December 2013
Be Alert for ID Theft This Holiday Season
Two people holding a credit card

Be Alert for ID Theft This Holiday Season

Identity thieves love the holidays. Use caution when shopping.

One of the exciting things about the holiday season is shopping. Unfortunately, identity thieves love shopping, too, only they’re shopping for ways to steal.

Think you’re doing pretty well protecting yourself from identity theft? Use this easy Identity Theft Risk Calculator to learn steps you can take to reduce your risk of ID theft.

You also can follow these practices to avoid identity theft this holiday season.

At the mall:

  • Only bring your driver's license and the credit card you intend to use. Leave other credit cards and ID at home.
  • Watch for "shoulder surfers" – thieves who try to get information by taking a picture of your credit card or writing down the information they can see during your transaction. Cover your credit card information from prying eyes.
  • Only use ATMs in bank lobbies or secure locations with video surveillance. Always shield your PIN and card number from others.


  • Make sure the website URL begins with https. The "s" indicates that you are on a secure website. Or, look for an icon of a locked padlock, which usually can be found at the bottom of the screen.
  • Be cautious of emails about the status of package deliveries to your home. Sometimes scam artists use such tactics to spread computer viruses, or to gain access to your online information. Never open attachments from unknown sources.
  • Don't shop or conduct personal business on unsecure networks, whether they’re at coffee shops, stores or public places. This applies to your smartphone, too.
  • Make sure your antivirus and anti-spyware software is up-to-date.
  • Be sure your password or PIN is strong, unique and difficult to detect by others. The best passwords combine upper- and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Use known merchants. If you’re not familiar with an online retailer and can’t find reputable sources to vouch for the store, shop elsewhere.

General shopping tips:

  • Use credit cards instead of debit cards. If a thief gets your debit card information, they can drain your account. Also, credit cards typically have a longer time to report fraud.
  • Don't leave a wallet or laptop in the back seat or other exposed location in your car.
  • Look for signs of ID theft including new accounts you didn't open, inaccurate or fraudulent information on your credit report, receiving credit cards you didn't apply for and being denied credit when you’ve always had good credit.
  • Check all credit card statements immediately to verify purchases and compare them against your receipts.
  • If you call for tech support, be certain you have reached the actual company. Identity thieves will use false tech support sites to obtain personal information.

For more information about protecting yourself from identity theft, or if you think your identity has been compromised, consult the My Security section of American Family’s Learning Center.

Starting Your Car in Cold Weather
Key in frozen car lock

Starting Your Car in Cold Weather

Don’t let winter’s icy grip leave you stranded.

If the temperatures dip below freezing, your car may be a little reluctant to start.

Cold weather makes your engine hard to start for two main reasons. First, oil thickens in the cold, making it harder for the starter motor to spin the engine. Cold also slows the chemical reaction in the car's battery, reducing its power output. When the temperature dips to five degrees Fahrenheit, a fully charged battery has only about half its rated capacity.

So, if you live in a cold part of the country, or plan to travel in chilly regions this winter, beware!

If your car won’t start, here are some tips to get you going.

  • First and foremost, check your owner’s manual for cold start information specific to your vehicle. What works for one car may be dangerous for another. Likewise, if you need to jump start your car, check your car’s manual for guidance.
  • Turn off all accessories including the heater, radio, lights, heated seats and anything plugged into a power outlet. This helps maximize your starting power.
  • If your car does not start after 10 to 20 seconds of cranking, wait a minute or two before trying again. This gives the battery time to recover and allows the starter motor to cool. Cranking the starter more than 20 seconds can damage it.
  • Warm engines are easier to start than cold ones. If you have access to an electrical outlet where you park your car, consider installing an engine heater so you can plug your car in to keep the engine warm.

Also, consider the proactive car winterization measures listed in this @dvisor article to avoid getting left out in the cold this winter.

And finally, look into American Family’s Emergency Road Service program. When you're stranded, this policy option can help get you and your vehicle back on the road.

Keep Kids and Pets Safe During the Holidays
dog begging as toddler watches

Keep Kids and Pets Safe During the Holidays

Make sure your celebrations are safe this holiday season.

With holidays fast approaching, many celebrations include colorful lights, festive decorations and holiday foods. While they add to the merriment, many decorations and foods have hidden dangers to toddlers, small children and even pets.

Don’t let memories of an illness or injury mar your holiday season. Here’s a quick list of things to watch for.


  • Anchor your Christmas tree so it won’t tip or fall.
  • If you have a live tree, clean up fallen needles which, if eaten, can cause mouth injuries and digestive problems.
  • Hang tinsel out of reach. If eaten, it can cause intestinal blockage.
  • Use caution with light strings, which can get tangled or cause burns or shocks if their wires are frayed.
  • Ornaments are a risk for choking and intestinal blockage.
  • Holly, mistletoe and lilies are poisonous. Keep them out of reach.
  • Keep lit candles away from pets and small children.

Food and drink:

  • Fatty or spicy foods can cause nausea. Also, bones can splinter and cause intestinal blockages.
  • Be careful with alcohol. Even small amounts can be dangerous.


  • Wrapping paper, string and ribbons can cause choking or intestinal blockages.
  • If you have guests staying with you, make sure all of their medications – including over-the-counter ones – are stored securely.
  • Keep handy all emergency numbers, including those for your police and fire departments, and your pediatrician and veterinarian.

For more ideas on keeping your kids safe during holidays, check out this article in the American Family Learning Center.

Pursue Your Career Dreams at American Family
New agent

Pursue Your Career Dreams at American Family

Help protect people’s dreams – become an agent in training or agent!

Protect dreams, and pursue yours too, by joining our team.

American Family Insurance is seeking motivated, qualified candidates for our agent-in-training and agent positions. You can make a meaningful difference in the lives of others, while building your career at a strong, stable and successful Fortune 500 company.

Agent in Training

Being an agent in training is a great way to get a feel for the business before opening your own American Family Insurance agency. As an agent in training, you would receive hands-on experience, working alongside seasoned agents. This is a salaried position with bonus opportunities. Agents in training are typically appointed into agencies within 12 to 24 months.


As an American Family agent in one of our 19 operating states, you would help protect customers’ dreams and serve as a trusted advisor, offering just the right mix of American Family's auto, home, life*, liability umbrella, business, and farm & ranch insurance, as well as retirement* products.

As an agent, you would be paid based on new policies and renewals of existing policies. You also would have an office staff to assist you, and you’d receive paid training, ongoing education, marketing support and more.

Qualified agents in training and agents typically have experience in business ownership or outside sales, and are also highly motivated, self-driven and eager to operate their own business.

Find out what’s currently available by checking these listings of agent in training and agent opportunities. Interested in taking the next step? Contact a recruiter in your area.

For more information on American Family employment opportunities in general, visit our Careers website.

*Issued by American Family Life Insurance Company