ID theft spikes in bad economy – take steps to protect your credit while holiday shopping

As you embark on holiday shopping and merrymaking, make sure that you take extra steps to protect your personal information and your credit. We’ve noted before, scammers have a tendency to proliferate in a bad economy. The Insurance Information Institute (III) offers an excellent advisory on this topic, which includes concrete preventative measures to help protect your credit.
III also notes that identity theft may be covered by insurance:

“Identity theft protection and resolution services are included in some homeowners and auto policies at no additional cost. The service provides consumers with a fraud specialist to assist and guide them through the process of restoring and protecting their identity. Some companies include identity theft coverage as part of their homeowners insurance policy, selling it as either a stand-alone policy or as an endorsement to a homeowners or renters insurance policy. This coverage provides the customer reimbursement for the expenses associated with the identity and credit restoration process including phone bills, lost wages, notary and certified mailing costs, and sometimes attorney fees (with the prior consent of the insurer). Contact your insurance agent or company representative to find out what kind of coverage is available.”

Additional Resources
Don’t be a victim: be alert for insurance fraud and scams
Credit Card and ATM Skimming – a Growing Threat
Study: Identity fraud is on the upswing, but per incident rate is dropping