Insurance to protect from identity theft
The Federal Trade Commission reports that identity theft is topping the list of consumer complaints for the fifteenth year in a row.
Most fraudsters steal your identity to steal you money.
FOX 35 sat down with an insurance agent and an economics crimes detective to find out what you can do to get your identity back and buy some peace of mind.
Lake Mary-based insurance agent Mike McLean said more and more people are choosing to buy identity theft insurance.
"Probably, I would say maybe a third of our homeowners policies that we write will have some kind of theft ID coverage to it and that number is rising," McLean said.
For between $25 and $60 a month you can get some help and be reimbursed for costs associated with replacing documents, legal costs, and more.
Identity theft insurance can be added to your homeowner’s or renter’s policy.
"The inconvenience of going through the process of getting everything back that has been taken from you takes time, and it's a hassle. So if you have any help with that whatsoever, I think is a plus," McLean said.
McLean warned that policies only do so much and they might not get you all your money back.
“A lot of programs will cover whatever expenses you have to deal with to get your good name back, but not necessarily the money that was spent or the fraud that was committed or the crime that was done under those circumstances," he explained.
Detective Johan Anderson of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Unit said insurance policies might buy you peace of mind, but you might still have to complete a lot of the tasks associated with getting your identity back yourself.
"Once you find out you're a victim the best thing to do is file a report," Anderson said.
Next, report the incident to the three major credit bureaus, contact the fraud department of each of your creditors, and get in touch with your bank or financial institution.
Each of those steps has sub-steps, which are outlined here by the Florida Attorney General’s Office.
"As long as you try to prevent being a victim and once you are a victim right away you do the steps [above], you are able to [recover your identity] without spending any more money,” Andersons aid.
Another option is a credit monitoring service, which typically cost around $10 a month.
Those services don’t help you get your identity back, but they do let you know when someone tries to access your credit so that youc an try to stop them sooner rather than later.