Is your identity safe? GEICO offers tips to help protect your assets

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 10, 2014 – According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), consumer identity fraud happens every two seconds. In 2013 alone, 13 million people were affected by identity theft. With these stark numbers reflecting a growing trend, GEICO offers tips to help consumers safeguard their personal information.

  • Keep your personal information secure
  1. Know who you are sharing your information with.
  2. Periodically change your passwords.
  3. Store and dispose of your personal information securely, especially your Social Security number.
  4. Ask questions before deciding to share your personal information.
  5. And maintain appropriate security on your computers and other electronic devices.
  • Maintain financial readiness – Make sure if you have to leave your home in an emergency that your financial documents are up-to-date, portable and in one place.

  • Credit freeze – If you have been the victim of identity fraud, you might consider placing a credit freeze on your report. A credit freeze allows you to restrict access to your credit report, which in turn makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name.

  • Secure your computer – Keep your computer's anti-virus software up-to-date and limit access to your wireless network. Use encryption and password protection and don't give out your personal information unless you have a very good reason.

  • Avoid malware – Malware is short for "malicious software." It includes viruses and spyware that get installed on your computer, phone, or mobile device without your consent. Stay away from downloading and installing anything you do not understand or trust. Only open e-mail from people or businesses you know.

  • Watch out for phishing – When Internet fraudsters impersonate a business to trick you into giving out your personal information, it's called phishing. Don't reply to email, text, or pop-up messages that ask for your personal or financial information. Don't click on links within them either, even if the message seems to be from an organization you trust. Legitimate businesses don't ask you to send sensitive information through insecure channels.

  • Military active duty alerts – Service members who deploy can place an active duty alert on their credit reports to help minimize their risk of identity theft. An active duty alert on a credit report means businesses have to take extra steps before granting credit in your name. Active duty alerts last for one year, and can be renewed to match the period of deployment.

  • Understanding mobile apps – Because apps are so easy to download and are often free, think about the consequences of what information might be garnered from your device or who gets that information.

  • Consider identity theft protection service – Identity theft protection services can help monitor your accounts and put other proactive measures in place. Many people find it valuable and convenient to pay a company to monitor their financial accounts, credit reports, and personal information and help them restore their identity if they do become a victim.

GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company) is a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies and is the second-largest private passenger auto insurance company in the United States. GEICO, which was founded in 1936, provides millions of auto insurance quotes to U.S. drivers annually. The company is pleased to serve more than 14 million private passenger customers and insures more than 23 million vehicles (auto & cycle).

Using GEICO's online service center, policyholders can purchase policies, make policy changes, report claims and print insurance ID cards. Policyholders can also connect to GEICO through the GEICO App, reach a representative over the phone or visit a GEICO local agent.

GEICO also provides insurance quotes on motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), boats, travel trailers and motorhomes (RVs). Coverage for life, homes and apartments is written by non-affiliated insurance companies and is secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency. Commercial auto insurance and personal umbrella protection are also available.

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