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In the 2006 movie, “Firewall,” action hero Harrison Ford took on a slightly more sedate role as a white collar guy battling crooks who have swiped his identity to break into the bank where he works and steal millions.
In the real world, thieves do not have to go to that extreme to cause a major disruption in your life and hurt your business’s financial future. The often, frantic information age calls for extra diligence to protect our assets and reputation.
Luckily, there are easy steps you can take and insurance solutions available to help keep the saboteurs at bay.
So what constitutes Identity Theft? The most common form, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), is credit card theft, followed by phone, utility, bank and employment fraud. Electronic Fund Transfer related ID theft was the most frequent type of bank fraud in 2005.
Not an “ageist” crime, every age group is susceptible. The FTC reports that of the more than 300,000 complaints they received from 2003 through 2005, the bulk were from consumers in the 30-49 year-old range. Those in their early 20’s were also greatly targeted.
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes today, with the dubious distinction of being the top consumer complaint five years running with the FTC. According to a study conducted by Gartner Inc., in the 12 months ending August 2006, 15 million people were victimized - an increase of more than 50% since 2003.
What’s the overall cost of identity theft? One study estimates that ID theft cost U.S. businesses and consumers more than $56 million in 2005 alone. However, since business owners have greater access to lots of credit lines and financial transactions, they are particularly toothsome targets. Small businesses need to be especially diligent, since many are busy trying to keep their livelihood afloat, and so may not take the time to adequately guard their information. “Mom and Pop” shops could also find it harder to recover than larger companies, because they have more at stake.
So if you aren’t a movie star hero, how can you protect your personal and business interests? These tips can help.
Should you become the victim of identity theft, close the accounts you believe were tampered with, immediately file a report with the local police, and file a complaint with the FTC. Also, notify customers or business associates whose information or records may have been breached.
Carriers such as The Hartford offer Identity Theft Coverage for small business owners and their full-time employees. The Hartford’s coverage is included as part of Spectrum®, its top-quality small business insurance policy, and combines identity theft insurance with services that help a business owner and full-time employees restore his or her individual credit history and identity records if ever necessary.
Thanks to the magic of Hollywood, Harrison Ford’s character worked out a solution to his dilemma in the span of a few frenetic hours. However, the reality is you could spend many months trying to untangle a case of identity theft. Taking steps now means you can come out a hero in your own right!
This document references in general terms the coverages that may be afforded under a Hartford policy. All policies must be examined carefully to determine suitability for your needs and to identify any exclusions, limitations or any other terms and conditions that may specifically affect coverage. In the event of a conflict, the terms and conditions of the policy prevail. All Hartford coverages described in this document may be offered by one or more of the property and casualty insurance company subsidiaries of The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.
The information set forth in this document is of a general nature and provided for informational purposes only. The content of this document may omit certain details and cannot be regarded as advice that would be applicable to all conditions, situations or businesses. In addition, the information presented is not a substitute for a thorough loss control survey of your business operations. Readers seeking resolution of specific safety issues or business concerns regarding this topic should consult their professional safety consultant. The Hartford does not warrant that the implementation of any view or recommendation contained herein will result in the elimination of any unsafe conditions at your business locations or with respect to your business operations. Further, The Hartford does not warrant that the implementation of any such view or recommendation will result in compliance with any local, state or federal ordinance, regulation, statute or law.