identity theft at the Federal Trade Commission's website.
Prevent Identity Theft: Freeze Your Credit
Rather than bother with the continuing expense of identity theft insurance and the horrible fall out if one's identity is stolen, put a freeze on your credit! This is fast, cheap or free, and secure. The three credit reporting agencies hate this because they make their money selling your credit information to anyone who pays their fee, which is something about which to think.
You contact all three credit-reporting agencies: Trans Union, Experian and Equifax. Depending upon your state and whether you are a senior citizen, the credit freeze will cost nothing to $15 per agency. The company freezes your information and it can not be released to anyone unless you contact the company with a PIN that they have sent you (keep this number in a safe place!). They may or may not charge you a modest fee to unfreeze the credit information for a specified period if you wish to apply for some form of credit in the future.
There are so many benefits to this. There is only a very modest charge or no charge. You have total protection of your credit information as no one can take out a loan in your name or open a credit card in your name. The freeze keeps you from impulsively opening another credit card or taking a loan easily. You have the knowledge that the credit reporting agencies are not making money selling your information. And, finally, you have the peace of mind and a smug feeling of security knowing you can not have your ID stolen through some miscreant buying your credit. A credit freeze is the cheapest, most secure way to protect your ID. It also avoids those nasty monthly payments for assistance after your ID is stolen.
A credit freeze is important because many ID thefts involve those nearest and dearest, often family members or friends living in one's own home. They have access to those discarded credit card and loan applications, which we all get, and know your basic information. A credit freeze stymies even those near and dear.
Identity Theft Insurance
The only identity theft insurance that actually solves the problem for you is the Identity Theft Protection Insurance by Zander Insurance. This was created by Zander Insurance at the request of Dave Ramsey since he couldn't find any insurance available to protect you from the actual hundreds of hours of cleaning up the mess.
If your identity is stolen, they will assign a case worker to go about the business of spending the countless hours contacting each creditor directly until they have completely removed the theft from your name. I recently was notified by my company that a laptop was stolen from our retirement account vendor and my personal financial information was compromised. All I had to do was place a fraud victim alert on my credit bureau accounts and not worry about a thing. This was in stark contrast to some of my very upset co-workers that felt hung out to dry with only "credit monitoring" made available to us by the company.
Jim in Spring, MD
Take the Next Step
- Stop struggling to get ahead financially. Subscribe to our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter aimed at helping you 'live better...for less'. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources. Subscribers get a copy of Are You Heading for Debt Trouble? A Simple Checklist And What You Can Do About It for FREE!
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.
More Money Tips & Tools
- Why smart people are poor
- Understanding mortgage APR and interest rate
- Do I need a stockbroker or a financial planner?
- Saving-money secrets of the rich and frugal
- 5 low-risk ways to earn higher interest now
- How to save money fast
- 7 IRA withdrawals that don't trigger a penalty
- This week's Readers' Tips