Identity fraud is on the rise as reported here in the Wall Street Journal.
More consumers became victims of identity fraud last year than at any point in more than a decade despite new security protections implemented by the credit-card industry, a report released Wednesday said.
Some 15.4 million U.S. consumers were victims of identity fraud in 2016, resulting in $16 billion in total losses, according to the report by consulting firm Javelin Strategy & Research and identity-theft-protection firm LifeLock Inc. The number of victims rose 18% from 2015 and was the highest since Javelin, a unit of Greenwich Associates LLC, started tracking the phenomenon in 2003.
The increase in identity fraud, the bulk of which comes from card activity, was driven in part by a 15% rise in cases of fraudulent online purchases, the study noted. That activity led to “existing-card” fraud, which involves criminals counterfeiting debit and credit cards already held by customers, reaching a new peak.
Here is Fidelity’s customer protection guarantee.
Fidelity will reimburse you for losses from unauthorized activity in covered accounts occurring through no fault of your own.
How do I get this protection?
You are automatically covered for all cash and securities held in your covered Fidelity account(s).
What accounts are covered?
Cash and securities in your retirement and non-retirement accounts with Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, as well as individual workplace retirement accounts under a 401(k), profit sharing, 403(b), or 457 plan for which Fidelity is the record keeper are covered.
What about Fidelity accounts managed by independent investment advisors?
Cash and securities in these Fidelity accounts are covered, but please be aware, as described below, transactions made by your investment advisor for you are considered authorized by you.
What actions must I take to be eligible?
You must frequently check your account information and promptly review correspondence, account statements, and confirmations as they are made available to you, but no later than 30 days after that information is posted to your account or delivered to you. Contact Fidelity immediately at 800-544-6666if you suspect any unauthorized account activity, errors, discrepancies, lose the device you normally use to contact us, or if you have not received your account statements. You must also maintain up-to-date contact information with us so that you may continue to receive our important communications and to ensure that we can contact you in case of suspected unauthorized activity.
What must I do to protect my accounts?
To be covered, you must adopt Fidelity’s recommended security practices at Online Security at Fidelity. Never share your account access information, including username, password and answers to security questions, with anyone. Use a unique username and password for your Fidelity accounts. If you are a victim of identity theft, change your password and notify us immediately.
What if I have a claim?
We will ask for your cooperation with our investigation and may ask you to take follow up actions. For example, we may ask you to have a professional computer security company clean your computer hard-drive or may ask you to file a police report, provide an affidavit, or sign a release. Fidelity will determine the applicability of the Customer Protection Guarantee and any reimbursement amounts based on the facts of your situation. We do not cover taxes, legal fees, lost opportunity costs, consequential/non-monetary damages or amounts that have been or are eligible to be reimbursed, for example, by a depository bank or through insurance.
What are examples of where I won’t be covered?
If you grant authority to, or share your Fidelity account access credentials or information with, any persons or entities, their activity will be considered authorized by you. Losses of cash or securities transferred to outside accounts that are beneficially-owned by you are not covered by this Guarantee. Also not covered is activity resulting from misuse, negligence or fraud by an employer/plan administrator, financial intermediary, or any third-party authorized by you to access or to receive your data or with whom you’ve shared your username, password, or account number; or from malware or a breach of security that affects the systems of any of those parties.
What assets may not be covered?
Assets including certain annuities and insurance products, Fidelity Advisor Fund accounts, Fidelity Destiny Plans, and Fidelity Advisor 529 accounts are not covered because they are held away from or maintained by someone other than Fidelity.
What if I suspect fraud with my credit/debit cards or check-writing?
For credit and debit card and check-writing transactions, refer to the terms and conditions sent with the card or first order of checks.
Read more here.
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