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Meemic Insurance Reminds Shoppers 'Tis the Season to be Wary
With the holiday season hastily approaching and shopping days beginning to arrive and slip away all too quickly, business seems to be on the upswing for everyone – including identity thieves who take advantage of the crowds and confusion to get a little something for themselves, your identity. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, an estimated 16.6 million people were victims of identity theft with reported losses totaling more than $24.7 billion in 2012. The process of clearing up and correcting identity theft can range anywhere from weeks to years, though to victims it feels like a lifetime. It can be a long, difficult, and frustrating process that can impact your finances for an extended period of time. Meemic Insurance wants consumers to remember to remain vigilant to avoid becoming the victim of identity fraud during the holidays.
"Identity fraud is not limited to a certain demographic or to one way of stealing information," said Pamela Harlin, spokesperson for Meemic Insurance Company. "If you receive mail, surf the net, make purchases or pay bills by phone or online, or interact with anyone who gathers any personal information from you for any reason, you are at risk."
Meemic Insurance offers these 10 tips to help prevent identity theft during the holiday shopping season and throughout the year:
- Limit your exposure by only taking credit cards with you that you intend to use. If your purse or wallet is stolen, the impact will be significantly reduced if you only lose one or two credit cards
- Secure your mail, know your delivery time and collect your mail promptly. Deliver outgoing mail to a post office box or directly to the post office rather than leaving it in your home mailbox
- Secure sensitive information including social security cards, passports, tax returns, loan and credit card statements, unused checks, cancelled checks, bank statements, and keys to safe deposit boxes
- Check your credit reports with all three agencies periodically to identify any discrepancies
- Carefully review your credit card statements when they arrive following the holiday season. Notify the company immediately about any questionable charges
- Internet "phishing" scams masterfully mimic legitimate organizations. Do not disclose personal information unless you initiate the transaction and the website is secure: a lock icon on the taskbar, and the web address includes "s" (secure), i.e. "https"
- Avoid predictable names/numbers such as mother's maiden name, pet name, school name, nickname, birthdate, or phone number, for user names and passwords
- Make financial transactions by phone only with known organizations
- Question any requests that are made for your social security number
- Shred old information such as credit card statements
If you suspect identity fraud has occurred:
- Immediately close the affected bank/credit card accounts
- Call the credit reporting bureaus and place fraud alerts on your credit reports
- File a local police report, get a copy, and carry it with you; it may be needed to demonstrate that you are an identity fraud victim
- File a complaint with the FTC. Officials use the FTC database to investigate identity fraud claims.
About Meemic Insurance Company
Meemic Insurance Company (www.meemic.com) provides personal lines insurance products to teachers and other educational employees in Michigan and Wisconsin. For more than 63 years, Meemic remains a Michigan-based company, proud partner of the educational community, committed to offering the finest possible protection, products and services at preferred rates. Trust Meemic for claims excellence, policy payment options to meet your needs and products tailored exclusively to the educational community we serve. Meemic is a financially strong company (A.M. Best rating effective December 2015). Our stability and reputation for integrity builds the confidence of our policyholders and remains the foundation for our continued mission to serve the educational community.