Safeguard Against Identity Theft with Legal Benefits

Legal benefits with identity protection services allow employees to minimize risk of becoming a victim.

Identity theft is a growing national concern. 12.6 million Americans were victims of identity fraud last year.1 The average out-of-pocket expense for those victims is estimated to be $400 with the average suffering a loss of $2,294.2

According to a recent Towers Watson report, voluntary benefit solutions with identity theft services are gaining traction among employers.3 Legal benefits, for example, are one type of voluntary offering that can help protect employees and their families against this serious crime—and also help victims of identity theft find resolution.

Minimize risk for identity theft through self-caution.

All too often, people make it easy for identity theft to occur without even realizing it. Personal information can be wrongfully obtained through a variety of avenues that many people wouldn’t even consider, like retrieving bills or other documents with sensitive information from garbage cans and dumpsters. Deter criminals from accessing personal data by following these tips:

  • Create passwords for all credit, bank and personal accounts. Do not use obvious things such as your address, birth date, Social Security number or any portion of your name.
  • Change passwords every 90 days.
  • Verify the source you are providing your personal information to when communicating over the phone or through email. Make sure they can be trusted, and find out how your information will be used.
  • Limit the number of credit cards and personal identification you carry.
  • Never carry your Social Security card. Store it in a safe place at home where only you can access it.
  • Shred bills and other personal documents so “dumpster divers” cannot access any sensitive data.
  • Follow up with creditors promptly if your bills do not arrive on time.
  • Regularly check your credit report for unauthorized activity. New legislation permits consumers to obtain one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877–322–8228 toll free for more information.
  • Make copies, front and back, of important information in your wallet (such as credit cards and your driver’s license), and keep the copies in a secure location.
  • If you think you are a victim of identity theft, visit the Federal Trade Commission website at www.consumer.gov/idtheft and contact your attorney to determine what actions you should take.

Legal benefits provide identity protection.

Identity theft can have devastating effects on victims’ finances and credit history, and requires time, money and patience to resolve.4 In the event that one of your employees becomes a victim, a legal benefit can prove invaluable, as these cases often require attorney assistance to recover financial losses and address serious damages.

As with most crimes, once discovered, time is of the essence. Putting an attorney on the case immediately may hasten a resolution and minimize financial loss. MetLaw® gives employees immediate access to an attorney located nearby and covers all associated fees. Providing identity protection services allows employees to safeguard themselves against unplanned events that may arise—like identity theft.

This article is intended to provide you with general information. This article is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, legal advice. If you require legal advice, please consult with your own attorney.

 

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1 Javelin Strategy & Research Inc., 2014 Identity Fraud Report (February 2014).
2 ibid
3 Towers Watson, 2013 Voluntary Benefits & Services Survey: A Fresh Look at Enriching Core Benefit Plans (July 2013).
4 The Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Information: Identity Theft.

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