Take An Identity Theft Vulnerability Test

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Online Theft

Are you one of the 33.4 million American victims of identity theft since 1990? Consumer out-of-pocket expenses have totaled $1.5 billion annually since January 2001.

  • 34% say someone obtained their credit card information, forged a credit card in their name, and used it to make purchases.
  • 12% say someone stole or obtained improperly a paper or computer record with their personal information on it and used that to forge their identity.
  • 11% say someone stole their wallet or purse and used their identity.
  • 10% say someone opened charge accounts in stores in their name and made purchases as them.
  • 7% say someone opened a bank account in their name or forged checks and obtained money from their account.
  • 7% say someone got to their mail or mailbox and used information there to steal their identity.
  • 5% say they lost their wallet or purse and someone used their identity.
    4% say someone went to a public record and used information there to steal their identity.
  • 3% say someone created false IDs and posed as them to get government benefits or payments.
  • 16% say it was a friend, relative or co-worker who stole their identity.

Are You at Risk for Identity Theft? Test Your “Identity Quotient”

  • I receive several offers of pre-approved credit every week. (5 Points)
  • Add 5 points if you do not shred them before putting them in the trash.
  • I carry my Social Security card in my wallet. (10 points)
  • My slate driver’s license has my Social Security Number (SSN) printed on it, and I have not contacted the Department of Motor Vehicles to request a different number. (10 points)
  • I do not have a PO Box or a locked, secured mailbox. (5 points)
  • I use an unlocked, open box at work or at my home to drop off my outgoing mail. (10 points)
  • I carry my military ID in my wallet at all times. (10 points)
  • I do not shred or tear banking or credit information when I throw it in the trash. (10 points)
  • I provide my Social Security Number whenever asked, without asking questions as to how that information will be safeguarded. (10 points)
  • Add 5 points if you provide it orally without checking to see who might be listening.
  • I am required to use my SSN at work as an employee ID or at college as a student ID number. (5 points)
  • My SSN is printed on my employee badge that I wear at work or in public. Or it is posted on my time card in full view if others, or is on other documents frequently seen by many others in my workplace. (10 points)
  • I have my SSN and/or driver’s license number printed on my personal checks. (10 points)
  • I am listed in a “Who’s Who” guide. (5 points)
  • I carry my insurance card in my wallet and either my SSN or that of my spouse is the ID number. (10 points)
  • I have not ordered a copy of my credit reports for at least 2 years. (20 points)
  • I do not believe that people would root around in my trash looking for credit or financial information or looking for documents containing my SSN. (10 points)

Each one of these questions represents a possible avenue for an identity theft.

Understanding Your Score:

  • 100+ points – Recent surveys* indicate that 7-10 million people were victims of ID theft last year. You are at high risk. We recommend you purchase a paper shredder, become more security-aware in document handling, and start to question why people need your personal data.
  • 50-100 points – Your odds of being victimized are about average. Higher if you have good credit.
  • 0-50 points – Congratulations. You have a high “IQ.” Keep up the good work and don’t let your guard down now.

“For information on recent identity theft survey findings, visit the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse web site at https://www.privacyrights.org/ar/idtheftsurveys.htm

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Meramec Valley Mutual Insurance is a Missouri-only (policy-owner-owned) insurance company established in 1887 and located in Hillsboro, Missouri.

Meramec Valley offers Identity Recovery protection as an optional and valuable addition to their line of insurance products. For more information about becoming a part of this 128 year old company, please contact one of our professional agents nearest you. https://mymutual.net/for-an-agent-near-you/

 

 

Take An Identity Theft Vulnerability Test

Identity Theft This Tax Season

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idtheftProtect your identity during tax season

Many Americans have begun to file their 2012 tax returns. However, in thousands of cases, Social Security numbers have been stolen to fraudulently file taxes and steal the refunds. The victims of tax identity theft won’t know a crime has been committed until they go to file and the IRS informs them that taxes have already been filed under their Social Security numbers.

Tax identity theft is more than an ongoing problem – it’s an exponentially growing crisis. In 2012 more than 641,990 incidents of tax identity theft were reported in the first nine months, according to a CNBC report. That’s up from 242,142 incidents in 2011 and just 47,730 in 2008.

With tax season underway, Meramec Valley encourages people to heed these simple tips from IDentity Theft 911® to prevent tax fraud from happening to your family.

1. Keep it safe. Never carry your Social Security card or number in a purse or wallet. Leave it at home in a secure place or in a safe-deposit box.

2. Employ strong usernames and passwords. Keep sensitive tax information (worksheets, W-2s, 1099s, 1040s) on a password-protected or encrypted external drive or disk, and store it in a secure location, such as a safe-deposit box or a locked safe. If you store it on your computer, make sure the drive is encrypted. Never store tax files or any personal information on a cloud or Internet drive. When choosing passwords, always include numbers, upper- and lowercase characters, and symbols such as *, ! and &.

3. Snoop around. Carefully choose a tax preparer. Many fraud rings front as tax preparation companies that may steal personal information. Verify the status of your preparer’s license with the Better Business Bureau and IRS Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). Email the IRS at opr@irs.gov with the full name of the individual or company and their address to confirm they’re a legitimate operation.

4. Do the math. Your annual Social Security Statement will identify all income from individuals working in the United States under your SSN. Do the numbers look right? This can be a good way to spot otherwise undetected identity theft.

5. Monitor your mail. Monitor your mailbox and stay on the lookout for W-2s, 1099s and other official tax forms. If any are late or appear to have been opened, contact the provider immediately to find out how and when they were mailed.

6. Splurge on the extras. If you file a return by mail, make sure to use certified mail from the U.S. Postal Service so you can confirm its arrival.

7. Go electronic. Opt for direct deposit of tax refunds to avoid lost or stolen refund checks.

Let us keep you updated on your insurance options!

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