Protect yourself from identity theft

Insurance companies catch up with 21st century crime

Insurance companies catch up with 21st century crime

A US insurance company is offering customers cover for the loss of their digital identity. Minneapolis-based Farmers Home Group is selling its identity theft protection plan for people who are worried about their credit card numbers or other private data being stolen. The insurance group said it can also help with the recovery of personal data. Most credit card firms are reasonable about giving refunds but very few are willing to pay for the loss of time incurred by individuals trying to get their personal details re-issued. The plan could cover losses of up to $25,000 at a cost of around $10 per month. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned last month of the growing menace of identity theft. Almost half of its 204,000 complaints during 2001 involved stolen identities. The FTC said up to 750,000 US citizens will have their identities stolen this year. Thieves are stealing IDs though various means, such as following an electronic trail from computers, paying backhanders to internet data providers or even searching through household rubbish for credit card payment slips.