Identity theft and the importance of cyber insurance
December 30, 2019. A familiar headline or nightly news item involves someone whose identity has been stolen from their electronic device, and massive charges have been run up on credit cards or bank accounts were emptied.
Most of these kinds of identity thefts are by people who have ways of trying to scam many people at the same time, or crimes of opportunity. Often, if access to your information is not easy or forthcoming, the scammer will just go on to someone else. It is like thieves walking down a street at night trying the door handle of each car they pass. When they pull on one that opens the door, they rob that vehicle.
There are some basic strategies one can apply that will gain a person a low level of security, and there are companies available to help set up a secure device or insure the person against loss and liability.
Strategy One: Awareness
- Be aware!
- Know that there is always the possibility of an attack on your identity and personal information.
- Make a conscious effort to be secure. You may never know when even the most basic precautions deterred some scammer from going
Strategy Two: Update your devices
- Stay current with operating system updates. They often contain system security updates.
- Don’t put off doing the updates. Some operating systems have an Automatic Update setting, which allows the device to stay current by updating at night.
Strategy Three: Use secure passwords
- 123456 and password are two of the weakest and most common passwords.
- Don't take shortcuts. Learn how to create strong passwords.
- Look for “Two-step Verification” in Settings on your device, which will help you with strong password security.
- If you are insecure about trying to create your own passwords, go to an App Store and search for password manager. Some managers are free, but many of the good ones will cost you a small monthly fee. With a payment or not, you will get some peace of mind knowing you've have help creating and organizing your strong passwords.
Strategy Four: Be aware of “phishing”
- Phishing is when a scammer pretends to be connected to someone you know, or to a business or agency with which you are familiar: a government agency, a credit card, connected to a relative of yours.
- Through this connection the scammer will try to get information from you that will be used to further control your online identity: a bank account number, your social security number, a credit card number.
- If you are at all unsure of the request, make a call yourself to the bank, or government agency, etc, and find out for yourself if there is an issue.
Strategy Five: Suspicious Emails
- Don’t open emails from whose information is unfamiliar, or if it is an offer that looks too good to be true. Often just opening the email is enough to infect your device with a small program that will give the scammer access to your personal information.
Strategy Six: Public Wi-fi
Public wi-fi is what it says, PUBLIC, and is not private or secure. It is possible for scammers to get access to your device through public wi-fi use.
- Do not use public wi-fi for any important personal task like shopping or banking.
Identity theft protection and insurance
- Security programs and services are available for a monthly fee that scan your devices and report any problem or threat to your data.
- Premium services and cyber insurance policies are available, but will cost more because they do more. As well as scanning and alerting, they will help fix problems arising from identity theft, and some will reimburse you for losses up to the amount of your deductible.
Personal identity security can be fairly straightforward. Securing business data is more complex of an issue, but there are services and insurance companies available to help with business computer and identity security.