According to a report by Internet security firm Kaspersky Lab, in what could be one of the largest bank heists in history, more than 100 banks and ATMs have been rigged so that thieves could steal up to $1 billion in cash.
Hackers from Russia, Ukraine, China, and Europe were involved in the organized crime ring that was just recently exposed. The hackers installed spying software on bank computers, studied bank employee workflows so they could learn how to mimic their actions, and used their knowledge to transfer money into bank accounts set up in other countries.
While the report did not name specific bank institutions, it stated that financial institutions in at least 30 countries were affected, including the United States.
We all know that identity theft takes someone’s personal information and uses it to impersonate a victim, steal from bank accounts, establish phony insurance policies, open unauthorized credit cards, or obtain unauthorized bank loans.
What many people don’t realize, though, is that 7% of all U.S. citizens will be victims of identity theft over the next 12 months resulting in over $50 billion in costs. Identity theft is also a long, arduous process for victims as they try to repair their credit, erase erroneous collection accounts, and restore their lives.
Did you know that many homeowners insurance policies offer some form of identity theft as part of the policy? You can find out more about this coverage, its cost, and its provisions within the rest of the article below.
If you would like to see if your policy includes identity theft coverage or would like to receive quotes on this coverage, please feel free to give our office a call.
Identity Theft Insurance
What is it?
Some insurance companies now include coverage for identity theft as part of their homeowner’s insurance policy. Others sell it as either a stand-alone policy or an endorsement to a homeowners or renters insurance policy.
What does it cover?
Identity theft insurance provides reimbursement to crime victims for the cost of restoring their identity and repairing credit reports. It generally covers expenses such as phone bills, lost wages, notary and certified mailing costs, and sometimes attorney fees (with the insurer’s prior consent). Some companies also offer restoration or resolution services that will guide you through the process of recovering your identity.
What does it cost?
Some insurance companies will include identity theft coverage for no additional cost. However, most will charge anywhere from $25 to $100 annually for the additional insurance coverage.
Tips for Avoid Identity Theft
- Keep the amount of personal information in your purse or wallet to the bare minimum. Unless necessary, avoid carrying additional credit cards, your social security card, or your passport.
- Always take credit card or ATM receipts. Don’t throw them into public trash containers; leave them on the counter or put them in your shopping bag where they can easily fall out or get stolen.
- Do not give out personal information. Whether on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet, don’t give out any personal information unless you have initiated the contact or are sure you know who you are dealing with and that they have a secure line.
- Proceed with caution when shopping online. Use only authenticated websites to conduct business online. Before submitting personal or financial information through a website, confirm the site is secure.
- Make sure you have a firewall, anti-spyware and anti-virus programs installed on your computer. These programs should always be up to date.
- Monitor your accounts. Don’t rely on your credit card company or bank to alert you of suspicious activity.
- Order a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus. Make sure it’s accurate and includes only those activities you’ve authorized.
- Shred any documents containing personal information such as credit card numbers, bank statements, charge receipts, or credit card applications before disposing of them.