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 information 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.
Be wary of insurance offers from door-to-door salespeople or unsolicited phone calls (meaning you didn't contact them by phone, email, or web before). Many unsolicited calls are "spam" and might be fraudsters attempting to gather personal data.
If you are intrigued by their offer, contact your state’s insurance department to make sure the agent and company are licensed before providing the salesperson any of your personal information.
Be suspicious if the premium of the insurance is better than any other quote you were offered, whether it is auto insurance, home insurance, life insurance, or any other type of insurance policy. Too good to be true insurance quotes often are just that. Prices lower than a major competitor can be a scam, or worse, the coverage offered might be full of exclusions that are only discovered when you need to file a claim. Unusually low premiums can also be an indicator of high deductibles. You may save each month, but may be required to pay more out of pocket than you are expecting when filing a claim. Be sure to review all potential insurance quotes in detail and compare the specifics of the coverage with your existing coverage (or with another provider) before making a switch.
Before conducting business or sharing private information with an insurance broker or provider, especially one that contacted you first or quoted an unusually low insurance premium, check for any reviews the company may have. Look for their business profile on search engines and social media as well as on the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) website. While businesses may have to register themselves on the BBB to become accredited with the BBB, their site can still provide valuable information, such as business ratings, reviews, and complaints against the business. The BBB website also has a scam tracker you can search the prospective insurance agency with.
Enrolling in a new insurance policy, comparing costs or coverage, or changing your policy or provider shouldn't be stressful and worrying about fraud or identify theft shouldn't be something you have to worry about during the process. Keep these tips in mind should you encounter any of the described scenarios and, when in doubt, contact your insurance provider or independent insurance agent to discuss changes to your coverage and ways you can save on your monthly premium.