‘Tis the season to be leery
Holiday season brings increased risk of identity theft
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 9, 2007
Liz Christopher 614-249-7705
Columbus, Ohio — According to the Federal Trade Commission, 25 percent of people who were victims of identity theft in 2006 were also victims of credit card fraud. With the holiday shopping season approaching, the risk of becoming an identity theft victim is even greater.
Holiday shoppers are on the Web, on the phone and in stores, creating more opportunities for thieves to compromise sensitive financial information.
“This is the most critical time of year to safeguard your finances,” said Kirk Herath, Chief Privacy Officer at Nationwide. “Consumers must remember that every time they use their credit cards, they need to take steps to protect their personal information.”
To protect your identity, Herath suggests following these tips:
- Always sign the back of your credit cards and watch your card when transactions occur. Or, instead of signing the card write, “Ask for Photo ID.” Check your statements with receipts to make sure the charges are correct. Notify all card companies of address changes.
- Avoid leaving cards out for others to see the numbers and don’t let others borrow your credit cards.
- Participate in the annual free credit report program to verify all transactions on your credit report. You can request a credit report once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion at www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Keep a record of all your account numbers, company names, expiration dates and toll free numbers in a location separate from your cards in case they become stolen.
- Avoid giving your account number out on the phone or Internet unless you are certain you are dealing with a trustworthy company.
- Never respond directly to an e-mail asking you for personal information. Instead, go to your web browser and contact the company to determine the e-mail’s authenticity.
“Being diligent and watchful of your financial statements is a simple and effective way to protect your identity,” said Herath.
While you’re out buying gifts for others, buy one for yourself as well – Nationwide ID Theft coverage. If your identity is compromised, the policy provides comprehensive aid to victims of identity theft and the organizations that support them. This program greatly reduces the number of hours spent restoring the credit histories of victims. With real-time access to credit records, identity theft assistance specialists take rapid steps both to remove fraudulent activity and avert any further damage.
Nationwide, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the world, with more than $160 billion in assets. Nationwide ranks #104 on the Fortune 500 list. The company provides a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, life, commercial insurance, administrative services, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans and health and productivity services. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.
Investments Retirement Insurance nationwide.com One Nationwide Plaza Columbus, OH 43215-2220