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TMCNet:  Santa's Last-Minute Elves Vulnerable to Identity Theft, Security First Insurance Provides Florida Shoppers With Valuable Tips

[December 18, 2012]

Santa's Last-Minute Elves Vulnerable to Identity Theft, Security First Insurance Provides Florida Shoppers With Valuable Tips

ORMOND BEACH, Fla., Dec 18, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE via COMTEX) -- If last year is any indication, the holiday shopping season has yet to hit its peak: sales revenue for the week ending Dec. 24, 2011, was $44 billion, 14.8% higher than the same time period in 2010, according to ShopperTrak. And online consumers will be clicking and tapping their fair share of purchases: online shopping sales for the week ending Dec. 25, 2011, were $2.8 billion, compared to $2.45 billion during the same time period in 2010, according to ComScore. And procrastinating shoppers, especially those in the state of Florida, have more to worry about than whether or not coveted items are out of stock. They'll be using credit cards, checks and identification documents in greater frequency--actions which make them extremely vulnerable to identity thieves.

Florida is home to the highest per capita rate of identity theft reports in the nation and, as thieves target distracted shoppers, Floridians are even more vulnerable to becoming a victim of identity theft during the holiday season. Security First Insurance, a Florida-based homeowners insurance provider, is taking a proactive approach to help Floridians reduce their risk of identity theft and prevent long-term damage.

As part of launching its identity theft protection coverage, Security First Insurance is using social media, Internet news sites and the company's website to inform Floridians of this threat during the holiday season. Security First Insurance is also using its network of nearly 1,500 insurance agents located throughout the state to provide identity theft prevention material they can share with Florida residents. The company has produced an identity theft video and online identity theft prevention guide that provides information about how thieves steal identities, the type of coverage needed for complete protection, and tips to prevent identity theft, such as looking out for skimming devices.

Different companies offer different levels of identity theft coverage. Coverage may or may not include monitoring services. Without monitoring services, it could take longer before someone is alerted that their identity has been stolen--resulting in unnecessary, long-term, extensive damage to their reputation and credit. Monitoring services provides early warning notification and a person's identity continues to be monitored after the crime to ensure no further identity theft crimes are being committed. Security First Insurance's identity theft coverage includes monitoring services and is available to policyholders for $25 per year. There is also no additional fee to add family members to the coverage.

"Identity theft coverage, without monitoring services, doesn't necessarily protect you from a long and difficult recovery," said Locke Burt, chairman and president of Security First Insurance Company. "We specifically chose an identity theft protection offering that provides comprehensive, proactive coverage and includes monitoring services - we want to do our part to give Floridians peace of mind as they shop this holiday season." A former Senator, Burt sponsored 10 bills involving ID theft and consumer privacy, including legislation that made skimming devices illegal, as well as the creation of Florida's credit card truncation law (requiring businesses to provide consumers with receipts that display only the last four digits of their card, and to omit the card's expiration date). He was named Legislator of the Year in 2001 by the Florida Retail Federation as a result of his efforts to protect consumers.

Security First Insurance's top five tips to avoid identity theft: -- Obtain identity theft protection and make sure it includes monitoring services. Some companies charge an extra fee for these services.

-- Check your online account balance and transactions frequently.

-- Don't respond to emails, texts, or phone calls with personal information. In 2011, 43 percent of companies used email as the method of contact to reach consumers (http://ftc.gov/sentinel/reports/sentinel-annual-reports/sentinel-cy2011.pdf, page 9).

-- Change your usernames and passwords frequently. Identity thieves are also programmers and they also know the Monday after Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday, is the busiest online shopping day of the year.

-- Look out for skimmers, nearly undetectable devices placed over credit card machines at gas pumps and ATMs. Get cash back in stores to avoid using ATMs.

Security First Insurance is committed to making sure Florida residents are aware of this risk that could impact them and their families for years. The company encourages residents to obtain comprehensive identity theft coverage or review existing coverage to verify if monitoring services are provided.

Floridians who would like more information about Security First Insurance's Identity Theft Coverage should access the company's web site (www.securityfirstflorida.com/idtheft). Click "Find An Agent" to locate a highly qualified, licensed insurance agent who has been selected to sell products for Security First Insurance Company. A free identity theft prevention guide is also available to all Floridians from the website.

For more information visit SecurityFirstFlorida.com/idtheft ### About Security First Insurance Company As a Florida homeowners insurance company, Security First Insurance provides homeowners, renters, condo unit owners, and dwelling fire insurance to more than 175,000 customers located throughout Florida. The company offers the most technologically advanced systems and services in the industry, including the only all-inclusive homeowners insurance mobile app in the country and My Choice Home Protection, a personalized online contents valuation and home inventory system.

Security First Insurance has been assigned a Financial Stability Rating(R) (FSR) of A, Exceptional, from Demotech, Inc., is ranked 5th in the Top 10 Personal and Residential Insurance Companies in Florida by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and has one of the most comprehensive reinsurance programs in the state. Security First Insurance is strongly committed to providing a viable Florida home insurance product, as well as initiatives and volunteerism efforts that support and protect residents and communities of the sunshine state.

The Security First Insurance Company logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/ pkgid=15897 This information was brought to you by Cision http://www.cisionwire.com http://www.cisionwire.com/security-first-insurance-company/r/santa-s-last-minute-elves-vulnerable-to-identity-theft--security-first-insurance-provides-florida-sh,c9350426 The following pictures are available for download: [Image] Locke Headshot CONTACT: Media Contact: Toni Harrison 386-506-7348 THarrison@securityfirstflorida.com http://media.globenewswire.com/cache/15773/small/16841.jpg <p>(Logo: http://media.primezone.com/cache/15773/int/16841.jpg) (Logo: http://media.primezone.com/cache/15773/int/16841.jpg) http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/ti nf=MTMjMTAwMTYwODIjMTU3NzM=

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