You know the risks that come with using the internet and credit cards. There’s always the chance your data could fall into the wrong hands. Even if you’re vigilant about protecting your personal information, including your Social Security number, ATM PIN and email passwords, identity theft protection can give you peace of mind — and a layer of added security to protect your identity.

So, how do you protect yourself from identity theft? Take these three steps.

1. Take Basic Precautions to Protect Your Identity

With or without an identity theft protection policy, it’s essential to take certain measures to reduce your likelihood of stolen identity. To protect your identity, limit who has access to your Social Security number (never carry your card in your wallet), and avoid sharing personal information such as your date of birth and mother’s maiden name, both of which can be used to access your accounts. Securely store financial information, including investment and bank account statements, and shred documents before you toss them.

Ask yourself, too, if the rest of your family’s information is safe. The identity theft rate is 35 times higher for children than adults.

If you notice unusual account activity, report it immediately. Call your financial institution, credit card issuer and file a report through the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). When you file a report, the FTC will use the information you provide to create a plan with step-by-step instructions for recovering your identity.

2. Get Identity Theft Insurance

Solidify your identity theft protection plan with identity theft insurance, which is different from more standard insurance. For example, your home and auto insurance policies cover financial losses due to particular accidents and scenarios. Identity theft insurance, however, will not reimburse losses due to an identity theft.

Although the financial losses of identity theft itself will likely be minimal, the costs of restoring your identity, including legal fees, loss of wages and other expenses, could be more significant. These are the costs that identity theft protections cover.  

3. Add Credit Monitoring

Credit monitoring services watch your accounts for fraudulent transactions or unauthorized account openings, and they can often provide early detection of suspicious activity. However, such a service alone won’t offer help with the costs of restoring your identity. For this, you’ll need additional coverage that specifically addresses restoring your identity. Why not have both? Ask a Farm Bureau agent about our credit monitoring and identity theft protections. A dual strategy offers the most protection.

Protect What’s Important to You

Whether you’re looking to protect your identity, car or home, connect with your local Farm Bureau agent and cover what’s important to you.