CHICAGO – ‘Tis the season to start holiday shopping and with estimates from the National Retail Federation of more than 183.8 million people planning to shop on Cyber Monday alone, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) reminds online users to be cyber aware and consider ways to protect against identity theft and other cyber crimes.
As the number of people who would rather simply surf the internet to find the perfect deal than fight the crowds increases so do the reports of retailers of all sizes falling victim to cyber attacks. These crimes victimize both the stores and their customers whose personal information is compromised.
“There’s always the potential that when you purchase or sell something online your financial information could be hacked,” said Alex Hageli PCI’s director of personal lines policy. “PCI reminds all consumers to remain on guard anytime they are online. It’s also a good idea to speak to your insurance company or agent about cyber security insurance and see if it’s something you want to add to your insurance policy, whether you’re a business owner or just looking to protect your finances. As more and more personal information is shared and stored online it’s more important than ever to protect yourself from these kinds of threats.”
Whenever you’re online there’s always the potential to become a victim of a cyber crime. To help consumers and businesses manage this risk, insurers offer products that help consumers recover their identity or businesses provide required data breach notice requirements.
Online Safety Tips for Businesses
1.) Make sure you have appropriate security measures in place to protect your customers’ personally identifiable information.
2.) Make sure you have antivirus software or firewalls to prevent someone from hacking into your site and taking the website down.
3.) Make sure you’ve tested e-commerce mechanisms all the way through. Make sure everything is secure to protect both your business and the customer.
4.) Confirm with any third-party vendors that they too have the proper security measures in place. In the online world, you are only as secure as your weakest link.
Online Safety Tips for Shoppers
1.) Make sure the website is legitimate and secure before you give out personal information.
2.) When filling out personal information on the site, make sure they aren’t asking for your social security number or excessive financial information. Both are telltale signs of a fraudulent website.
3.) Whenever possible use a credit card when paying for something rather than a debit card. Credit cards have limits on what you can spend whereas debit cards are tied directly to a bank account. Make sure and review your statements, to see if there are any unauthorized charges. If there is a discrepancy, it’s important to report it immediately.
4.) Turn your computer off during the day and make sure your antivirus software is up-to-date.
PCI is composed of nearly 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross section of insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write more than $183 billion in annual premium, 35 percent of the nation's property casualty insurance. Member companies write 42 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 27 percent of the homeowners market, 32 percent of the commercial property and liability market and 34 percent of the private workers compensation market..