What do Whole Foods, Sonic, Yahoo, and Equifax have in common? They’ve all been targets of high-profile data breaches that exposed the information of billions of consumers. Countless birthdates, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, and driver’s license numbers were exposed, leaving customers of these companies vulnerable to identity theft-related losses. In other words, if you’ve ever received a notification indicating your account or private information may have been compromised, you aren’t alone. While there may be little you can do to prevent the exposure of your data, there are steps you can take to minimize financial losses if you are victimized.
When identity thieves go after your money, they go big. They know they only have a limited amount of time before you catch on to their scheme, which is why you may notice large charges on your credit card or even a couple of loans taken out in your name. The sooner you catch on, the easier it may be to clear your name and restore your credit. You can maximize your chances of spotting identity theft by:
Enrolling in Credit Monitoring
You can keep a close eye on your credit by frequently checking your reports, as well as setting up alerts through a third-party credit monitoring service. When you enroll in credit monitoring, you are notified when unusual activity is detected. Credit monitoring is sometimes offered for free after a major data breach, such as after the Equifax hack in 2017. However, you can still enroll in a credit monitoring service even if you are not the victim of fraud or a data breach.
Keep in mind that credit monitoring will not protect you against identity theft; it will only notify you of activity that could indicate it. If you think your Social Security number has been compromised, it may be time to place a freeze on your credit to help prevent criminals from successfully accessing credit in your name.
Checking Your Statements
From credit lines and bank accounts to credit cards and more, chances are you hold several accounts at multiple financial institutions. Instead of filing away or shredding your monthly statements, take time to double-check all the charges on them instead. If you have access to online banking, we suggest checking in periodically to ensure there is no fraudulent activity between your statement dates, too.
Purchasing Identity Theft Insurance
Finally, be sure you are insured against identity theft with an insurance policy that helps cover your subsidiary costs for restoring your credit after an attack. If the damage is limited to an existing credit card account; correcting the problem could be as simple as calling your credit card company and reporting the unauthorized charges. On the other hand, new accounts, loans, and jobs under your name may be more difficult and time-consuming to correct. In these cases, identity theft insurance could help cover your time off work, legal expenses, and even your necessary travel costs.
If you think you may need coverage for identity theft, we here at G&L Insurance can help you find a stand-alone policy or add the coverage to your homeowners, renters, or condo insurance policy instead.
Protect Your Business
Your business represents your livelihood and all that you have worked hard to build and attain. You probably already have several types of insurance coverage to protect it, but if you do not have cyber-crime insurance, you could have a major gap in your coverage. That is because cybercriminals have been known to hack into businesses of all types and sizes – no company is safe. If your business stores sensitive customer information, it could be an even bigger target for a data breach.
Here at G&L Insurance, we offer commercial insurance coverage for losses caused by cyber-crime. These types of policies can compensate you for the expenses that might otherwise cause a financial burden for your business after a data breach. Examples include the cost of:
- contacting potential victims and telling them about the data breach
- providing credit monitoring for potential victims
- removing dangerous viruses from your software
- reconstructing your website, if necessary
- hiring legal assistance
- punitive damages, such as fines
- and more
To help reduce the risk of a loss, insurance companies typically require businesses to comply with certain guidelines as a stipulation of coverage. For example, many insurance underwriters want to see a written contingency plan that your business would follow in the event of a data breach. It is also not uncommon for an insurance company to require periodic audits, third-party testing, frequent software updates, cyber-security training, and more.
To find out more or request your cyber-crime insurance quote, contact our office today.