Identity theft is growing threat in the U.S. and around the globe. As our world becomes more digitally connected, it is becoming easier and easier for cybercriminals to steal private information directly from large corporate databases, and there is little to nothing you can do about it. Just a few months ago, Equifax announced a data breach that exposed sensitive information about 143 million individuals – many of which had their Social Security numbers stolen. If that information is sold on the dark web, it could cause extensive financial damage that takes months or even years to recover from.
Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft
It’s not possible to stop criminals from hacking the businesses and organizations that store your information, but it is possible to be proactive in protecting yourself against the financial repercussions of a data breach. Instead of letting yourself be victimized, we here at Butler Insurance want you to know how to fight back against identity theft and fraud.
Monitor Your Credit and Accounts
If you aren’t checking your bank accounts, credit card statements, and credit reports on a regular basis, you could overlook a red flag when fraudulent charges or suspicious activity appear. Keep a close eye on your accounts, and report any unusual changes. You can also access a free copy of your credit report and check it each year, but we recommend enrolling in a credit monitoring service instead. These types of services will alert you of new accounts, credit inquiries, and other unusual changes, such as a new job or change of address.
If You Discover Fraud…
If you do notice fraudulent activity, it is important to take action right away so as to prevent further losses. If you notice unauthorized charges on your credit card, you may not be liable so long as you report it in a timely way. Your credit card company is likely to launch an investigation into the charges, reverse them from your account, cancel your compromised credit card, and issue you a new one.
If you notice fraudulent accounts, loans, or other unusual activity on your credit report, the damages could be more extensive. First, you may need to place a fraud alert on your credit report to help prevent the opening of additional accounts. You may also need to hire legal assistance to help you clear your name and restore your credit. This could require time off work, travel costs, and legal expenses – all of which can add up to extensive out-of-pocket costs.
Identity Theft Insurance
You can minimize your financial losses by endorsing your renters, condo, or homeowners insurance policy with identity theft coverage – before you become a victim of fraud. This coverage does not pay for unauthorized liabilities, but it does help pay for the subsidiary cost of restoring your credit and disputing fraudulent activity. If you do not have identity theft insurance, we here at Butler Insurance would be happy to add the coverage directly to your homeowners, renters, or condo insurance policy.
Protect Your Business
On the business-side of identity theft, a single data breach can inflict crippling financial pain on a company in the form of liabilities, punitive damages, business interruption, and more. Criminals know today’s businesses harbor sensitive information about customers, from credit card numbers and addresses and even Social Security numbers. If your business is targeted, you may want a cyber-crime insurance policy to help cover the cost of recovery.
The team here at Butler Insurance can help you find a cyber liability policy that best fits your business and your budget. While policy language varies by company, most help with the cost of victim notification, credit monitoring, fines, the cost of virus removal, and more.
To find out more about identity theft insurance and commercial cyber-security insurance, or request your free quotes, contact our office today.