How to Defend Yourself Against Identity Theft
Safeguard your personal information from the latest scams.
The one constant in identity theft schemes is their ever-changing nature. Thieves can access data online or offline, from your mailbox or your doctor’s office or via your computer, tablet or smartphone. Thieves nearby who carry scanner devices can even surreptitiously “read” information stored on credit cards tucked safely in your wallet.
In addition to finding new paths to your personal information, identity thieves often gain access to your data by taking advantage of current events, specific seasons and even the economic climate. Today’s thieves use stolen information to claim tax refunds, or they may focus on accessing employment and medical information. Even children are becoming targets of identity theft, since their information can be used undetected for years.
3 Ways to Protect Yourself
Regardless of the form the scam takes, consumers can minimize the threat of identity theft with some standard precautions:
- Protect your personal information. Store personal documents in a secure place, and shred anything containing sensitive information. Keep computer security software updated. Review credit reports annually. Use caution when opening unfamiliar emails or texts or when downloading apps. Create strong passwords and change them regularly. And use only secure wireless networks.
- Be picky about whom you give information. Give out personal information only when necessary, such as when filing taxes or setting up bank accounts. Even then, work with a credible organization that has safeguards in place to protect your data. Also, avoid sharing on social media: Thieves could use information, such as your hometown or high school, to figure out the answers to your security questions on your online accounts.
- Stay up-to-date on new identity theft scams. Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Scam Alerts site for information about new schemes popping up across the country.
Suspect you are a victim of identity theft, or want advice on how to take precautions to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft? As a MetLife Auto & Home®policyholder, you have access to dedicated fraud specialists who will assist you every step of the way, at no cost to you and no claim needed! Call CyberScout at 866-305-7216, or visit its website at http://cyberscout-idtheft.com/ for 24/7 assistance.*
*Identity protection services are not available to auto customers in NC or NH nor with all policy forms. Identity protection services are available in NC homeowners policies with the optional “Identity Theft Expense and Resolution Plus” endorsement for an additional premium.