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Valek Insurance and Bonds Blog

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Could One Good Deed Lead to Identity Theft?

Important alert concerning charitable donations In light of recent natural disasters, relief efforts often spring up overnight, making it difficult for the person who genuinely wants to contribute to recognize the difference between real charity efforts and fraudulent ones. Fraudsters are increasingly adept at making a scam charity seem legitimate; therefore, even in times of tragedy, individuals must use caution, rather than emotion, when providing assistance. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National Center for Disaster Fraud have issued the following guidelines to help donators avoid becoming victims of a charity scam: » Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) incoming emails, including clicking links contained within those messages. » Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for donations via email or social networking sites. » Beware of organizations with copycat names similar to but not exactly the same as those of reputable charities. » Rather than following a purported link to a website, verify the legitimacy of non-profit organizations by utilizing various internet-based resources that may assist in confirming the group’s existence and its non-profit status. » Be cautious of emails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files because the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders. » To ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes, make contributions directly... posted by Jim Valek on Mon., Nov 19th, 2012 in Identity Theft Insurance

Consumer Tips for the Holidays

Protecting your identity during the holiday season Keeping your sensitive information safe It’s once again the time of year when consumers are making plans to visit relatives, host festive get-togethers, and, of course, hit the stores (or computer) for some shopping. Unfortunately, the flurry of activity that goes hand-in-hand with the holidays presents a prime opportunity for a data thief to practice his trade. With that in mind, put the protection of sensitive personal information at the top of your holiday to-do list. Kroll’s Investigators offer the following tips that can help consumers keep their sensitive information safe: Tip #1: Practice safe shopping in stores » Before you hit the stores, take stock of what you bring along with you in your purse/wallet. Remove unnecessary key identity components. Make a list of what remains so you’ll know what is missing if your purse/wallet is lost or stolen. » Consider your preferred method of payment—each has pros and cons. Generally, from a theft standpoint, credit cards are safer because, unlike debit cards, you usually have more protection against fraudulent charges. Cash is another option, but while you will not have to worry about personal identifiers, it will be gone for good if stolen. Be very careful with checkbooks, as stolen checks can give the thief access to your checking account. Tip #2: Practice safe shopping... posted by Jim Valek on Mon., Nov 19th, 2012 in Identity Theft Insurance

Florida drivers said to pay $1 billion more in auto insurance because of staged crashes

Accident fraud is costing Florida drivers nearly an extra billion dollars a year in their personal injury protection insurance rates, according to Gov. Rick Scott. He's helping lead the push to reform the state's PIP system. Gov. Scott was fired up Wednesday as he spoke to supporters of insurance reform at the state Capitol. He argued the higher insurance rates resulting from fraud are like a tax. It's estimated Florida drivers pay 56 percent higher auto rates compared to other states. Personal injury protection rates have been climbing about 30 percent a year in Florida even though there's been a 12 percent reduction in car crashes over the past five years. Police blame drivers in organized crime groups for staging accidents and then running up medical bills to the $10,000 limit allowed by the state's no-fault law. Gov. Scott urged the crowd to put the pressure on lawmakers to pass reform legislation. "This is how laws get changed. You show up and you let your legislators know what you want. You are sick and tired of a billion dollars a year of fraud. You're tired of it. You're tired of scammers taking advantage of you. You're tired of attorneys taking advantage of you. Enough... posted by Jim Valek on Mon., Jan 30th, 2012 in Insurance Company Industry News Insurance Fraud

Homeowners Insurance - Florida Residents, Understand Your Policy

Many people especially first time home buyers should take the following advice when it comes to getting new Sarasota homeowners insurance: read the fine print before signing. New homeowners tend to simply go for the cheapest price when it comes to homeowners insurance. Just ask anyone affected by hurricane Irene if that strategy paid off. A common feeling of “nothing ever happens were I live” can lead to just signing up for the least expensive policy. However many homeowners will fins out the hard way that a basic homeowners policy can have many short comings – it may only cover damage done in a very specific set of circumstances, have very high deductibles, and no standard homeowners insurance policy will cover flood damage at all. The only time a homeowner has to ensure that their policy will protect their financial future against damage to their house is when they are selecting which policy to purchase. Homeowners insurance policies can be pages long with many paragraphs of fine print. Much of the language in the policy is written in legalese and insurance jargon only a trained insurance agent will fully understand. As Such it is highly advisable to only purchase your homeowners policy... posted by Jim Valek on Mon., Dec 19th, 2011 in Homeowners Insurance insurance agencies

Benefits Of Using An Independent Florida Insurance Agent

Why use an independent insurance agent? Independent insurance agents are not limited to auto or home insurance from just one brand or large insurance company. An independent agent will obtain quotes from several different companies, some of these insurance companies may even specialize in writing policies in only your area and as a result can offer better premiums with the same or even greater coverage for the policyholder. Often the average person will not be aware of these smaller local companies because they specialize in working through independent agencies which can save them the high cost of advertising that the big national companies must absorb. Value Is More Important Than Price Never buy your insurance based on price alone. Many time the minimum legal amount of coverage will not cover your expenses in the event of an accident or disaster. Your independent insurance agent can find you an auto insurance or homeowners insurance policy that provides the right kind of protection for your needs. You want an insurance company that’s loyal and pays valid claims promptly. A local independent Sarasota insurance agent works for you and their long-term interest is in your satisfaction – not any one insurance company. As a result... posted by Jim Valek on Mon., Dec 19th, 2011 in Insurance insurance agencies
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