Published on April 01, 2019
Identity Theft Climbs as Consumers Become More Connected
Record highs. 8% annual increase¹. More growth predicted.
Sounds hopeful, doesn’t it? It’s what everyone wants to hear about their financial portfolio — sky high and going higher. But identity fraud? Not so much.
According to a Javelin Strategy & Research Study¹, 2017 was a banner year for perpetrators of identity theft. A record 16.7 million Americans were victims of identity fraud. That’s an increase of 1.3 million victims over 2016, the report indicates.
The Javelin Study also showed that in 2017, fraudsters focused on account takeover, card not present and new account openings. The lines are blurring between fraud types, as 1.5 million victims of existing account fraud also had a fraudulent intermediary account opened in their name. Simply put, a greater online presence for consumers means more opportunities for the ill-intentioned.
But the effects on families can go far deeper than financial loss. Victims of identity theft can find themselves facing poor credit, false arrest, inaccurate medical records, tax problems, and a long path to restoration. The impact of identity theft can be life changing.
Reason for optimism
Still, there is good news. While criminals are becoming better at avoiding detection, informed consumers are becoming more adept at preventing theft and detecting fraud quicker, thanks to common sense safety practices and comprehensive identity protection services.
Follow these 7 simple tips to reduce the risk of identity theft.
1. Be smart on social media.
Review security settings and keep your profile hidden from anyone but friends. Never accept friend requests from strangers.
2. Protect online shopping accounts
Use two-factor authentication on sites that offer it and use strong passwords. Never save your credit card information on online shopping sites.
3. Exercise good password habits
Always use strong, unique and regularly updated passwords for all your accounts and devices. Choose a password manager for greater protection.
4. Place a credit freeze
If you’re not preparing to open new accounts, place a credit freeze with all three bureaus. That will prevent unauthorized access to your credit report.
5. Review statements thoroughly and promptly
Check for unauthorized charges on all bank/credit card statements and other bills. Report discrepancies immediately.
6. Shred old documents
Receipts, credit card offers, and account statements can be buried treasure for dumpster divers. Shred before trashing.
7. Review your credit report annually
Look for accounts you did not open and report items and accounts you believe to be in error.
Utilize a proven identity theft protection service
Even the most careful consumer can still fall victim to identity fraud. A comprehensive identity fraud protection service reduces the risk of theft and provides swift, effective resolution in the event of compromise. IDProtect®- identity theft monitoring and resolution service2* is included at no additional cost in your Choice Checking account and provides broad protection for you and your family.
Enjoy proactive Identity Monitoring* and 3-in-1 Credit File Monitoring3* services, with monitoring of over 1,000 databases and automated alerts of key changes to your credit report. IDProtect includes access to 3-in-1 Credit Report* every 90 days or upon receipt of a credit alert. And in the unlikely event that fraud occurs, IDProtect provides Fully Managed Identity Theft Resolution Services, with a detailed recovered plan and up to $10,000 Identity Theft Expense Reimbursement Coverage. 4
To register and activate your no-cost IDProtect benefits, simply go to IDProtectMe247.com, using the Access Code provided by Community Choice, and follow the step-by-step instructions. Please call 1-866-210-0361 for assistance with activation or to learn more about IDProtect.
* Registration and activation required
1 2018 Javelin Strategy & Research Identity Fraud Study
2 IDProtect service is a personal identity theft protection service available to personal checking account owner(s), their joint account owners and their eligible family members. Service is not available to a “signer” on the account who is not an account owner. Family includes: Spouse, persons qualifying as domestic partner, and children under 25 years of age and parent(s) of the account holder who are residents of the same household.
3 Credit file monitoring may take several days to begin following activation.
4 Special Program Notes: The descriptions herein are summaries only and do not include all terms, conditions, and exclusions of the Benefits described. Please refer to the actual Guide to Benefit and/or insurance documents for complete details of coverage and exclusions.