There are countless criminals hiding behind computers just waiting to leach your private data for malicious purposes. Identity theft is a growing problem in the U.S., and the many corporate data breaches that occurred throughout 2017 only worsened it. If your Social Security number or credit card numbers were exposed in one of these major hacks, you could be at increased risk of a loss – particularly if your information is sold to other criminals on the dark web. We here at Insurance Innovations, Inc. we want you to know exactly how a data breach can affect you and what you can do to protect yourself and your business against a loss.
First and foremost, it is important to note that identity theft is not within your control. You may be able to take precautionary measures, such as installing anti-virus software on your computer or only inputting information into secure sites, but ultimately, cyber thieves can hack into even the biggest companies, stealing your information and using it for their own benefit. In the same way you purchase insurance to protect yourself against financial losses related to house fires, health problems, and car accidents, identity theft insurance can protect you against major losses caused by a breach of your private information.
Identity theft insurance is not designed to pay off unauthorized charges or the balances of accounts fraudulently opened in your name. Instead, you purchase this important coverage to help you cover the cost of restoring your credit if you are a victim of identity theft. This might include the cost of traveling to clear your name, the fees for legal assistance, and your lost wages due to time off work. If you do not already have identity theft insurance, talk to an agent here at Insurance Innovations, Inc. about how you can purchase a stand-alone policy or add this coverage to your homeowners, renters, or condo insurance.
Other Precautionary Measures
In addition to purchasing identity theft insurance, we also recommend enrolling in a credit monitoring service. Several third-party companies offer these services, and you may even have access to it free of charge through a credit card company or due to a prior data breach for which you were a potential victim. With credit monitoring, you receive a notification of changes to your credit report, such as the opening or application of a new account or loan.
Quick alerts facilitate a faster response time, which could help you minimize the financial damage. If you notice fraudulent activity in your name, be sure to:
- Notify the financial institution right away
- Place a fraud alert or ‘freeze’ on your credit reports
- Review all your existing accounts for signs of suspicious activity
TIP: If you discover fraudulent charges on an existing account, you may not be responsible for them so long as you report them in a timely way.
Protect Your Business
Business owners have an added layer of risk when it comes to cyber-crime. For them, a data breach could incur major costs due to business interruption, software repair, and most importantly – liability. Businesses are prime targets for cyber theft, because they often house sensitive customer information. Some have phone numbers and addresses, whereas others store credit card numbers. Some may even keep records of customer or patient Social Security numbers – the pinnacle of financial security for most Americans.
If you own a business, you need cyber-crime insurance that can help cover your costs in the event of a data breach. Examples of common expenses include:
- Software cleanup and website reconstruction
- Business interruption
- Legal expenses
- Victim notification
- Credit monitoring services
- Fines and punitive damages
- And more
To qualify for this type of coverage, your business may need to meet certain underwriting standards. These can vary from insurer to insurer and depending on your industry, but they typically include the development of a contingency plan, as well as certain loss prevention measures, such as audits and employee security training.
If your business is not insured against cyber-crime, there is no better time than now to talk with an agent here at Insurance Innovations, Inc. about adding this important coverage to your company’s insurance portfolio.