MARCH 30TH, 2016 – As your trusted risk adviser and insurance resource, we want to make sure you are aware of a large data breach that has the potential to cause you harm. We strongly believe that Identity Theft is not an “if” it’s a “when” because data breaches like this happen all the time.
Recently Verizon Enterprises suffered a data breach in which contact information of 1.5 million Verizon customers was stolen. Ironically, “Verizon’s division that helps Fortune 500 companies respond to data breaches, has suffered a data breach of its own.” – Fortune.com
Now what does this mean for you?
If you don’t already have Identity Theft Protection, let’s start there. Depending on the policy, Identity Theft Protection costs somewhere between $9-$30 per month. While tips and tricks to protect your identity are great, we obviously can’t control who gets our info when a company like Verizon did everything they could to protect our information and still got hacked. ID Theft Protection is more about helping restore your identity. (Check out the article from Kroll about ID Theft: Myth vs Reality)
Did you know:
- $4,930 = the average financial loss per identity theft incident – U.S. Department of Justice and the Javelin Strategy & Research
- 200 Hours and/or 6 months = average time it takes recover from Identity Theft – making phone calls, writing letters, contacting Credit Bureaus, working with Law Enforcement, dealing with creditors – Federal Trade Commission
Having ID Theft Protection insures that someone will be doing all of this on your behalf when the time comes, God forbid that it will. I certainly would pay $100 to save myself hours and thousands…
Be Aware of the Possibility of Phishing Attacks
The primary threat of a breach of this type is being “phished” by a scammer. If they have your phone number and/or email address, then a scammer can call, text or email and pose as a Verizon representative.
A thief could formulate a story that explains the need for whatever it is that they are trying to obtain from you such as money, financial information, access to accounts or personal identification data. Then, they could take that information and do something else with it, which could include identity theft.
Quick Tips to Avoid Trouble
- Understand that legitimate businesses do not send email or text messages asking for your sensitive personal information. Delete these without responding.
- Legitimate businesses do not call to ask for personal information “out of the blue.” Don’t respond unless you are sure the call is in response to a request from you.
- Often automated or “robo” calls are a scammer’s attempt to reach you. Hang up without responding or pushing any buttons on your phone.
- Don’t trust Caller ID. Scammers can mask their number.
- Be wary of email even if it looks legitimate. Scammers can copy logos and mask the sender’s address to appear to be from a trusted business.
- Think about what you are asked for before providing your sensitive personal information whether by phone, clicking on a link in an email, or responding to a text message. Be stingy with your personal data.
– Kroll’s Fraud Specialists and Licensed Investigators
Here’s a Phishing Scam example that is effecting individuals on the Western Slope. Did you get that text from Bank of Colorado?
Identity Theft is a real threat to every single person, even children! If you would like more scary statistics, every 2 seconds someone has their identity stolen. This isn’t something you can avoid and just stick your head in the ground and be fine.
Here’s just a few more tips
- Read your credit reports! Stagger your credit report requests to the three credit reporting companies so that you can get a report every 4 months.
- Read you bank, credit and account statements often, as in daily. You should also be watching your Explanation of Medical Benefits statements.
- Look for charges you didn’t make.
- Be alert for bills that don’t arrive when you expect them.
- Follow up if you get account statements you don’t expect.
- Secure your Social Security Number as much as possible. If someone asks for it, ask why they need it, how it will be used and how they plan to protect it.
- Protect your personal information
- Keep your important papers secure.
- Be careful with your mail.
- Tip: Do NOT raise the Red Flag on a mailbox
- Shred sensitive documents.
- Don’t overshare on social networking sites.
- Create strong passwords.
- Tip: Use the first letter of every word in a favorite phrase.
- Be wise about Wi-Fi: Make sure a secure wireless network is used in public places ie. Coffee shop, Hotels, and Libraries etc.
For more helpful information or to talk to someone about Identity Theft Protection, call (970) 254-0813 or come see us in Downtown Grand Junction at Home Loan Insurance, 205 N. 4th Street right next to the Post Office.