Protecting Your Identity
COLUMBIA, SC – May 18, 2008 – The Lexington County Identity Theft Shred Day, sponsored by the Giles Brothers Allstate Agency of Columbia, was held in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart store located at 1326 Bush River Road near the intersection of I-26 on May 15, 2008.
The event was open to individuals who wanted to shred personal information, including businesses, between the hours of 8 a.m. to noon, and 2-6 p.m. on May 15. A deputy from the Lexington County Sherriff’s Department and members of the Allstate Insurance Company were on hand all day to answers questions about protecting yourself from identity theft.
“This event is a great way for Allstate and the Giles Brothers Agency to give back to the community,” said Brad Giles, owner of the Giles Brothers Insurance Agency. “People need a safe way to dispose of old, unneeded papers and records that may contain personal and financial information.”
Modern technology has made our lives easier, but it has also made it easier for thieves to commit identity theft on about nine million Americans annually, the Federal Trade Commission estimated in September 2007.
If you ever become a victim of identity theft, would you know what to do to help restore your name? There are many issues that may need to be addressed, such as:
• Understanding your rights as a victim.
• Filling out paperwork, including police reports.
• Issuing a Fraud Alert to the three major credit bureaus, financial institutions and credit card companies, as well as the Social Security Administration, Department of Motor Vehicles, Federal Trade Commission, and U.S. Postal Service.
• Obtaining copies of your credit bureau reports and working with the three major credit bureaus to restore the accuracy of your credit history.
You can also get help if you become a victim. As this crime grows increasingly common, consumers, the amount of time it takes to clear your credit can be significant. According to the Federal Trade Commission’s 2006 Identity Theft Report, issued in September 2007, 10% of all ID Theft victims need at least 55 hours to resolve their issues. The top five percent of that group need 130 hours or more.
The Federal Trade Commission reports that while more than half of victims did not have any out-of-pocket expenses in 2006, 10% of ID Theft victims paid $1,200 or more to correct their issues.
Some insurance companies, including Allstate Insurance Company, are offering identity restoration coverage. This type of coverage, often added for an additional fee to homeowners, renters and/or condominium insurance coverage, can provide customers access to identity restoration assistance and reimburse them for covered expenses incurred to help restore their identity.
While this coverage can help victims of identity theft recover their lives, it is still up to every individual to protect themselves. The following six tips can help make you less vulnerable to identity theft…
• Don’t carry unneeded credit cards.
• Cancel all unused, lost, or stolen credit card accounts immediately.
• Keep Social Security cards, birth certificates, and other personal documents in a secure lock box or safety deposit box. Don’t carry them, or duplicates, in a wallet.
• Check credit histories periodically and report any unauthorized activity.
• Keep careful track of all receipts. Store them in a safe place or destroy them before putting them in the trash.
• Do not give out Social Security numbers or other information to any person or company unless you are familiar with them and you have initiated the conversation.
For more information, visit www.allstate.com.
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer. Widely known through the “You’re In Good Hands With Allstate®” slogan, Allstate helps individuals in approximately 17 million households protect what they have today and better prepare for tomorrow through approximately 14,900 exclusive agencies and financial representatives in the U.S. and Canada. Customers can access Allstate products and services such as auto insurance and homeowners insurance through Allstate agencies, or in select states at allstate.com and 1-800 Allstate®. Encompass® and Deerbrook® Insurance brand property and casualty products are sold exclusively through independent agents. The Allstate Financial Group provides life insurance, supplemental accident and health insurance, annuity, banking and retirement products designed for individual, institutional and worksite customers that are distributed through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, financial institutions and broker-dealers.