Data breaches are increasing every year and identity thieves continue to come up with clever ways to defraud consumers. According to the Federal Trade Commission, nine million Americans are victims of identity theft each year. This theft can cost individuals and businesses tens of billions of dollars. The issue has reached crisis levels in the U.S., which accounts for 70% of identity theft cases worldwide.
Farm Bureau Insurance in Arkansas takes cybersecurity seriously and wants to help our customers safeguard their personal information. Auto Insurance policyholders benefit from free access to CyberScout. CyberScout is an identity-theft education and resolution program that you and your household members can use as often as needed. It is not an insurance product, so it doesn’t affect your policy or premium in any way.
What is Identity Theft?
The Arkansas Attorney General’s Office defines identity theft as “a crime that occurs when someone uses your personal information without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes ― most commonly to obtain access to credit in your name.”
Commonly stolen information includes your social security number, driver’s license number, bank and credit card information, passwords to shopping, email and social media accounts, your mother’s maiden name and other facts that could be used to answer online security questions.
Assess Your Identity Theft Risk
Identity thieves access personal information in many different ways. They dig through mail or garbage to find bills, bank statements and credit card applications. Others steal wallets and purses or even break into your home to steal personal files. The most daring hack into your home or work computer.
Unfortunately, identity thieves may also be people you know—friends or relatives who have access to your personal info.
Data leaks are quickly becoming valuable sources of personal information Recent leaks include the Capital One breach that affected 100 million customers and a 2017 Equifax breach that affected 146 million accounts.
You could also be a victim of an email phishing scam. For example, phishing emails may say that you won a prize, have had an account compromised, that the provider has noticed suspicious log-ins, you need to make a payment on an invoice, you owe the IRS money, or you’re eligible for a government refund. Phishing emails may ask you for personal information or have you click on a link.
Curious about your risk for cybertheft? Take this quick CyberScout online ID RiskCompass assessment.
Reduce Your Risk
The Arkansas Attorney General’s Office offers this guide to help you avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.
- Never click on a link in an email or even open an email from someone you don’t know.
- Your bank or credit card company will never ask you for sensitive information over the phone. Never give out your full social security number or any passwords.
- Don’t answer calls or texts from unknown numbers.
- Mail your bills from the post office or a public mailbox rather than your personal mailbox. Check your mail daily and don’t let it it build up. Shred all sensitive documents before throwing them away.
- Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet.
- Protect your computer with security programs.
- Check your bank and credit card accounts daily for fraudulent transactions.
Protect Yourself with CyberScout
CyberScout can help you deal with your own identity or medical identity theft, that of a minor or a deceased spouse. Customers who have an auto policy with Farm Bureau Insurance in Arkansas should call CyberScout at (866) 275-7322:
- If your wallet or purse is stolen.
- Your home or car is broken into.
- You suspect that your social media accounts have been hacked.
- There is suspicious activity on your credit card or bank accounts.
- You’re concerned that someone watched you log into a computer or enter a banking pin.
- Following the death of a spouse to safeguard their personal information.
Your call will be answered by a Farm Bureau Insurance customer service representative who will verify your policy and transfer you to a CyberScout specialist who will offer one-on-one assistance. Additionally, they will notify credit bureaus and federal agencies of the theft. CyberScout will also help you file a police report and assist you with notifying your financial institutions. If you become a victim of identity theft, CyberScout may provide you with up to a year of free credit monitoring.