No one knows when the next massive data breach will occur, but if 2016 and 2017 are any indication, it could happen very soon. It seems like headlines are covering major corporate data breaches more and more, almost to the point that we have become numb to the news. The truth is each hack exposes the private information of millions of people, and you could be one of them. Continue reading to learn how you can defend yourself against fraud if cybercriminals gain access to your credit card numbers, Social Security number, or other identifying information.
When it comes to your financial identity, you are who your credit report says you are. When your private information is stolen, criminals can use it to make purchases, take out new loans, or even get a job pretending to be you. Since you cannot get a new Social Security number once it has been compromised, and it’s impossible to prevent a data breach from exposing your credit card numbers, it is important to focus on what you can control – minimizing your losses if you are victimized.
That generally means keeping a close eye on your financial statements each month and notifying credit card companies if you notice any fraudulent activity. You can also place a ‘freeze’ on your credit to help prevent new accounts from being opened in your name if your Social Security number is exposed.
Of course, the sooner you can catch identity theft, the better. That is why we recommend enrolling in a third-party credit monitoring service that provides automatic alerts when someone is using your private information to apply for new credit. It can also inform you of other major changes on your credit report, such as a drastic increase in your account balances or a newly reported address or job. The sooner you have this information, the faster you can begin working to prevent further damage.
Identity Theft Insurance
If you do not already have identity theft insurance, there is no better time than now to get coverage. Identity theft insurance does not pay for the fraudulent liabilities created in your name, but it can give you the financial resources you need to restore your credit and clean up your accounts if you are victimized. This could include the necessary cost of making phone calls, traveling, taking time off work, and hiring legal assistance. Talk to an agent here at Wolfgram Insurance about how you can purchase a stand-alone identity theft insurance policy or add this important coverage directly to your homeowners, renters, or condo insurance.
Protect Your Business
Business owners are on high alert with all the recent high-profile data breaches, and with good reason. Businesses are at increased risk of becoming liable for cyber-crimes that compromise the sensitive information of its customers. If your business databases are infected with a virus or hackers successfully break into your accounts, you could incur costs for:
- Notifying customers of the breach
- Paying for credit monitoring for those customers
- Legal fees if you are sued
- Punitive damages and fines
- Business interruption
- Virus removal
- And more
In the same way you protect your company with other types of insurance, it is important to purchase commercial coverage for cyber-crime and data breaches, as well. Insurance underwriters typically require businesses to comply with standard requirements, such as third-party auditing and employee security training to better prevent losses. These preventative measures combined with a contingency plan and a strong commercial insurance policy can help reduce your company’s risk exposure and minimize financial damage if hackers compromise your business.
For more information about identity theft insurance or cyber-crime insurance, contact our office today.