Although it may not occur to many, fraudsters don’t always try to steal only banking information. There are easier, less secure ways of trying to get your infromation like getting it directly from the source – you. Take for instance the amount of information you provide when shopping for auto insurance. Name, date of birth, address, contact information, and the type of car you drive. All pieces of personal data that can be used to access an account and bypass a possible security question.  Below are a few tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.

  1. Be wary of insurance offers from door-to-door salespeople. Contact your state’s insurance department to make sure the agent and company are licensed before providing the salesperson any of your personal information.
  2. Be cautious of unsolicited calls or Internet advertisements. Many of these calls are “spam” and can possibly be fraudsters attempting to gather personal data. Internet advertisments could share your personal information with an unknown third party. Always check to make sure the websites you are using are secure.
  3. Be suspicious if the price of insurance seems “too good to be true” – it probably is. Prices lower than a major competitor can be a scam, or the coverage offered might be full of exclusions that are only discovered when you need the coverage.
  4. Check the company’s rating at the Better Business Bureau. BBB also puts out alerts for known scams and fraud that you can check the auto insurace agency against.
  5. Make sure “free services” aren’t actually paid for by hidden fees on your insurance bill.
  6. Ask if the auto insurance company has purchased or has invested in any vehicle repair shops; this is a red flag. You are not required to use these shops and they will not give you better service or prices — in fact, they could be worse because their goal is to save the auto insurance compay money, not you.
  7. Guard your insurance identification number the same way you would your social security number, because once it’s stolen, criminals can use it in a scam.