Not sure if you’ve heard or not, but there are allegations that Russia hacked the last Presidential election. Recently, a friend of mine had her identity hacked—or as more commonly stated: stolen. The thief filed her taxes and applied for a home mortgage and credit cards. This was a scary, unsettling and cumbersome problem to fix.
In 2016, identity theft and fraud cost Americans more than $16 billion, according to CNBC. That’s a 16% increase from 2015 and a problem that affected more than 15.4 million people.
Cybercrime is probably not news to you. It’s important to recognize the potential impact on you and your family. I encourage everyone to evaluate the available protections, including purchasing cyber “insurance” services to cover the risk. Comprehensive coverage for a family will cost between $20 and $30 per month. These insurance services focus on five primary areas:
- Daily 3-Bureau Credit Reports
- Credit-Monitoring Tools and Services
- Customer Alerts
- Recovery Assistance
- Customer Service
Remember, just as health insurance does not prevent you from becoming sick or life insurance does not prevent you from death, cyber insurance does not prevent your identity from being stolen. What it will do is monitor your credit profile and help minimize damage when a breach occurs by quickly notifying you and providing resources for reversing any damage. Most options provide up to $1 million coverage for financial liabilities including:
- Lawyers and experts needed to help resolve identify theft cases
- Reimbursement of money stolen due to ID theft
- Reimbursement of costs for documents, travel, and lost wages
To be proactive in preventing ID theft from happening, follow these steps:
- Access financial information only on a private Internet connection and never with a mobile device
- Don’t email private information like birth dates, Social Security numbers or credit card information
- Avoid social media posts with personal information that could take a hacker inside a family’s home or divulge whereabouts on vacation
- Establish passwords (the most common security breach) no one can guess or decode by creating a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols
When it comes to protecting yourself and your family from cyber threats, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Just ask my friend.
Here’s a great additional resource to check out!