Christian Identity Theft Companies
For many consumers, Christian identity theft companies provide peace of mind for a nominal monthly fee. Only two or three decades ago, identity theft wasn't that common. But with more people carrying credit cards and the growth of the internet revolution, criminals have found multiple opportunities for financial gain at the expense of others. When the reports of identity theft and fraud began growing at alarming rates, those who were caught received little more than a slap on the wrist. Then in 1998, Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deference Act which made the crime a federal offense with strong penalties. State legislators have also passed legislation so that the criminals, when caught and convicted, can be sentenced to prison time as well as fines that include making restitution. In the Old Testament Law, the punishment for stealing a person was severe: "And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death" (Exodus 21:16). The modern equivalent to stealing someone is to fraudulently take that individual's identity for personal economic gain. The Old Testament punishment is too severe for modern sensibilities, but until federal legislation was passed, law enforcement officials oftentimes couldn't even charge the thief with a crime. It took time for the law to catch up with the criminals. Fortunately that has changed. Additionally, the burgeoning industry of identity theft companies offers services to help customers lower the risk of being victims of such criminals.
When wallets or lost or stolen, it can be a time-consuming task to contact all the credit card companies, cancel accounts, and open new ones. But this is a necessary task to prevent unauthorized charges (though the cardholder is seldom, if ever, responsible for unauthorized charges if the card is reported missing within a reasonable amount of time). Sometimes, though, the consumer may be unaware that an account is being used to make purchases. Somehow the thief got hold of the data without taking the actual credit card. Perhaps in reviewing the statement, the consumer notices purchases that he didn't make. Or perhaps the consumer realizes something is wrong when the card in question is rejected when the cardholder is trying to make a purchase. In these scenarios, identity theft companies can assist the consumer. The company staff takes care of notifying issuers about lost or stolen cards and reporting unauthorized usage. When consumers sign up or register with this type of company, they provide personal data, such as birthdates and social security numbers, and also financial information about all their open accounts. Even when consumers have engaged the services of identity theft companies, they are well-advised to keep copies of credit cards or a listing of the cards and numbers in a safe place for personal reference. It's also a good idea to carry only one or two credit cards and leave the rest in a secure place at home. This way, if a wallet or purse is lost or stolen, the ramifications will not be as severe as if one's entire collection of plastic is gone.
If this was the only service that identity theft companies provided, the monthly fee could probably be put to other uses. And there are certainly steps that consumers can take to protect themselves, such as shredding credit card offers, utility bills, and monthly bank statements. They can also take great care when giving financial information over the phone or in public. Consumers can also get free annual copies for the credit reports from the major reporting agencies. But the value lies more in the preventative services that are provided to consumers. Most companies use innovative technology and applications to monitor their clients' information on all kinds of consumer databases. Through complex programs and identifiers such as date of birth and social security numbers, the companies build personal information reports on their clients. The client receives regular updates which can be reviewed for accuracy and completeness. Additionally, the applications allow the identity theft companies to track fraudulent attempts to access their clients' financial information. Immediate steps can be put in place to stop fraud before it begins or to significantly reduce the negative ramifications for clients whose information is compromised.
Identity theft or fraud insurance is another important service provided by identity theft companies. These policies reimburse clients for the financial losses they may incur due to unauthorized use of credit information and also for lost wages and other expenses incurred while correcting false information and restoring creditworthiness. This can be such an expensive and time-consuming task. Having someone else take care of these exhausting details may be worth the monthly fee. Other services include ending junk mail from arriving in their clients' mailboxes, placing fraud alerts, when necessary, on credit reports, and setting up a routine schedule so that clients receive copies of credit reports on a regular basis. These preventative measures can help consumers avoid becoming victims. Homeowners may not be aware that some homeowner policies contain provisions regarding this type of theft and fraud. But the protection may not be as comprehensive as that offered by reputable identity theft companies. Consumers have a responsibility to protect their personal and financial information. But turning over some of that responsibility to a company specializing in identity protection is an additional safeguard. No one wants to be a victim of identity theft or fraud. A monthly fee may be a very small price to pay to ensure it doesn't happen.
