With the holiday shopping season in full swing, American consumers should be extra cautious when using their credit cards to avoid identity fraud. More than 12 million cases of identity theft occurred last year in the U.S. according to the 2013 Javelin Strategy & Research Identity Fraud Report. It was the second highest number of identity fraud cases in the past decade since the annual reports have been issued.
To prevent identity fraud, shoppers should always buy from a secure website from a reputable company. Websites should start with “HTTPS://” which means it has a secure sockets layer encryption. Customers should also be aware of phishing scams where emails request sensitive or personal information to gain access to online accounts.
Furthermore customers should take precaution when giving their social security number for identity or account verification. Credit card and bank statements should also be monitored regularly for any fraudulent or suspicious transactions.
Identity theft insurance can also provide coverage for expenses and damages due to identity fraud. It can be purchased as a stand-alone policy or may be included in a renters or homeowners insurance policy or added on for about $25 to $50 annually.
Identity theft insurance will cover for theft of money or unauthorized charges on credit cards. It will also cover for expenses to repairing a credit report and will also provide services to recovering your identity.
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