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Posts Tagged ‘identity theft’

I wish to remind all consumers that developing a plan to effectively manage the risks of a stolen identity is a critical part of any personal risk management program. Where to start? First, a few words of caution on where not to start. Beware of the large number of organizations offering to sell “identify theft protection services” to individual consumers. (more…)

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PrivateRiskAdvisor
Perhaps it is the result of growing up in a household that regarded “Murphy’s Law” as gospel —- but I am almost manic in expecting (and preparing for) the unexpected.  While the “unexpected” does not occur to any of us with great frequency, when “it” does I am rarely caught off guard, or without a plan on how to address it (whatever it may be).  This “be prepared for the sky to fall” tendency has earned me many nicknames, none of which are ever intended as a compliment.  According to the online test “Are You a Worry Wart”, my score, while not off the charts, does suggest I am naturally inclined to help others at least consider preparing for the wide range of risks that those who are not “worry warts” are neither concenred about nor often even aware of.   You want me worried. You NEED me worried.

So my latest worry – for you, and all who you know – is what can happen to all of the data on your smartphone should your phone ever become stolen or misplaced.  Why this issue?  Because I not only recently lost my iPhone, but much worse, I had no plans in place to protect the data that was on it from mis-use.  I make this admission with great shame, and can assure all my friends and family are having great fun at my expense. While this blunder has cost me several nights sleep, I have learned from my mistake, and you can too.  Of course, you can also just resolve to never lose your smartphone (or have it stolen).  That did not occur to me….  

Although I did not know WHAT steps to take to secure the large amount of personal data on my phone (it had NO client info!!), I did know WHO to turn to for expert guidance.   I met Ondrej Krehel of Identity Theft 911 awhile ago through an introduction arranged by Chubb.  Krehel and his colleagues provide highly customized identity protection and data risk management solutions for a wide range of business and organizations.  Identity Theft 911 has a great website that features a “Knoweldge Center” full of valuable insights.  Of course, this firm can be of greatest assistance to the organizations they serve when they have the opportunity to provide their services before an intrusion occurs.  Similarly, while Krehel also authors a great blog full of helpful ideas, I only wish I had learned about how he can help me protect my data before I lost my iPhone

I encourage EVERYONE who has not lost a smartphone to review the “low tech” and “high tech” suggestions Krehel offers on what can be done to protect your data before it is ever lost or stolen.  Use this link to read “Your Smarter Smartphone” posted on Krehel’s blog, and be sure take the time to view his many other insightful posts.   Should you wish to learn more about Identity Theft 911 and the wide range of their capabilities, I’d be happy to arrange an introduction.

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It is no secret that financially successful families are often early adopters of all the new must-have home technology products rushed to market each holiday season.  What few early adopters realize is the degree to which many of these new products provide new and easy opportunities for those in the “hacking community” to run familiar scams to steal identities, credit card information, etc. In a Dec 26 article titled Gadgets Bring New Opportunities for Hackers, The New York Times provides great insights on how many new technology products are exposing consumers to this growing risk.

Love your i Phone and i Pad?  The Wall Street Journal reported Dec 18 that many popular apps for both products help to share user data widely and freely without the user’s knowledge. It seems Apple assigns a Unique Device ID to the devices it sells that enable others to track how the devices are used.  This article in the Dec 28 edition of The New York Times by Reuters summarizes the class action lawsuits Apple is facing.  

With all of this unsettling news, consumers should minimally examine the protection they are provided by their insurance program for the risks of identity theft and restoration.  Extra attention for taking prentative steps should also be considered.

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There are many examples to support my strongly held belief that proper insurance planning is not a DIY project. One recent example: when the mainstream press offers guidance on how to manage your risks, be aware that such stories often omit important pieces of information that can leave you and your family’s assets exposed to uncovered losses

In a recent article by Paul Sullivan, the highly acclaimed Wealth Matters columnist for The New York Times, readers are urged to understand and manage the many insurable risks associated with children attending college. Mr. Sullivan begins by reminding his readers that “insurable risks faced by college students have gone up tremendously in the decades since their parents lugged stereos and crates of vinyl records into dormitory rooms”.  So far, so good. 

So, you ask, just what are these new risks facing college students in the 21st Century? Surprisingly, instead of learning about any new insurable risks that have “gone up tremendously”, readers are simply reminded of the usual and obvious risks that I sure hope every parent already knows to prepare for: theft of valuable items, automobile claims, serving alcohol, trip and fall injuries, and identity theft.  While the risk of identity theft has surely risen in the past decade, readers are left to wonder what are the other risks that have actually “gone up tremendously in the decades since…stereos and…records”, as the article forewarns???  

Unfortunately, there actually are risks facing college students and their families that are on the rise, and although these risks were not revealed in this article, you can learn about them here.  Consider for a moment the liability risks (and defense costs) that can arise from your student’s improper use of e mail, blogs, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and webcams.  Had The New York Times consulted this risk advisor, they would have learned to warn readers of the increased risk of “personal injury” — the very broad and overlooked category of risks that all parents of teenagers should understand and secure protection for.  Not to be confused with bodily injury, “personal injury” refers to those injuries that don’t affect the body. These include false arrest, wrongful eviction or entry, invasion of the right of privacy in a room or dwelling, slander and defamation, or the violation of the person’s right to privacy.

Few consumers (or even traditional insurance agents, for that matter) ever examine whether coverage for the increasingly real risk of “personal injury” is even covered by the policies that provide their family’s personal liability protection.  Especially for families with children in high school or college, consumers should learn if the liability insurance covering the actions of their family members includes coverage for “personal injury”, as a great many personal insurance policies do not. If your policies do not provide this important protection, contact me for access to the handful of carriers that provide policies that do.  And —- please do not rely on newspaper articles for guidance on how to craft your insurance program, even those appearing in The New York Times.  

For a link to the New York Times article that omits this important information: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/18/your-money/home-insurance/18wealth.html?pagewanted=print

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