It is unimaginable to think of the sheer cost of identity theft – approximately $16 billion each year. Millions of Americans are subjected to the effects of cyber-crime ever year, and you could be one of them. Even if you go to great lengths to protect your information, you could still fall victim to the next big corporate data breach like the ones that have already been making headlines all year. The question is not if your information has been compromised, but when. While you may not be able to stop data theft from occurring, you can make it more difficult for identity thieves to succeed in opening unauthorized accounts, running up credit card charges, or even stealing your tax return.
The quickest ways to protect yourself against identity theft is recognizing what thieves are after and how they intend to get it. You should also be aware of the types of information that may have already been exposed and circulated on the dark web.
For example, if you were notified that one of your credit card numbers might have been exposed after shopping at a particular business, you may want to keep a closer eye on that account and notify the issuer of any unauthorized charges. On the other hand, if you find out that your Social Security number was exposed after a criminal hacked into your insurance company’s databases, you may need to be more vigilant in protecting yourself against a loss. We recommend:
Enrolling in Credit Monitoring
Credit monitoring does not provide direct protection against identity theft, but it can notify you quickly of any suspicious activity happening on your credit report. For example, you may find out right away if someone is attempting to apply for a credit card or take out a loan in your name. This facilitates a more rapid response, which could potentially reduce your liabilities and losses.
Freezing Your Credit
A credit freeze is an affordable and easy way to put a halt to new credit activity in your name. When you place a freeze on your credit, you typically have to directly approve all new inquiries and accounts before a lender can issue credit.
Purchasing Identity Theft Insurance
The demand for identity theft insurance is on the rise, and it’s easy to see why. If a criminal inflicts significant damage on your credit report, it can cost a lot of money to hire legal help and take time off work to dispute the fraudulent charges and restore your credit. Identity theft insurance helps pay for those secondary costs so that you can minimize your out-of-pocket expenses.
You can purchase identity theft insurance as a stand-alone policy, but it is often more affordable and easier to simply add the coverage to your existing homeowners or renters insurance policy instead. Contact an independent agent here at Reis Insurance for more information or to request a quote.
Protect Your Business
Businesses succumb to data breaches all the time. If you own your own business, you can only hope your company is not the next target. When corporate databases are hacked, and private customer information is stolen, it can wreak financial havoc on the business with increased liability and an interruption to business cash flow. Fortunately, commercial cyber-crime insurance can help cover the damages and protect your company against a major financial liability.
Cyber-crime insurance typically pays for things like:
- Fines and penalties
- Legal fees
- Victim notification of the data breach
- Credit monitoring for victims
- Virus removal and website reconstruction
- Business interruption
- And more
Of course, insurance companies recognize the tremendous threat a data breach can pose – especially with cyber theft on the rise. That is why underwriters tend to impose certain requirements before issuing new coverage. Depending on the size of your business, the insurer, and your industry, this could include:
- Educating and training your staff on the importance of cyber-security
- Updating your software and firewalls
- Creating a contingency plan
- Undergoing audits and third-party testing
To find out more about commercial cyber-crime insurance or to request a quote for your business, contact our office today.