Although cyber attacks make headlines, old-fashioned wallet-snatching and burglary are still the leading causes of identity fraud, according to a new study from Travelers.
Stolen or misplaced wallets or purses was the most common cause for identity fraud. A stolen driver's license, Social Security card or other form of personal identification was the No. 2 cause. Burglaries rated third. Together the top three accounted for 73 percent of all cases, according to a study of 2011 Travelers identity fraud insurance claim data.
Cyber breaches, including Internet scams, accounted for 15 percent of cases, and forgeries, accounted for 10 percent. Two percent of cases stemmed from postal fraud.
"When everyday essentials, like wallets or drivers licenses, are stolen or go missing, identity fraud often follows," Joe Reynolds, Travelers' identity fraud product manager, said in a press statement. "Credit cards, drivers licenses and other sources of personal information enable criminals to commit a fraud or crime, all in your name.
Travelers offers these tips:
- Carry only what you need. Leave unnecessary credit cards and critical documents in a safe place at home.
- Do not disclose personal information, such as bank account details, to unsolicited callers.
- Shred old bills and financial statements.
- Store wallets and purses in a safe place.
- Get a free credit report annually from AnnualCreditReport.com.