FREMONT, Mich., Dec. 20, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- With the holiday season reaching a frenzied pace as remaining shopping days continue to slip away, business seems to be on the upswing for everyone – including identity thieves who take advantage of the crowds and confusion to get a little something for themselves, your identity. Identity theft remains the top consumer complaint to the Federal Trade which reports that more than 9 million have reported losses totaling more than $50 Billion. In 2009, Michigan was ranked 18 in the country (one spot higher than its 19th ranking in 2008) with more than 1.3 million people falling victim to identity theft. The average victim of identity theft spends 1700 hours clearing their name following the discovery of fraud. It can be a long, difficult, and frustrating process that can impact your finances for years. Fremont Michigan InsuraCorp, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board : FMMH ) wants consumers to remember to remain vigilant to avoid becoming the victim of Identity Fraud.
"Identity fraud comes in a myriad of forms, and exposure is broad," said Kurt Dettmer, vice president of marketing for Fremont Insurance. "If you receive mail, surf the net, make purchases or pay bills by phone or online, or interact with anyone who gathers any personal information from you for any reason, you are at risk."
Fremont Insurance offers these tips to help prevent identity theft during the holiday shopping season and throughout the year:
- Limit your exposure by only taking credit cards with you that you intend to use. If your purse or wallet is stolen, the impact will be significantly reduced if you only lose one or two credit cards
- Secure your mail, know your delivery time and collect your mail promptly. Deliver outgoing mail to a post office box or directly to the post office rather than leaving it in your home mailbox
- Secure sensitive information including social security cards, passports, tax returns, loan and credit card statements, unused checks, cancelled checks, bank statements, and keys to safe deposit boxes
- Check your credit reports with all three agencies periodically to identify any discrepancies
- Carefully review your credit card statements when they arrive following the holiday season. Notify the company immediately about any questionable charges
- Internet "phishing" scams masterfully mimic legitimate organizations. Do not disclose personal information unless you initiate the transaction and the website is secure: a lock icon on the taskbar, and the web address includes "s" (secure), i.e. "https"
- Avoid predictable names/numbers such as mother's maiden name, pet name, school name, nickname, birthdate, or phone number, for user names and passwords
- Make financial transactions by phone only with known organizations
- Question any requests that are made for your social security number
- Shred old information such as credit card statements
If you suspect identity fraud has occurred:
- Immediately close the affected bank/credit card accounts
- Call the credit reporting bureaus and place fraud alerts on your credit reports
- File a local police report, get a copy, and carry it with you; it may be needed to demonstrate that you are an identity fraud victim
- File a complaint with the FTC. Officials use the FTC database to investigate identity fraud claims.
About Fremont Michigan InsuraCorp, Inc.
Fremont Michigan InsuraCorp, Inc. (www.fmic.com) is the holding company for Fremont Insurance Company. Headquartered in Fremont, Mich., the company provides property and casualty insurance to individuals, farms and small businesses exclusively in Michigan. Fremont Michigan InsuraCorp's common stock trades under the symbol "FMMH."
SOURCE Fremont Michigan InsuraCorp, Inc.