Quite likely most other insurance companies will match this within a
MetLife Plans Free ID Theft Aid for Clients
By Eileen Alt Powell
NEW YORK, March 27 -- MetLife Inc., one of the nation's largest
insurers, is rolling out a new program this week to provide free help
in resolving cases of identity theft for all of its homeowner
Noel Edsall, director of MetLife Auto & Home product development, said
the ID theft resolution service would be launched first in New York
and Florida, then expand nationwide.
While several insurance companies sell ID theft coverage, mainly to
reimburse consumers for their costs in dealing with misuse of credit
cards or other accounts, MetLife would be the first that works with
consumers to resolve their problems at no cost.
The program, which will be available to the nearly 1 million MetLife
homeowners and renters policyholders, comes at a time of heightened
concern over ID theft. In recent weeks, several data collection
companies have disclosed that thousands of their records were tapped
by thieves. ID theft tops the list of frauds reported to the Federal
Trade Commission, which coordinates federal fraud prevention efforts.
Edsall said that the program will help consumers with identity theft,
which can involve a fraudster taking over someone's identity and
opening new accounts or buying cars, as well as account takeovers,
which often involves the theft of a credit card.
Matt Cullina, manager of the MetLife team that developed the new
service, said that MetLife policyholders who are victimized by ID
thieves will be urged to call the MetLife call center listed on their
policies. From there they will be directed to specialists at Identity
Theft 911 LLC of Scottsdale, Ariz., which provides ID theft resolution
Sheryl Cox Christenson, the company's chief executive, said Identity
Theft 911 "serves as an advocate," providing services that include
preparing affidavits, contacting police and notifying credit bureaus
on a consumer's behalf.
Several major banks, including Citigroup Inc. and Washington Mutual
Inc., offer free identity theft services for customers, but they
generally focus on the most onerous cases. There are also a number of
nonprofit groups that provide advice to ID theft victims, including
the Identity Theft Resource Center in San Diego, which operates the
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