According to the Insurance Information Institute, identity theft resulted in the theft of more than $16 billion in 2016 alone, up from approximately $15 billion the year before. With identity theft on the rise, today’s consumers must be more vigilant in protecting themselves against potential losses that could otherwise impose financial repercussions for years to come. Whether or not your information is already circulating on the dark web, there are steps you can take to thwart identity theft and minimize your losses.
Identity thieves can use your private information in a number of ways. The most common is tax and employment fraud, followed by credit card fraud and other types of identity theft. In 2016, Arizona ranked number 10 in the U.S. for identity theft complaints. Here is what you can do if you are the next victim.
- Enroll in Credit Monitoring
Credit monitoring services alert you when someone – including yourself – is engaging in activity that affects your credit report. Depending on the service, you may receive text or email alerts when someone applies for a loan, opens a credit card, or even reports a new job on your credit report. The quicker you can identify credit fraud, the easier it may be to stop it.
- Purchase Identity Theft Insurance
Identity theft insurance makes it easier to fight fraud by giving you the financial resources you need to take time off work, make phone calls, hire legal assistance, and even travel to clear your name. Identity theft coverage may be able to added to your homeowners or renters insurance policy – usually at a lower cost than purchasing stand-alone identity theft insurance. Give a call for more information or to request a quote.
- Check Your Accounts Often
If you only check your bank and credit card accounts once per month when your statement arrives, it may be time to increase your supervision. We recommend logging into your online account access at least once per week to check for signs of suspicious activity. So long as you report fraudulent charges in a timely way, you might not be liable for them. This also allows the credit card issuer time to close the compromised account number and issue you a new one.
- Freeze Your Credit
If you believe your private information has been compromised, you have the right to freeze your credit to prevent attempts at opening new accounts in your name. A credit freeze requires your direct approval before new credit is issued, making it significantly more difficult for identity thieves to use your information maliciously.
Protect Your Business
If you happen to own a business, identity theft can affect your company in a much different way than it affects individuals. That is because businesses may be held liable for information stolen from company databases during a data breach. Cyber-crime insurance is designed to shield your company’s cash flow and assets against the high-cost of liability and business interruption caused by a data breach.
With cyber-crime insurance, you get coverage for:
- Victim notification expenses
- Victim credit monitoring expenses
- The cost of repairing and securing your company’s software and website
- Legal expenses and fines
- Business interruption
- And more
Insurance underwriters typically require business owners to comply with loss prevention standards to qualify for coverage. Your business may need to submit and enforce a contingency plan in the event of a data breach. It may also need to undergo regular software updates, audits, and third-party testing. To find out more or to request a quote for commercial cyber-crime coverage, contact our office today.