Identity Theft… Modern Day Robbery

by Apr 25, 2016

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Shepard Insurance prides itself on experience, and my most recent experience came at a cost that will undoubtedly add to our agency’s ability to serve you. I pride myself on being an expert on the subject of insurance, so it probably comes as a shock that an insurance expert could be the victim of identity theft. I thought I had taken every step necessary to protect myself, but that ideal crumbled when my health insurer was hacked, exposing all of my personal identity information and risking my assets.

So the nightmare began…

I discovered the breech when filing my 2014 income taxes. My federal tax return was rejected. Apparently a return had already been filed under my social security number.

This launched a process that was both frustrating and enlightening, one that ultimately equipped me with a skillset that will serve as an asset to clients looking to protect their own identities.

With the advice of the IRS, I submitted my return through their Identity Fraud Affidavit, including 2 forms of identification with it. But that was where their guidance ended and the discussion of a solution stopped.

Because I am not passive, I started an investigation of my own into the subject. What I found was stunning: In 2013 alone, the federal government gave out a whopping $5.3 billion for 391,000 fraudulent refunds.

As a consequence of being hacked, my health insurer offered me one year of identity protection thru their service. I decided to add to layer that with my own monitoring plan which cost $15 per month. Yet neither of these safety nets detected current fraud I am experiencing as my credit has not yet been effected, which is their first sign of trouble. Though I am sure my credit will indeed be impacted, this line of defense is passive at best.

To further shore up my defenses, I contacted Equifax and set up a fraud alert, a measure that will be shared with Experian and Trans Union so all three major credit reporting agencies are on the lookout. I have also set up a fraud alert with the FCC, and advised my credit monitoring company of the identity fraud. In addition, I changed passwords to all of my various accounts and will continue to update them on a regular basis.

In addition to adding to my defense, I explored other areas that might expose me to risk and found that my tax preparation software had no encryption, making that service vulnerable.

Though hackers have us largely in the dark, an active defense beats the passive approach. Identity theft is real, and we are all at risk. Changing passwords, setting up credit monitoring, adding $50,000 of coverage to my home insurance policy, all help deflect potential breeches. I will continue to explore ways to build a preventative shield to deflect the risks that come with this modern digital age and will post information on this blog as I learn more about the topic and how we can best protect ourselves.

If you have questions email Kyle at or call 203.698.9342.

Written by: Steve Shepard

Founder/Principal, Shepard Insurance Group. At Shepard Insurance Group we begin every relationship with a face to face meeting with the client. In a comprehensive discussion of coverage needs, personal concerns, objectives and finally appetite for risk, we can arrive at the proper insurance solution. Understanding the client is the first step to accurate execution.

April 25, 2016

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