Identity Theft: Where to Start to Set Things Right
By Linda Starr Winans, Personal Insurance Counselor
I wanted to share a personal story of the benefits of Identity Theft Coverage. This is an abbreviated version, but you will get the idea…
My husband Paul and I have Homeowners Insurance through West Bend Mutual. Two months ago, we went to purchase an investment property and were told by our banker that Paul’s credit score was about 200 points lower than normal because of a $4,000 unpaid cellphone bill from a year ago. Red flags went up immediately because we are not customers of that particular cellphone company. Further investigation revealed the cellphone account belonged to an out-of-state resident.
My opinion of what happened is that someone entering the social security number for the “real” cellphone owner entered a wrong digit and it pulled up Paul’s number. Thankfully, there have been no other fraudulent charges on his account.
We immediately made some calls to the cellphone company and filed a notice with their fraud department, however Paul was still left with this lowered credit score AND the outstanding bill. Where to begin????
So, I called the 800# for our WB insurance. The operator was incredibly knowledgeable and efficient. She and Paul spent an hour on the phone as she filed notices with a variety of different agencies and bureaus. We received a packet of info in the mail the next week that included additional information and papers to sign and send back. We had several phone conversations with the WB 800# Gal, and had to visit our local police department to file a report notating the fraudulent purchase. That police report had to be sent to the WB 800# Gal.
Currently, the WB 800# Gal is pursuing other filings which will also include a 7-year monitoring of Paul’s credit score, removal of the $4,000 balance from his score, and other benefits. Progress is being made, though we are far from done. The depth and scope of dealing with this issue is more than surprising. We never would have known where to start, let alone think to do all of the things we were instructed to do.
In a nutshell, Identity Theft Coverage is a fabulous feature and invaluable service to insurance clients. Going through this type of loss myself, I don’t ever hesitate in recommending it. Also, kudos to West Bend for offering it!
Whether by deliberate targeting or human error, anyone can become a victim of Identity Theft. ID theft and fraud incidents are on the rise. To find out if your Homeowner’s Insurance policy includes Identity Theft Coverage, let your Customer Service Team at The Starr Group review your policy. Call today for peace of mind.