Contrary to popular belief, identity fraud does not always begin online. According to Travelers claim data, 44 percent of ID fraud cases happen when a person's purse or wallet has been lost or stolen. Thieves can use the information they find inside for ID fraud, so here are some critical steps to help protect yourself and your identity.
Many people store personal information in their purses and wallets, making it easier for thieves to commit identity fraud. Help secure your identity by keeping your purse and wallet in a safe place and carrying only essentials when you go out. Leave credit cards you will not be using in a secure place at home. Unless it is absolutely necessary, avoid carrying Social Security cards, birth certificates or passports as they contain key pieces of personal information thieves could use to steal your identity.
Whether you are sending or receiving mail, take steps to help keep it safe from prying eyes. Never put outgoing checks, bill payments or financial information in your unlocked home mailbox. When you need to send out sensitive documents, consider using a secure postal mailbox or send them from the post office. If you have not signed up for electronic statements, be aware of when your credit card statements are scheduled to arrive. If they are late, call the credit card company to confirm if the statement was sent. Be sure to shred old bills and unnecessary financial records containing personal information.
According to our data, nearly half of ID fraud cases are committed using the victim's current accounts. On a regular basis, review your credit report and bank statements to monitor your accounts, and take these extra precautions:
Social Security numbers are often used to open fraudulent accounts or to access financial information or assets. Do not have your Social Security number printed on your checks or allow merchants to write it on them. If a business requests your Social Security number, ask them why. If it is not a valid reason, do not provide the information they request. Also, never give confidential information to an unsolicited phone caller who claims they represent a financial institution or creditor. Instead, get the caller's name, location, phone number and reason for the call. Then call the phone number on your billing statements to verify the caller's identification.
Get additional tips for helping protect your identity while you are online.
Consider buying identity fraud insurance, a relatively inexpensive add-on to your renters or homeowners insurance policy. This coverage typically reimburses the cost of reclaiming your identity and rebuilding your credit, such as attorney's and notary fees and replacement of IDs. It is a low-cost investment against a high-expense crime.
The information on this site is general in nature. Any description of coverage is necessarily simplified and is not intended to provide legal, technical or other professional advice. Whether a particular loss is covered depends on the specific facts and the provisions, exclusions and limits of the actual policy. Nothing on this site alters the terms or conditions of any of our policies. You should read the policy for a complete description of coverage. Coverage options, limits, discounts and deductibles are subject to availability and to individuals meeting our underwriting criteria. Not all features available in all areas.
Insurance is underwritten by The Travelers Indemnity Company and its property casualty affiliates, One Tower Square, Hartford, CT. For a complete list of personal insurance underwriting companies, click here.