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Member Service Highlight: Identity Theft Protection

You work hard for years to be able to buy your first home.  Your credit is impeccable – or so you think. Imagine being declined for the loan because your credit is riddled with late payments, collection accounts, delinquent loans, and dozens of maxed-out credit cards – none of which are yours! 

Now imagine your personal medical information has been compromised.  Then imagine finding out that your personal and health insurance information has been used by someone to obtain medical treatment, surgery, or even prescription drugs using your identity.  The seriousness of the fraud becomes even more evident when you receive an invoice for the treatment, or worse, find out that the medical information in your file is not yours!  

Welcome to the nightmare of identity theft.

Identity theft continues to be one of the fastest growing crimes in America.  According to Javelin Strategy and Research, a group that studies identity theft statistics, there were 16.7 million victims of identity theft in the U.S. in 2017, a record that followed a previous record the year before. The amount stolen from the victims was $16.8 billion, and 30 percent of all U.S. customers were notified of some form of exposure to a data breach.  

Identity theft is also one of the most difficult crimes from which to recover.  Since 2003, the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) has been surveying victims of identity theft to understand things like how long it takes them to find out they're a victim, what they experience, how long it takes them to fix the issues caused by identity theft and how much money it costs them to recover.  According to their findings:   

  • 26% of respondents had to borrow money from family or friends
  • 22% of respondents had to take time off work 
  • 15.3% of respondents sold possessions to pay for expenses caused by their identity theft
  • 66% of respondents experienced fear regarding their personal financial security

According to the FTC, an identity theft victim can spend up to 200 hours working to restore their identity. That is 25 full work-days! If you’re like me, you’d be hard-pressed to find that much time with which to clear your identity.   

Now for some good news… As part of the many benefits included with your Georgia Farm Bureau membership, you now have access to Identity Theft Consultation and Restoration Services*.  All eligible** family members in your household are covered and the service is included in your annual membership dues.  

How does the program work?

  • If you suspect that your identity has been stolen, call 1-800-633-5432 (option 1) to report the identity theft event to a trained Member Service Specialist 
  • A thorough assessment of your unique situation will be performed to determine the nature and extent of the identity theft event
  • Once a determination has been made that your identity has been stolen, you will be assigned a Personal Recovery Advocate and a case file will be opened
  • Utilizing a Limited Power of Attorney, the Personal Recovery Advocate will work on your behalf to restore your identity to pre-theft status
  • The Personal Recovery Advocate will remain assigned to you for as long as it takes to restore your identity to pre-theft status
  • The case file is kept for three years in the event that additional issues arise from the original identity theft event

Obviously, we hope you never have to use this service.  But, as identity theft continues to grow as an epidemic in America, isn’t it a relief to know that your Farm Bureau Membership is there for you if you do? 

Additionally, by being a valued member of the Georgia Farm Bureau, you can protect yourself and your family from identity theft at a 20% discount through our partnership with ID Experts and their flagship credit monitoring product, MyIDCare, which recently received the highest ranking awarded by the consumer product and service advocacy site, Best Company.   Of the 86 identity protection services researched, MyIDCare earned the top ranking due to cutting-edge features like competitive pricing, comprehensive services and $1 million insurance and recovery guarantee.  To enroll for as little as $7.95/mo., click here.  

 

*Program is not identity theft protection, an insurance product or credit monitoring

**GFB member, spouse, children under the age of 19, or 24 if a full-time student