Serious repercussions from ID theft
Mar./Apr. 2010 California Country magazine
Story by John Valentine
Take precautions to prevent and reduce the impact of identity theft.
In another sign of the tough economy, a new survey conducted by Nationwide Insurance found that nearly half the respondents said if their identity were stolen today, they did not know if they had enough money in reserve to weather the recovery process.
The survey also found that 10 percent of identity theft victims polled missed payments due to the crime. Of those victims, four out of five said the theft caused serious repercussions including lower credit scores, utilities shut off, bankruptcy, vehicle repossession, home foreclosure or even jail time.
“If the identity theft involves your credit cards, you can often resolve the problems quickly. However, if the fraud involves a debit card, a loan or your health insurance, the impact can be costly and time consuming,” said Kirk Herath, chief privacy officer for Nationwide Insurance.
The good news is that the poll also shows most people are taking greater measures toward identity theft protection, including regularly checking their bank and other financial statements, shredding important documents, limiting the number of credit cards they use and monitoring their credit report.
For additional peace of mind and protection from identity thieves, policyholders of Nationwide and its affiliate, Allied Insurance, can add identity theft expense coverage to their homeowner insurance policy for a small premium. In some states, consumers without a Nationwide or Allied policy can purchase a stand-alone policy.
Identity theft protection coverage from Allied and Nationwide includes immediate fraud assessment, notification to major credit bureaus, assistance replacing important documents, free credit monitoring and free identity tracking.
Additional survey findings included:
- Identity theft has been the No. 1 complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission for eight years in a row.
- Identity theft victims tend to be Caucasian, female, ages 35 to 54, college-educated, married and employed full time. Additionally, those making $75,000 or more a year are more likely to fall prey to identity theft.
- Half of the respondents said they would tackle the recovery process from identity theft on their own.
- Victims surveyed said that ID theft caused other problems, including family problems and missed time at work.
To learn more about identity theft coverage or to find an agent, visit www.nationwide.com/cfbf.
Contributed by Nationwide Insurance, which is endorsed by the California Farm Bureau Federation. John Valentine is director of sponsor relations sales. He can be reached at 916-802-1785 or email@example.com.