In the US an identity is stolen every two seconds; now identity theft is on the rise in New Zealand too. According to information from insurance company CIGNA, last year more than 1,100 incidents of identity misuse were reported in New Zealand, with this number expected to increase dramatically.
Identity thieves steal personal information and use a person’s identity to commit fraud. This can not only result in the loss of money, but victims may be unable to get credit or even end up with a criminal record because a crime has been committed in their name.
To help consumers fight against this, insurance company CIGNA has partnered with Veda Advantage, New Zealand’s leading credit agency, to offer an Identity Theft Insurance policy, which will help detect identity theft and resolve and restore stolen identities.
Mark Kenning, National Contact Centre Manager for CIGNA Insurance, says, “Stand alone identity theft insurance exists in other countries but until now this hasn’t been the case in New Zealand. CIGNA recognises that many New Zealanders don’t know how to protect themselves from this crime nor what to do if it happens to them, which is why we’ve created our Identity Theft Insurance policy.”
CIGNA Identity Theft Insurance gives customers safe and simple steps to ensure their identity is secure. After signing-up, customers receive a copy of their personal credit file which allows them to see who has run credit checks on them against Veda Advantage’s consumer credit bureau. A credit alert facility means consumers can be notified immediately via email or post if their consumer credit bureau credit file has been accessed.
This preventative measure enables consumers to act swiftly to prevent damage to their credit history and take steps if their identity is being claimed and used by a third party . If an identity is stolen, the restorative assistance element investigates the fraud and addresses damage to the consumer’s credit rating, while the financial assistance helps to cover legal costs and/or loss of income.
John Roberts, Managing Director of Veda Advantage NZ, says, “Identity theft is a crime which often leaves victims feeling emotionally scarred, violated, angry and helpless. For many New Zealanders, having their identity stolen will result in someone else's bad credit history recorded on their credit report. It is important to put measures in place to prevent this growing crime and ensure New Zealanders have protection against their most valuable asset – their identity.”