Insurance Buyers Beware: I received a phone call the other day from a person who had a very thick and heavy Middle Eastern accent. When I answered, there was a weird clicking sound, as if the call was coming from overseas. He asked for me by name and I answered, “Who’s calling?” He was trying to sell me insurance. I asked him if he were in the United States and he stated that he was. Then I asked him for his National Producer Number. When I asked him that, he hung up!
Folks, if you ever get a call from someone trying to sell you insurance over the telephone, always ask for their National Producer Number as well as their State Insurance License Number. If they will not give it to you, copy their telephone number down and then hang up.
Every licensed insurance agent that does business in every state has a National Producer Number. If the agent is a licensed agent, in good standing, they will gladly give you their number as well as their state license number.
Unfortunately, there are scammers out there that want to steal your money. If you receive an unsolicited call from someone claiming to offer insurance, just ask for their National Producer Number. If they will not give it, DO NOT give any of your personal info. Instead, copy their number down and report to your State Department of Insurance for investigation. Anyone trying to sell or solicit insurance to you must be duly licensed in the state you live in. If they provide the National Producer Number or license number, go to the department of insurance website and look up the number to verify them before doing business or providing your personal information.
Never, ever be ready to disclose your name, social security number, or even driver’s license number to someone who calls you unexpectedly, without you first checking them out to see if they are duly licensed. It is a crime in all states for a person to solicit, make an offer, or even speak with you about their insurance product, unless they are licensed in the state that you live in.
Agents that are in good standing with their state Department of Insurance have attended licensing classes and have taken a test for their license. They complete either 16 hours of continuing education for a Property & Casualty license or 24 for both Property & Casualty and Life & Health Licenses. If they are not current in their Continuing Education, their licenses will be suspended for failure to maintain their CE Requirements.
In closing, whatever you do, protect your personal information. Once your identity is stolen, it will be very hard to secure it. My own identity was stolen due to a data breach. There is not much one can do when a company’s data is breached, but you can certainly avoid verbally giving your personal information out to a stranger over the telephone by practicing safe conversations and checking out the caller before attempting to do business.
If you feel your identity may have been stolen, one way to find out is to purchase credit monitoring through either your bank or credit union. If it is detected that someone has tried to obtain credit in your name, the monitoring service will assist you in how to resolve your identity theft. A police report should be filed as well as a letter be written to all three credit bureaus. Make sure you also report your identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission as well as your Attorney General’s Office. Once you have been issued an Identity Theft Passport, DMV will be notified. The Federal Trade Commission will notify the IRS, Social Security, and Medicare. Therefore, it is very important to safe guard your personal information.
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