October’s Equifax cyber-security breach was one of the biggest identity theft attacks in history. Millions of people were affected, putting their personal information at risk of exposure. Of course, that is just one of the many data hacks that have occurred this year. Chances are you have been affected by one or more commercial data breaches. Would you be prepared if a thief used your personal information to open credit accounts and borrow money in your name? What if a cyber thief sells your private information to other people on the dark web, exposing your Social Security number, credit card numbers, and more to multiple criminals waiting to take advantage of your good name?
Major commercial data breaches may be out of your hands, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself against cybercrime and its financial consequences. These include:
1. Monitoring Your Credit and Financial Statements
If a criminal has opened a credit card or takes out a loan using your private information, the sooner you know about it, the better. Always look at your financial statements before paying your bill. You should also keep a close eye on your credit report and score, as these typically reflect the financial activity taking place in your name. You can either pay for credit monitoring that notifies you if someone is attempting to use your credit, or you can take advantage of free credit monitoring from your credit card issuer if available. You are also legally entitled to one free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once per year.
2. Purchasing Identity Theft Insurance
Identity theft insurance can save you thousands of dollars in the fight against a major identity breach. Although it does not pay for any liabilities unlawfully created in your name, it can help cover the cost of restoring your good name. Identity theft coverage typically pays for things like travel costs, legal fees, time off of work, phone calls, loan fees, and more.
You can purchase identity theft protection as stand-alone coverage on its own policy, or you can add the coverage to your existing homeowners, condo, or renters insurance in the form of an endorsement. Contact an independent agent here at Noah Insurance for more information or to request your free quote.
3. Reporting Suspicious Activity
If you discover suspicious activity on your credit report, contact the bureau right away to report it. You can also place a freeze on your credit score that prevents would-be thieves from successfully applying for credit in your name. If you find fraudulent charges on your credit card, you may not be liable if you report them in a timely manner. However, the card company will likely issue you another card with a different account number to prevent future charges on the compromised account.
Protecting your Business
Businesses face unique cybersecurity risks, as they are often the target of criminals. If you own a business, you not only need to protect your company against data breaches, but you need to protect your clients and customers, too. This includes implementing certain loss prevention techniques, such as:
- Regularly updating your software systems
- Undergoing routine audits and testing
- Training your employees in cybercrime prevention
- Creating a contingency plan
If you implement these techniques, you are more likely to meet the standards of insurance underwriters if you decide to purchase cyber crime insurance. Here at Noah Insurance, we help business owners like you find policies that will help cover the cost of:
- Victim notification expenses
- Credit monitoring costs for victims
- Legal defense costs
- Fines and penalties
- Business interruption
- Computer virus removal
- The cost of restoring your website after an attack
- And more
For more information about insurance that protects individuals and businesses against data breaches and cybercrime, contact our office today. We look forward to serving you soon.