Get Your Good Name Back
ERIE’s affordable Identity Recovery coverage quickly restores the credit and reputation of identity theft victims
February 11, 2010
By Scott Westcott
There are more than 10 million victims of identity theft each year, and the Identity Theft Resource Center predicts that rising unemployment will drive more people to commit identity fraud in 2010. The organization predicts that, while online scams will persist, more thieves will turn to low-tech methods such as stealing Social Security numbers, dumpster diving or “phishing” for credit card numbers.
Criminals will also take advantage of increasing unemployment rates by tricking people who are searching for job listings. The fake job listings and work-at-home scams will eventually end with the job seeker providing a Social Security number or other personal information to criminals. The thieves will then use the information to open new accounts or tap into existing ones.
Terry McConnell, Personal Lines Underwriting manager at ERIE, says that identity theft is “trending upward” with criminals using Social Security numbers and other personal information to set up false accounts or access lines of credit.
“Once that happens, they are on the way to ruining your credit rating,” he adds.
Ways to Protect Your Identity
Consumers can take preventative measures by shredding documents, being wary of sharing personal information online or over the phone, and not using Social Security numbers as passwords. Yet, with widespread security breaches becoming increasingly common, there’s no surefire way to guarantee your identity won’t be stolen.
Fortunately, ERIE Customers can fight back and protect their identities by adding an affordable Identity Recovery endorsement to their homeowners insurance coverage.
If you become a victim of identity theft, ERIE’s identity restoration experts work to “get you back to where you were before your identity was fraudulently used,” McConnell says.
“They know exactly what to do and can stop the bleeding very quickly,” McConnell says.
Identity recovery experts handle a complex process that can be overwhelming for consumers who lack the coverage. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that, for individuals, the recovery process could take about 500 hours and cost $3,000.
Specifically, if you have ERIE’s Identity Recovery coverage and someone steals your identity, experts will quickly work to track down any instance in which your name was fraudulently used. They then work with credit agencies, financial institutions, government offices, and credit card companies to clear your good name. The coverage also includes up to $25,000 in reimbursement for fraudulent use of credit cards. ERIE Customers with homeowners insurance can add the endorsement for a low annual fee.
“It’s an exceptionally good deal for what you get,” McConnell says. “Anyone who has had to endure the process of having your identity stolen would say it’s one of the best purchases they’ve ever made.”
Customers with the coverage can report suspected identity theft by calling ERIE’s Identity Recovery Hotline at 1-866-ERIENOW.
Call your ERIE Agent to have Identity Recovery coverage added to your policy today.
Scott Westcott is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer whose work has appeared in Parents, Inc., and Woman’s Day. He resides in Erie, Pa.