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Protect Your Personal Information With Identity Theft Insurance

What is it?

To define Identity theft it is the crime of stealing someone's personal, identifying information for the purpose of using that information fraudulently.
Identity theft is when a criminal then impersonates you and uses your name, PPS number, credit card number(s), driver's licence number, bank account number(s) or any other piece of personal information for their fraudulent purposes. By gaining your identity, they can then access your personal details and use the information to obtain credit, buy goods online or to make fraudulent gains at your expense. They may even sell your details to a third party to make money.

How do you know it is happening to you?

Regrettably you are likely to fall victim to this before you even realise it is happening to you.
Here are some signs:

• Refusal of credit and loan applications, your credit rating and reputation can be severely damaged as a result of Identity Theft so ask yourself where can i get a loan on my tax refund.
• Collection agencies contacting you about overdue debts that you have not acquired yourself
• Also you may receive information about apartments, jobs and house purchases you never incurred or had.
• You may also find that you have a criminal record even though you never committed a crime.

How can your information be obtained?

There are 5 main ways that your information can be obtained.

1. Dumpster Diving: This is the practise of sifting through trash to find items containing personal information belonging to commercial or residential areas. It is also known as urban foraging. The person will sift through your rubbish and take utility bills or financial statements and use them to impersonate you for fraudulent identity theft purposes.

2. Interfering with your post: If you have reason to believe that your post is being interfered with, you should contact An Post at once and ask them to investigate this. If you reside in apartments or something of the same you should make sure that you collect your post as promptly as possible, and always make sure that your post box is securely locked.

3. Social Networking: Fraudsters also can take your information from social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace and so on. It is vital to your personal identification that you do not put information about yourself that might allow fraudsters to do this.

4. Skimming: This is when special equipment is used to steal credit or debit card details when you are using your card at an ATM or in a shop.

5. Using computers that have been thrown away: It is essential that when you throw away an old computer or mobile phone that your information is completely erased from the hard drive, as fraudsters can access this information and use it to their advantage.

What risk does Identity Theft pose on you?

Your credit rating and reputation can be severely damaged as a result of Identity Theft.

1. Credit Card Fraud
This is the most common type of Identity Fraud. Someone will steal your credit card or credit card number, to obtain loans, goods, or services. The accumulating unpaid bills in your name will end up affecting your credit rating.

2. Personal Public Service Number Fraud
This is the most dangerous type of fraud. A person with your personal public service number can use it to obtain Social Security benefits, welfare benefits, tax refunds or credit.

A thief can also use it to obtain employment in your name. The misuse of this can cause you to loose the legitimate benefits which you are entitled to.

3. Bank or Finance Fraud
They may do any of the following with your personal information

• create counterfeit cheques using your name or account number.
• open a bank account in your name.
• clone your ATM or debit card and make electronic withdrawals, draining your accounts.
• take out loans in your name.
• use your name or PPS number.

4. Government Document Fraud
They could get a driver's licence with your name and their picture issued to them or any other official identification card.

5. Online Identity Fraud
The terms "spoofing" and "phishing" are words used to describe the act of collecting personal information using a fake e-mail in order to commit identity theft, credit card fraud, and Internet fraud. If you suspect an e-mail of being fraudulent, forward the entire e-mail to the customer service department of your online account and then delete it.

What do you do if you find yourself in the situation where your purse, wallet, bag or any personal information is stolen?

1. Immediately contact your credit card companies and close them all.
2. Call the gards and file a report about this insident. Get a report number in the case that fraudulent purchases are made in your name.
3. If your ATM, debit card or cheque book were also taken, contact your bank and close them accounts too. You will need to go into the bank personally with photo identification to close and open another bank account.
4. Inform each credit rating bureau that your personal information has been stolen and to put an alert on your credit. Also ask for a credit report to check for any accounts that may have been opened in your name.

Social Networking Identity Theft!

According to statistics done by PC World, one third of members of social networking sites like Facebook, Linkedln, Twitter and MySpace have at least 3 pieces of personal information which can make stealing their identity easy for the fraudsters. Included in this information were full names, birth dates, addresses, phone numbers, parents and children's names.

All this information can easily be put together and a fake profile can be created.

Nearly 80% of people in these statistics said they were concerned about their privacy on the social networking sites, and 60% said they had no idea about privacy settings and that they had no idea who could see their personal information on the sites.

To avoid this from happening to you, check your privacy settings and personal information to see who can see your information. Choose the setting that you would be happy with and avoid accepting friends that you do not know as they might try to get information from you that does not concern them.

It will cover:

• Solicitors' fees
• Registered Postal costs
• Loss of wages due to leave from work
• Loan re-application expences
• Legal fees
• Reasonable Expences
• Theft Cover
• Bodily Injury Cover

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