Seven ways to avoid identity theft in a social world

Cell phones, GPS devices, and immediate access to online communication can provide a sense of security and completeness, allow you to call for emergency help, and offers hours of entertainment and information.

These technologies also feed identity thieves morsels of information they are eager to devour. With a few precautions, you can rely on electronic devices without being a victim of identity theft. Here’s how.

1. Do not respond to suspicious texts. Text messages that ask for personal information, like your social security number, debit card PIN, or bank account number are virtually never legitimate. Contact the sender by phone to verify the identity.

2. Store contacts by first names. By listing contacts as Mom, Hubby, or Home, you’re inviting a thief to contact them for personal information. Thieves can quickly text Hubby to find out, “What’s our bank PIN again?” before he knows your phone was stolen.

3. Delete sensitive data. If you plan to sell your phone, delete your personal data. If you are unsure how to delete your pictures, passwords, or contacts, bring your phone to your network provider’s retail store and ask for assistance.

4. Download ringtones from reputable sites. In order to capture personal data, identity thieves create phony sites that claim to offer ringtones and other downloads.

5. Do not store your home address on your GPS. An identity thief — or burglar — who steals a GPS can find your home and feel comfortable knowing you won’t return if you store your schedule on the same device.

6. Carry electronic devices separately. A cell phone, GPS, and wallet make a great combination. If you carry all of them together — in a purse, for example — you leave a thief with the needed information to steal your identity.

7. Do not share too much on social networking sites. A message on a social networking site stating that you will be on vacation for the next two weeks is an invitation to burglarize your unattended home and rummage through your mail and other personal information. Never list a full birth date. This is key information for an identity thief to use to set up false accounts.

A little ID fraud coverage goes a long way
Prevention tactics are key in avoiding identity fraud, but anyone can fall victim. SECURA’s Identity Fraud Expense and Restoration coverage provides immediate support if your identity is ever stolen.

MILE-STONE® Gold policyholders automatically receive our Identity Fraud Expense and Restoration coverage. MILE-STONE Basic policyholders can purchase coverage for less than $3 per month. Contact your independent agent today to add Identity Fraud Expense and Restoration coverage to your policy.

Four ways SECURA’s ID fraud coverage can help
  • Learn the steps to take in the event a family member dies.
  • Receive advice about measures to take to keep your maiden name protected if you recently married.
  • Obtain assistance reclaiming lost documents if your home is damaged or destroyed by natural disaster.
  • Receive guidance in protecting the identity of active duty military men and women.

For news, articles, and more ways to protect your identity, visit