Identity Theft: Protect Yourself

Identity Theft Series

Prevention is your best line of defense against identity theft. Be mindful of where your wallet, credit cards, ATM or debit cards, checks and anything else with identifying information is at all times. Take special care to protect your social security number, because if this falls into the wrong hands a lot can go wrong. Properly dispose of receipts, or better yet, if you do not need a receipt do not request one at ATMs or gas stations. Do not tell people your PIN, pass codes or passwords to any of your accounts.

Mind Your Digital Presence

Take precautions online to protect your information. Use different and unique passwords for all of your accounts, and try to use passwords that are hard for others to guess. Only shop at secure websites that start with ‘https.’ Even if you are on a secure site, avoid online shopping on public or work computers. When using your own laptop or smartphone, avoid making online purchases or paying bills when you are on public wi-fi.

Be Careful About Giving Information Away

Some would-be criminals will go to great lengths to obtain your information. They may go through garbage to retrieve credit card offers you received in the mail or pose as employees of financial institutions and offer to sign people up for accounts either in person or over the phone. It is best to shred credit card and other offers you receive in the mail to prevent thieves from opening accounts in your name. When you encounter solicitors, be sure to ask questions. It is best to just walk away if you have a bad feeling about it.

Be Aware

On average, victims of identity theft lose a combined amount of  $1,343. This includes the amount stolen, plus any overdraft fees and other expenses tied to the theft. The best thing you can do to minimize the damage caused by identity theft is be aware of your finances. Noticing suspicious activity means you already have a problem, but the sooner you identify you have a problem, the sooner you can take action to fix it.

Be Vigilant

Monitor statements and accounts to look for unusual activity. Withdrawals from your accounts that you did not make, charges for items you did not purchase, and even medical statements for care you did not receive are all indications of identity fraud. Keep an eye on your digital accounts, too. Indicators of potential problems include receiving an email indicating you recently changed a password to one of your accounts when you did not do so, or if are unable to log in to an account.

Check Your Credit Report

Make it a habit to regularly check your credit report. A credit report is a rundown of your credit history. This report contains a running list of every bank account, credit card and loan opened in your name. A credit report also indicates if you typically pay your bills on time, or if you are late.

Reviewing all of this information, from monthly and quarterly statements to an annual credit report can alert you to possible identity theft. The sooner you notice the problem the better, because you can stop things before they get worse. There are services that offer credit monitoring and identity theft protection, which can help guard and protect your information and immediately alert you to trouble.

Bob Johnson Insurance Can Help

We are here to help. Call us at 800-624-3339 or click here to contact us to learn more about identity theft and how identity theft insurance might be a good choice.

How to Make Earth Day Your Everyday

How to Make Earth Day Your Everyday

Earth Day may officially come around only once a year on April 22, but our world would be a better place if we all took steps to take care of the planet year round.

So, we here at Bob Johnson Insurance put together several ways to both commemorate Earth Day and to live a little greener in Knoxville, Tennessee all year long.

Earth Day Activities

Start a Recycling Drive at Your Kids’ School

Get some parents and teachers together to look at how your children’s school does or doesn’t recycle. Look for improvements and possibly ways to raise money, such as redeeming recycling credits on certain bottles or cans collected during a special drive.

Organize an Eco-Fair in Your Neighborhood

Invite local businesses and environmental organizations to educate you and your neighbors on the benefits of green living. Think businesses that install solar panels and groups that restore hiking trails. 

Plant a Tree

It’s easy to make an impact locally by planting trees, either in your own yard or by organizing a community event to beautify neglected parks or other areas of your city. Be sure to get the proper permissions or permits first, if needed.

Invite an Expert to Speak in Your Community

If you’d like to raise awareness about particular environmental issues, host a community forum and invite a local teacher, professor or simply someone who’s passionate about the environment to speak.

Arrange a Trash Pickup Event

Work with your local parks or other department to clean up a park, beach or other waterfront, school or senior center. Recruit volunteers from your work, your child’s school, your church and other community groups. 

Green Living Tips

Buy Products in Easily Recyclable Containers

Learn which types of plastics, metals and glass that recyclers most desire and do your best to buy products that come in those materials. Also look for products that use minimal packaging to begin with.

Start a Neighborhood Compost Pile

Get a group together to create a compost pile the entire neighborhood can contribute to and draw from. It’s a great way to spend some quality time with your neighbors.   

Ditch Your Car

If you can walk, bike or take public transportation to work or school, give it a try. If not, why not organize a carpool? You may just shorten your commute time by using the carpool lane.

Switch Your Light Bulbs

High-efficiency light bulbs will make a big impact in the light fixtures you use the most. Look for the Energy Star label when choosing an LED or compact fluorescent bulb.

Reduce Your Water Usage

With more states experiencing water bans, especially during the summer, it’s a good time to look at your own water usage. Shorten showers, set your washing machine to the appropriate water level and only run the dishwasher when it’s full. Also consider water-wise landscaping. 

Of course, there are plenty of other ways to celebrate Earth Day and to live green in Knoxville, Tennessee. Find the ones that are easy and meaningful for your family, and be sure to get the kids and even the community involved. Because, the more you reduce, reuse and recycle, the more you’re making the right kind of impact!

Identity Theft: What is It?

Identity Theft Series

Identity theft is a problem more than 8 million Americans face each year. If left unchecked, identity theft can be devastating, but if caught early it is possible to make a full recovery. When the proper steps are taken, it is even possible to prevent identity theft from occurring. Learn more and find out how to best protect yourself, what to do if you fall victim to identity theft and how Bob Johnson Insurance can help.

