If someone asked, chances are you could name at least one high-profile data breach that happened in 2017 – maybe more. Companies like Verizon, Equifax, and Edmodo were just a few businesses targeted by hackers, compromising the private information of millions of people. Chances are you were affected by at least one data breach this year, and 2018 is likely to keep the course. The question is, what are you doing now to protect yourself and your business against cyber-crime in the New Year? At Skeele Insurance Agency, we have a few tips lined up to help you minimize your losses if you are the next target.
When your private information is lifted from corporate databases, it can be sold on the dark web to criminals who want to use it for their benefit. You could wake up to find thousands of dollars charged to your credit card or worse, new accounts or loans on your credit report. The damage can last for many years and can take tremendous resources to fight against – especially if highly sensitive information like your Social Security number has been stolen.
Protecting yourself requires vigilance and initiative. We recommend the following steps:
- Purchase Identity Theft Insurance
Identity theft insurance is available from your independent agent at one of our many Upstate New York locations. This type of coverage is designed to cover the cost of restoring your credit and defending your name after identity theft. Though it does not cover the actual liabilities created in your name, it can reimburse you for lost wages, travel expenses, and legal expenses required for the restitution of your accounts. If you do not have identity theft insurance, we can help you find a stand-alone policy or add the coverage to your renters, condo-owners, or homeowners insurance.
- Enroll in Credit Monitoring
Credit monitoring services notify you of changes to your credit report when they happen. These services scan for new accounts, major changes in balances, and other information, such as hard inquiries, new addresses, and new jobs. The alerts can help you detect fraud faster, allowing you to ‘freeze’ your credit and better prevent additional accounts from being opened in your name.
- Check Your Statements
Whether you receive digital or paper bank and credit statements, be sure to review the activity in them each month before paying them and filing them away. Notify your financial institution of fraudulent charges, as you may not be liable for paying them in some cases so long as you report them as quickly as possible. If you normally throw your statements away, take time to shred them instead to prevent criminals from obtaining your credit card number and other information.
Protect Your Business
Many businesses have a big gap in their insurance coverage and do not realize it. That is because cyber-crime is on the rise and may not have been as serious of a threat a few years ago as it is today. With so many data breaches affecting major corporations, it makes sense that smaller Upstate New York companies could be a target, as well.
If your business stores sensitive customer information in software databases, you probably need cyber-crime insurance. Without it, your business could face a tremendous financial challenge due to liability, business interruption, and the cost of removing the virus that caused the breach. A commercial cyber-crime insurance policy can help cover these costs, as well as legal expenses, fines, and the cost of credit monitoring for victims.
Of course, the risk of a data breach is high, and the costs could be significant. That is why insurance underwriters typically require businesses to meet certain loss prevention standards before issuing coverage. Depending on your industry, this could include a requirement that your business undergoes audits, third-party testing, software updates, cyber-security education, and more. You may also need to create a contingency plan to follow in the event of a data breach.
To find out more about what a data breach could mean for you and how you can protect yourself or your business against cyber-crime, contact our office today.