There is a real threat to most of our population – one that is costing Americans tens of billions of dollars a year – but it may not be what you think when you consider insurance coverage.
“Before, when we would think about insurance, our thoughts had to do with things like fire, theft, vandalism, malicious mischief, liability, wind, and hurricanes,” says Jeffrey B. Campbell, Oviedo’s stalwart State Farm Insurance agent. “But our world has changed so much. All those things are still important, but the newfound conversation has to do with protecting our identity.”
What happens if you lose your wallet, or if you’re subject to another type of identity theft, like credit-card skimming?
“Right now, you can be in a crowd of people and someone can scan your purse or your pocket,” says Jeffrey. “Or you go to a gas pump to swipe your credit card, and someone has put a skimmer in there, too.”
In any of these cases, you may be subject to identity theft or identity fraud. The two sound the same, but there are distinct differences. Identity fraud is when someone uses your credit card to make fraudulent purchases, whereas identity theft is when a person tries to become you (using your personal information) in an effort to gain funds.
The Federal Trade Commission states that 9 million Americans have their identity stolen per year, and 15 million people have been victims of identity fraud in the last 12 months. Losses due to identity fraud totaled nearly $50 billion last year, and approximately 7 percent of all Americans had their identities misused in some manner.
Friends, co-workers, family members, neighbors, and strangers all may gain access to your information, so it’s important that you protect your name, social security number, and date of birth – as those can be stolen in a number of different ways. Skimming utilizes a special electronic device to scan information while your credit card is being used, whether it be at the gas pump or at a restaurant. Phishing includes emails or calls pretending to be from a financial institution that may convince you to reveal your personal information. Then there’s old-fashioned stealing or dumpster diving (going through your trash to secure personal information).
The results of identity theft can affect your financial well being, your employment, and even your criminal record. Thieves steal personal information and then use that information to take out loans or mortgages, write bad checks, apply for credit cards, commit crimes under your name, obtain medical coverage, or commit traffic violations – all of which reflect on your record. It can certainly cause stress and emotional havoc to deal with the aftermath.
If you feel like you’ve been a victim of identity theft, file a police report, and obtain a copy of that report so you can present it to your bank or credit card company. Then immediately close any accounts you believe may have been affected.
“It’s such a deep ocean, but the threat is real,” says Jeffrey. “But there’s a way to help protect yourself from all these things.”
State Farm Insurance offers a new, modified endorsement on your home or renter's insurance policy specifically to address these concerns. The endorsement is called Cyber Event, Identity Restoration, and Fraud Loss Coverage. It offers credit monitoring, fraud loss recovery, case management services, and expense reimbursement.
“With an annual cost of only $25, everybody ought to have it,” says Jeffrey.
This endorsement covers the insured (or a person for whom the insured is responsible) as a result of a fraud event. It includes a joint annual aggregate for fraud loss and identity restoration expense reimbursement of $50,000 per insured with no deductible.
“The endorsement also addresses another concerning area of cyber coverage, which includes cyber attack and cyber extortion,” explains Jeffrey.
Cyber attack and cyber extortion – crimes that occur when someone might access your data – are real threats. Computer data can be destroyed in a cyber attack or even accessed and held hostage. With the new State Farm endorsement, cyber attack and cyber extortion have a joint annual aggregate of $15,000 with a $500 deductible, which covers data recovery costs and system restoration costs as a direct result of a cyber attack.
Protecting your identity is just as important as protecting your home and valuables, but thanks to this new endorsement from State Farm Insurance, you can combat the loss. Call Jeffrey for a quote today: 407-671-8333.