Christian Identity Theft CoveragePurchasing identity theft coverage may be the economic equivalent of squashing an ant with a hammer. As far as insurance is concerned, this type of coverage is relatively inexpensive with most policies ranging from about $25 to $100 a year. But many financial experts seem to agree that the ones benefiting most from the sale of identity theft policies are the insurance companies selling the coverage and not the victims of this crime. While it's true that the number of people who are victimized by identity theft is astronomical, only a few find themselves in a dire situation. For most people, the extent of the fraud is the criminal use of a credit card account. Though this is an aggravation, the account holder is very seldom liable for any fraudulent charges. Most credit card companies will quickly close an account that has been compromised and mail out new cards to the account holder as soon as they are notified of a problem. Having identity theft coverage really doesn't help consumers in this type of situation.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, which tracks these statistics, more than eight million Americans have been victimized. That's a very high number, but only a few of these had their actual identity stolen. This occurs when a criminal takes over someone else's name and/or social security number so that credit card accounts and other types of debt are accessed. The criminal may even divert financial statements to another address so that an individual doesn't realize that accounts are being used in his or her name. In the most extreme cases, criminals have even bought houses or accessed government benefits using an unsuspecting person's identity. The fraudulent activity may not be discovered until the persons credit reputation is completely ruined. The wise King Solomon wrote that: "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold" (Proverbs 22:1). Conscientious people naturally want to protect their good names. But just like flood insurance doesn't keep a flood from ruining personal belongings and car insurance doesn't keep an automobile accident from occurring, identity theft coverage doesn't prevent someone from stealing someone else's name and good credit rating. The benefits of the policy, as touted by the insurance companies offering these types of products, come after the crime has occurred.
A typical identity theft coverage policy covers certain expenses a victim might incur in trying to restore his or her good name and creditworthiness. The marketing materials promote the coverage of such expenses as telephone calls, notary fees, the costs of certified mail, and lost wages. Some attorney fees may also be covered, though typically these require pre-approval by the insurance company. Potential customers should look at these promoted benefits very carefully to determine just how valuable they are. For example, many people now have access to free long distance phone services either through their landlines or cell phones. The companies that victims need to contact often have toll-free phone numbers. So this benefit might not be worth much. Similarly, though the costs of notary fees and mailing documents via certified mail certainly can add up, such expenses will very rarely become exorbitant.
The benefit of recovering lost wages is appealing to many potential customers. The process of restoring a good reputation can take a great deal of time and a victim may need to take days from work to deal with the consequences of the fraud. An identity theft coverage policy that reimburses for lost wages sounds very appealing, but once again prospective customers are advised to look at the details of the policy. The insurance company may set limits, restrictions, or caps on this benefit. For example, a person in a salaried position may have to take vacation or personal hours when taking time away from the job. If so, the individual is being compensated by the employer. Will the insurance company still provide a lost wages benefit in these circumstances? What about the retired person? Will he receive any compensation for his time away from leisure or volunteer pursuits? These types of questions should be considered by potential customers.
Another benefit of a Christian identity theft coverage policy is the payment of some attorney fees. This is another attractive feature since legal costs can be very expensive. But as stated above, any attorney fees will probably need to be pre-approved by the insurance company before being incurred. Additionally, financial experts advise that very rarely does anyone need legal assistance to restore a credit reputation. In addition to taking a closer look at the provisions of an insurance company's policy, potential customers should look at the total limits of the identity theft coverage. Typically, the limits range from $10,000 to $15,000. Some policies may have a deductible of $100 to $500. Policies also differ in the services they offer after fraud occurs. Some policies may provide extensive assistance and resources during the restoration process. Others may offer guidance, but leave the client to make the necessary phone calls and handle the details. With all this information, it's easy to see that even the small expense of an identity theft policy may be too much for a company that doesn't provide extensive services. But consumers who want the peace of mind that an identity theft coverage policy provides should comparison shop, ask lots of questions, and read the fine print first. Homeowners may be able to get an inexpensive rider on their current homeowners' insurance policy.