What is Identity Theft

Identity theft is when some steals identifying information about you and uses this information to access your accounts or to open new accounts in your name. This type of theft can range from accessing and stealing money from your bank accounts, to opening credit cards or taking out loans in your name. 

Valuable Information

Your name and address are some of the easiest information a thief can use to steal your identity. Other types of information identity thieves can use to commit crimes include credit card and bank account numbers, your social security number and even medical insurance account numbers.

Types of Identity Theft

The most common occurrences of identity theft involve financial fraud. A thief may use your information to access your bank accounts and steal money. Thieves may also open accounts in your name, like credit cards or take out loans. The crook will use a different address for any accounts they set up, so you will not even realize these accounts exist. After the thief has charged or withdrawn money, they simply ignore the account, and sooner or later the lender will track you down, thinking you are the one who opened the account, and demand payment.

Impact of Identity Theft

Unraveling the mess caused by identity theft can take months and possibly even years to resolve. If a thief clears out your savings, you may be unable to pay your bills, which may cause you to end up in collections. In addition, taking out lines of credit in your name and not making payments on those bills and statements can damage your credit score.

Bob Johnson Insurance Can Help

We are here to help. Call us at 800-624-3339 or click here to contact us to learn more about identity theft and how identity theft insurance might be a good choice.

How to Buy a Car for Your Grad

How to Buy a Car for Your Grad

Although most high-school graduates aren’t lucky enough to get a car for finishing school, you may be in a position to offer your child a sweet ride for getting around. However, while this can be an exciting time for him or her, it’s imperative that you search for the right vehicle for your grad. 

Today, we want to go over some of the crucial details to pay attention to when buying (or helping finance) a car for your teenager. Because he or she is still new to driving, you want to be sure that you’re making the right choice. 


You want your teenager to be safe behind the wheel, so look for cars that have high crash test ratings. These are publicly available on sites like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. You can also look up other safety features such as:

  • Airbags
  • Blind Spot Warning
  • Lane Assist
  • Car Alarms/Anti-Theft Devices

Fortunately, modern cars are only getting safer, so getting something newer for your grad can help provide both of you with peace of mind. 


As they say, it’s not the years – it’s the mileage. When picking out the right vehicle for your teenager, pay attention to the number of miles on it. Older cars can be in excellent condition if they’re lightly used, so don’t assume that newer cars are automatically better. Also, remind your teen that older cars are more cost-effective, and that they’re not paying for it. 

Cost of Ownership

While the sticker price counts for a lot, that’s only one aspect of owning a car. Consider everything that may increase the overall expenses for the vehicle. If your grad isn’t making substantial money, then getting a cheap car that requires more maintenance may cost you more in the long run. When calculating total cost of ownership, be sure to include:

  • Gas Mileage
  • Cost of Replacement Parts
  • Tire Condition

You will also want to get the vehicle inspected to discover any potential issues that may arise. Depending on where you bought the car from, there may be some nasty surprises waiting for you and your grad. Ideally, have an inspection done before you sign the paperwork to avoid any headaches. 

Don’t Forget the Insurance

You’re going to need insurance on the new (or new-to-you) vehicle. As an independent agency, we can provide you with rates for multiple companies so you can choose the one that best fits your budget and requirements. Call us at 800-624-3339 or click here to contact us. We’re glad to help.

Prepping for Spring: Your Home

Spring is almost here!  The outdoors is already calling us to come and have loads of fun.  It’s important to be ready.

We previously posted some tips about getting your vehicles ready for Spring:

Now that your vehicles are ready for the season you should turn your attention to your house. Your living spaces are primed for spring cleaning, so follow these tips and get your home looking its best so you can enjoy the better weather even more.

Clean Your Gutters

Over the fall and winter, leaves and other debris collected in your gutters, and they are ready to be emptied. If you live in an area that gets a lot of Spring showers, then it’s crucial that you keep your gutters clear so that they can work properly. Now that the sun is out, you can take care of it in a day and be ready for the next rainfall.

Change Your Filters

Chances are that you have several appliances that use filters. A range hood, a built-in water dispenser for your fridge – all of them need to be changed regularly. Don’t forget your HVAC system. Springtime should serve as a reminder to get you to inspect and replace any filters that are looking worse for wear. Having this be a seasonal thing will ensure that you don’t forget about them.

Wash the Windows

Now that the sun is coming out and the weather is nice, you will want to let in as much light as possible. If your windows are still covered in Winter gunk and dirt, now is the time to make them spotless. Just be on the lookout for birds who may not realize that there’s glass in the way.

Take Care of the Lawn

You’ve been able to use the weather as an excuse to avoid mowing and raking leaves, but now you can’t keep avoiding it. When Spring arrives, it’s time to pull the lawnmower out and start trimming your grass.

In addition to the lawn, you should be checking all of your shrubs and plants to see how they fared over the Winter months. If they need treatment or pruning, you should take care of that now so that they can bloom well in the Summer.

Check Your Home Exterior

Take a few minutes to walk around your home and check for any damage, wear or other damage.  Make a note of all items that need to be done and schedule a day that you will complete the tasks.  This will ensure your house stays in top shape.

Make Sure Your Homeowner’s Insurance is Adequate.

Keeping your property in pristine condition is the whole point of Spring cleaning, but you still want to keep them insured adequately just in case.  If you did your annual insurance review back in January, you already know for sure that your home is covered.  If not, contact Bob Johnson Insurance (865-922-3111 or 800-624-3339)to schedule your insurance review.  Our agents can help you understand your options and make sure that you have the coverage you need and want.