The Internet has broadened the scope and reach of nearly everyone on the planet, but it has also opened the door to new types of criminal activity and made it easier for thieves to steal private identifying information. This year has set new records in cyber-crime, with multiple data breaches exposing the sensitive information of millions of consumers. The Equifax data breach announced in September, for example, affected nearly half of all Americans, putting approximately 143 million people at increased risk of identity theft.
What would you do if your information were stolen and sold on the dark web? What if your business databases were hacked, and you became liable for the damages? Continue reading to find out how you can protect yourself and your business against the next big data breach.
Preventing and Combating Identity Theft
It may have been impossible for you to prevent Yahoo from being hacked in 2016 or Target in 2013, but it would not have been impossible to reduce your risk of being affected by those data breaches. Even after thieves have their hands on your Social Security number, credit card numbers, and other information, there are still steps you can take to prevent loss.
We recommend starting with identity theft insurance, which helps ensure you have the financial resources to fight fraudulent activity in your name. Because this process can require legal steps, extensive time off work, and even travel, you may need identity theft insurance to help you pay for these expenses. Fortunately, you can purchase identity theft insurance through an independent agent right here at Frydach Insurance. We offer stand-alone policies, as well as add-on identity theft coverage for homeowners, renters, and condo insurance policies.
Next, consider enrolling in a credit monitoring program that will immediately notify you of new inquiries or negative factors in your credit report. When you are notified of new accounts formed in your name, you can quickly work to close them, minimize the financial liability, and even put a freeze on your credit reports to prevent future accounts from being opened.
Finally, be sure to review every transaction on your bank statements and credit card statements each month. If you find unauthorized charges, report them right away to potentially avoid any financial liability.
Protect Your Business
Businesses have even more complex data breach risks. If you own one, your company could be at risk – especially if cybercriminals ever target it. Businesses that store private or sensitive consumer information, such as patient records, credit card numbers, and Social Security numbers can incur tremendous costs for fines, legal fees, virus removal, and victim losses after a data breach.
Commercial insurance policies are available to help minimize the costs of a data breach, even covering the cost of victim credit monitoring when necessary. It can also help pay to rebuild the company website after it has been compromised, as well as pay for legal expenses involved with defending your case.
Keep in mind that commercial data breach insurance tends to come with strict underwriting requirements. If you do not have a loss prevention protocol and contingency plan in place, the insurer may require that you submit to:
- Specialized cybersecurity training
- Routine testing
- Software updates
- And more
To find out more about how you can protect yourself and your business against identity theft and data breaches, contact our office today.