It could be said that 2016 and 2017 have been the years of data breaches, as both years have been record-breaking in the amount of consumer data that has been leaked to cybercriminals. In fact, it is easy to become numb to the headlines, as every couple months, yet another big company seems to fall prey to data theft. Just as recently as September, Equifax announced a data breach that exposed 143 million Social Security numbers, as well as names, addresses, and credit card numbers in some cases. Continue reading to find out what you need to know about data breaches and how they affect you and your business.
Clearing up your name and credit report after your information has been compromised can take a long time, depending on the type of information data thieves have about you and the ways they use it. Identity thieves make money off your information in one of two ways. The first is by using your credit card and Social Security numbers to make purchases and open new accounts in your name. The second is by selling your private information repeatedly on the dark web to other criminals that will take advantage of your information for their own benefit.
Identity theft insurance can help you pay for legal expenses and other costs while defending your case after a data breach. In fact, we offer identity theft insurance here at Ellis Insurance that helps pay for a wide range of costs, including your time off work, travel expenses, legal fees, and more. We can help you find a stand-alone insurance policy or add identity theft protection to your renter’s, homeowner’s, or condo insurance.
In addition to purchasing identity theft insurance, we also recommend adopting certain loss prevention habits to minimize damage if you are ever affected by a data breach. You can start by enrolling in a credit monitoring service, which may be available from a wide range of sources. For example, some credit card companies offer it free of charge, and victims of certain data breaches, such as the Equifax breach, can get a year of free monitoring until January 31, 2018. Credit monitoring can alert you to fraudulent activity so that you can dispute it right away.
Next, make a habit of reading every line of your credit card statement before paying your bill each month. If you find suspicious charges, report it to the credit card issuer right away so that you can close the credit card and get a new one with a different account number.
Finally, file your taxes right away each season once your important documents are made available. This can prevent would-be thieves from stealing away your tax return using your Social Security number.
Protect Your Business
The steps to protecting a business against data breach are more complicated than with individuals. If your company stores sensitive customer information, such as credit cards or Social Security numbers, you could be liable for damages if that information is compromised. Also, you may face high costs for removing viruses from your computers, hiring legal assistance, notifying victims, and interrupting the course of business while you repair your infrastructure.
Here at Ellis Insurance, we help point business owners in the right direction when it comes to cybercrime protection. We can help you shop around, walk you through the application process, and answer any questions you may have about your coverage.
Be aware that commercial insurance providers often require certain loss prevention protocols before issuing coverage. Expect to present underwriters with a contingency plan should a data breach ever occur, as well as a plan for preventing losses from occurring. This may include submitting your business to routine audits, staff training, software updates, and more.
For more information about how you can protect your business and your personal identity, contact our office today. We look forward to serving you soon.