It seems to happen more and more: You turn on the news to see the latest breaking story about a major data breach that exposed the private information of millions of people. There were multiple high-profile data breaches in 2017 alone, and you can only hope you weren’t exposed in one of them. When identity thieves get access to your credit card numbers, social security number, and other personal information, it’s more than just fraudulent charges you have to worry about. If a thief sells your information on the dark web, multiple cybercriminals could attempt to take out loans, open credit cards, or make purchases in your name.
The first step in protecting yourself against these types of data breaches is purchasing identity theft insurance. You may already have this coverage in the form of an endorsement on your homeowners, renters, or condo insurance. If not, an independent agent here at Andreotti Agency Insurance can help you find a stand-alone policy or add identity theft protection to your existing coverage.
It is important to note that identity theft insurance does not reimburse you for the money stolen from you or pay for the balances on loans created in your name. Instead, it is designed to compensate you for the costs associated with restoring your credit and proving you did not borrow the money or open the accounts the criminals opened using your private information.
Imagine, for example, a customer whose social security number was stolen from a major credit bureau. The number is sold on the dark web, where three different criminals begin opening accounts. The victim discovers the fraudulent activity months later when collection calls begin coming in. Identity theft insurance can help pay for the phone calls, legal expenses, loan fees, time off of work, and even travel costs associated with clearing up her accounts.
Preventing Identity Theft-Related Losses
You may not be able to stop identity theft from happening, but there are steps you can take to become more vigilant in the fight against these types of losses. To start, consider signing up for a credit monitoring service. Some credit card companies offer this service for free. There are also some free and paid credit monitoring services that will alert you when a new account has been opened in your name.
Next, check your credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus from time to time. You are entitled to a free copy of each credit report once every 12 months. If you find information you believe to be fraudulent, report it right away. We also recommend scanning your credit card and bank statements each month for signs of suspicious activity.
Finally, note that you can freeze access to your credit score if you feel your private information has been compromised. Doing this prevents anyone from being able to find out your credit score from the three national credit bureaus, which also prevents most attempts at opening an account using your Social Security number.
Protecting your Business
If you own a business, it is also at risk of cybercrime and data breaches. This is especially true of businesses that store identifying information about customers or patients. Here at Andreotti Insurance Agency, we can offer policies that cover a wide range of costs associated with data breaches. Examples include:
- 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
Because identity theft is becoming increasingly prevalent, insurers want to see that your business has implemented certain loss prevention and security protocols before issuing a policy. The underwriting process may require that you undergo routine audits and third-party cybersecurity testing, as well as keep your software up-to-date. You may also be required to create a rapid response plan and train your employees on cybercrime prevention.
For more information about personal and commercial protection against identity theft and data breaches, contact our office today.