Despite increased adoption of online shopping, mobile payment and banking apps, offline methods are the top known causes of identity fraud, according to a new study from Travelers (NYSE: TRV). The first insurance carrier to offer identity fraud insurance reports that even in the digital era, burglary, stolen wallets and pilfered identifications account for 73 percent of all cases, according to a comprehensive study of 2011 Travelers claim data.
- 73 percent - burglary and theft of wallet/purse/personal identification/computer
- 15 percent - online or data breach
- 10 percent - forgery
- 2 percent - change of address/postal fraud
Consumers can take preventative measures to protect themselves from identity fraud. Travelers offers the following tips to avoid having identities stolen:
- Carry only the essentials: Leave the unnecessary credit cards and critical documents in a discrete, burglar-proof location in your home.
- Beware of scams: Do not fall for scams intended to pull at your heart strings. Do not disclose personal information, such as credit card and bank account details, if you receive an unsolicited request.
- Do not throw away -- destroy: Shred old bills and financial statements rather than placing them in the trash.
- Make security a priority: Make sure to store purses and wallets in a safe place, never print account information on envelopes of outgoing mail, and be careful about sharing personal information on social media.
- Know your score: Check your free credit report annually from the national credit reporting agencies by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.