CHANTILLY, Va., June 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Intersections Inc. (Nasdaq: INTX), a leading provider of consumer and corporate identity theft prevention services, today announced that it has added a new Address Monitoring feature to its award-winning IDENTITY GUARD® product suite. Customers can now expect to receive NOTIFY EXPRESS® monitoring alerts from IDENTITY GUARD® alerting them to any address changes provided through the United States Postal Service (USPS), whether it is an authorized change or an unlawful redirection of the user's mail.
According to the 2010 Javelin Strategy & Research Identity Fraud Survey Report, names and home addresses continue to top the list of critical personal data stolen by identity thieves. The new IDENTITY GUARD® Address Monitoring monitors and notifies consumers of changes made to their address within the last 18 months, updates its database and quickly alerts the customer.
"Intersections strives to empower consumers with personal identity theft protection and that's why we continue to invest in the evolution of our award-winning IDENTITY GUARD® service. We believe this new address monitoring service is yet another way of providing our customers with the most comprehensive solution available for protecting themselves from identity thieves," said Steve Schwartz, Intersections' Executive Vice President of Consumer Solutions.
If a customer has recently moved and filled out a change of address form with the USPS, they can use the alerts as a way to verify that their information was filed correctly. If, however, the change was not authorized, it is possible that identity theft has taken place and customers will need to contact their local post office immediately to dispute the change. The alerts help customers identify criminal activity involving their address and can help them resolve the incident more quickly and efficiently.
April through July has historically been the busiest time of year for home buying and selling. During these months, neighborhoods across the country are filled with moving trucks as homeowners, renters and their families move on from the old to the new. A lot goes into packing and moving a home and often times certain things can get overlooked -- like the safety and security of a mover's personally identifying information (PII).
"A lot of planning and preparation goes into a big relocation and often times identity protection is not top of mind with everything else that's going on. Unfortunately, something as simple as a misdirected bank statement could end up in the wrong hands resulting in a compromised identity," said Schwartz. "Most homeowners don't think twice about installing a security alarm in their new home after a move and often times activating the system can be done in a few simple steps. Along the same lines, if homeowners would take the same steps required to help protect their identities, they would be providing themselves and their families with invaluable protection, including an important alarm or warning to know when there is a potential compromise."
In conjunction with the new IDENTITY GUARD® Address Monitoring feature, Intersections has put together a list of simple steps a homeowner can take to protect their identity from fraudsters before, during, and after a hectic move:
Top Safety Steps for Homeowners on the Move
- Before your move, make a list of all personal mail you receive on a regular basis. Notify banks, financial institutions and creditors of the move and redirect all paper statements and sensitive financial mailings to your new address, or, consider switching to online statements. The 2010 Identity Fraud Survey Report from Javelin Strategy & Research found that consumers who utilized electronic statement monitoring took less time to detect incidents of fraud and paid lower mean consumer costs ($116 vs. $274) than those monitoring paper statements. Make a checklist for:
- Retirement accounts/Banking Institutions/Credit Card Companies
- Utility companies (electric, gas, water, cable, etc.)
- Insurance companies (medical, property, renters, fire and auto)
- Local government agencies, federal agencies & the IRS
- Healthcare providers
- Subscriptions (magazines, newspapers, etc.)
- Submit a Change of Address request through the post office. Once the request has been filed, be on the look-out for a confirmation from the Postal Service and use this to verify your new information has been correctly updated. Mail should start to arrive at your new address within 7 to 10 business days after filing.
- Shred all important documents and paperwork that will not be coming with you. Thieves will often go through garbage in search of things like pre-paid credit card offers that they can alter and use to create new accounts in your name. A decent shredder can cost as little as $50 and can be a very worthwhile investment. Make sure you are properly disposing of your shredded materials yourself -- do not leave the task for anyone else to complete on your behalf.
- Monitor bank and credit card statements for suspicious activity. Consider enrolling in a service like IDENTITY GUARD® TOTAL PROTECTION(SM) that not only helps you monitor activity related to your credit, but also helps protect your computer, public records, and even mobile devices -- all things that could have been impacted by the move.
- Mover fraud is becoming more commonplace in the U.S. To avoid becoming a victim, do your due diligence and thoroughly research moving companies in your area. Ask for recommendations from trustworthy friends, family members, and real estate agents. And check with the Better Business Bureau to ensure the mover has a solid reputation. You should also make sure the mover is registered with the Federal Moto Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and has a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDDOT) number before signing any agreements or obtaining an estimate.
- Transfer all important physical documents that will be making the move, such as wills, stock certificates, bonds, etc., to a safe and secure place such as a locked box or an online secure vault. Keep the physical documents with you during the move and do not leave any secure receptacles for movers or others to transport.
- Lock down your computer. Devote time and resources before your move to make sure all computers in your home are hack-proof and packed and out of sight before movers arrive. Take all computers, hard drives, and other external storage devices with you during the move.
- Make sure you are present for the entire duration of the move. Your presence could deter potential theft from occurring and you can rest assured that your personal belongings are being taken care of properly.
- After the move, verify that you are receiving all mail from the list of senders you identified and contacted beforehand. If something is missing or does not start arriving at your new address, contact the company immediately to confirm the address change and make sure that nothing is going to the old address.
- Take time after the move to create a secure zone for the storage of secure data and to serve as a place were sensitive transactions like book keeping takes place. Update your computer security technology and consider tightening the physical security measures on the premise.
For more information about this invaluable new feature, please visit www.identityguard.com.
Intersections Inc. (Nasdaq: INTX) is a leading global provider of consumer and corporate identity risk management services. Its premier identity theft, privacy, and consumer solutions are designed to provide high-value opportunities to its marketing partners, including leading financial institutions, Fortune 100 corporations, and other businesses. Intersections also markets full identity theft protection solutions under its brand, IDENTITY GUARD® (www.identityguard.com). Intersections' consumer identity theft protection services have protected more than 30 million consumers.
To address the growing threat of corporate fraud, Intersections and its subsidiaries provide cutting-edge identity management solutions including security breach remediation; pre-employment background screening; and corporate brand protection.
SOURCE Intersections Inc.