Don’t Fall Prey to Identity Theft
By Scott Culver
Frank W. Abagnale, a reformed thief and author of “Catch Me If
You Can” writes, “I don’t know of any crime that’s
easier – and easier to get away with – than identity theft.”
Identity theft is the fastest-growing crime in America. The Federal
Trade Commission estimates that over the past five years, 27 million
Americans – one in eight adults – have had their identities
stolen. In the last year alone, almost 10 million Americans were victims
of identity theft – an increase of 41% over the year before –
at a cost to the U.S. economy of nearly $53 billion.
Could this happen to you? You bet. There is no way to know who will
be a victim of identity theft. It can happen to anyone, regardless of
age, gender, economic status, or race.
Victims of identity theft are seldom liable for excessive charges incurred
under their name. However, there is a cost. They are stuck with the
task of clearing their credit reports, correcting their financial statuses,
and regaining control of their identities. On average, it takes nearly
two years, $800 out-of-pocket costs, and 175 hours to clean up the mess.
Homeowners insurance can help reclaim identity
If you have homeowners insurance with WEA Trust Member Benefits, you
have identity theft coverage included in your policy this year. The
policy provides up to $10,000 coverage for expenses you may incur as
a result of identity theft activities. This includes costs associated
with the use of an identity theft recovery service to help straighten
out your credit records and reclaim your identity, as well as out-of-pocket
costs such as long-distance telephone charges, fees for notarizing documents,
and application fees.
“We feel this coverage is important enough to make it a standard
feature in our policy. We are always looking for ways to serve members
better, and we think WEAC members will appreciate the added protection,”
said Dave Kijek, vice president of the personal insurance services for
WEA Trust Member Benefits.
If you would like more information about the Trust’s homeowners
insurance program and identity theft coverage, call 1-800-279-4010.
Posted October 26, 2004