Cyber insurance provides extra layer of protection against scammers

Cyber scammers are taking advantage of the pandemic, trying to steal your hard-earned money. On top of scams surrounding stimulus checks and vaccines, fraudsters are also going after people who are using technology more often. With more people working, learning, and communicating remotely, experts said you might want to consider […]

Cyber scammers are taking advantage of the pandemic, trying to steal your hard-earned money. On top of scams surrounding stimulus checks and vaccines, fraudsters are also going after people who are using technology more often.

With more people working, learning, and communicating remotely, experts said you might want to consider getting cyber insurance. It’s something many haven’t even heard about or considered – even those who have become victims of online scammers.

Cape Coral native Becky Lance and many others have fallen victim to sneaky thieves.

“They sent me an email stating they were Venmo. It was a pretty legit email and they wanted the PIN number,” said Lance.

Lance said she was caught at a vulnerable moment when she just woke up early in the morning and fell for the scam. For her, about $1,700 was at stake.

“They actually did take money from me, but I called my bank right away and was able to get it back,” Lance said.

If she hadn’t contacted the bank right away, she might have been out of luck.

One way to better protect yourself from incidents like this is by getting cyber liability

“We’re seeing a rise in fraud and scams online and offline meaning by phone calls, so it might be a good idea having this in your back pocket as extra protection,” said cybersecurity and identity theft expert Carrie Kerskie.

Kerskie runs Kerskie Group, a private investigation agency in Southwest Florida. She said cyber liability insurance used to be geared only toward businesses to protect them from cyber threats.

“Anyone can pretty much buy these policies now. Just like any other insurance policy, you buy it, pay a premium, and then it covers you for specific types of incidents,” she said.

So, what does this insurance typically cover?

“We’ve had clients call in for the wire transfer scams or clients that have had ransomware and these policies have stepped in to help make them whole,” Kerskie said.

Cyber insurance can be added to your homeowners insurance policy or purchased individually. Not every company offers it, and Kerskie said it’s important to make sure you work with someone who has adequate experience in providing this coverage.

She said the cost usually ranges from around $100 to a couple thousand a year depending on the coverage you want. In some cases, it really ends up paying off.

“One of the victims we work with had a quarter-million dollars taken out of his bank account over a six-month period,” Kerskie said.

He had insurance he didn’t even know about, which made all the difference.

“In 14 days, he had a check for $170,000,” she said.

Just like when you’re buying other types of insurance, it’s important to look at what your risks and needs are.

“You need to make sure you understand what’s included and what’s excluded because if what you’re doing is excluded then there’s no point in getting the policy,” Kerskie said.

However, Kerskie said there’s no one-stop-shop solution.

“It’s about layers of protection. The more layers you have in place the harder it’s going to be for a bad guy to get between you and your money or you and your information,” she said.

Whether you end up getting personal cyber liability insurance or not, Kerskiei said the best thing you can do is monitor your statements. If you don’t report fraudulent activity within 72 hours, chances are your money is long gone.

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