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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in data breaches

Posted by on in Press Release
Don’t Be “Skimmed” By ATM Thieves

MADISON, Wisconsin (November 1, 2015)    ATM “skimming” is a process in which thieves obtain information from the magnetic strips on the back of debit cards by placing a well-disguised device over an ATM’s card-insert area.

            The device captures the card number and security data while simultaneously recording the cardholder, by way of a tiny camera pointed at the ATM’s keypad, as the cardholder enters their PIN.  The thieves are then able to drain the debit card’s funds or spend the balance at will.  Skimming can happen at all ATM’s, including ATM’s in heavy traffic areas.

            According to FICO (a credit scoring and analytics firm), attacks on ATM’s have reached the highest level in 20 years.  ATM thefts on bank properties have increased by174 percent while successful attacks on non-bank ATM’s have experienced a frightening 317 percent increase.

            Here are a few tips you can utilize to protect yourself says Ron Von Haden, CIC, Executive Vice President of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW):

1.      Try to visit only ATM’s you trust.

·         By using your bank’s network, you may be eligible for security policies or services they provide to members.

·         If an ATM looks damaged or tampered with, report it to the ATM owner and move to a different ATM.

2.       Cover your PIN.

·         Make it a habit to cover your PIN when you’re withdrawing cash.

·         Use whichever hand corresponds to the card-insert area.  If you insert the card on the right side of the ATM, enter your PIN with your left hand, covering it with your right. This will ensure your hand blocks any hidden camera on the machine.

3.       Pay attention to your charges.

·         Check your statement carefully for charges that you did not make yourself. Skimmers will often make small, infrequent charges to avoid detection.

4.      Report fraud ASAP!

·         If you experience any ATM fraud, report it as fast as you can.  Under the Electronic Transfer Fund Act, the sooner you report any unauthorized charges, the greater your federal protections are.

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PIAW members are professionals who homes, autos, and businesses from the everyday risks you encounter.  To find a PIA member near you, look for the PIA logo or visit www.piaw.org

Posted by on in Press Release

Protect Yourself from Identity Theft – 8 Tips from the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin

MADISON, Wisconsin (November 15, 2014) – It seems that every day there is a new report of major data breaches for national companies such as JP Morgan and Home Depot as well as small local business. While you can’t stop large-scale data breaches, there are steps you can take to keep your identity safe during the holiday shopping season.

“Identity theft is very lucrative and is becoming much more prevalent,” says Ron Von Haden, CIC, Executive Vice President of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW). According to the Wisconsin Office of Privacy Protection: Wisconsin identity theft complaints increased 46% in 2012 compared to 2011. “The number of unreported thefts, usually involving family members, is likely to be much higher,” notes Von Haden.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), identity theft affects 11 million victims each year, costing individuals and businesses more than $52 billion.

“The good news is that there are ways to keep identity thieves from stealing your credit card information and other personal data – you just need to be vigilant and be aware of any red flags or warning signs. If you think something is fishy, it probably is,” Von Haden notes.

  • When shopping at the mall or neighborhood stores; carry your wallet or purse securely. Also, purge your wallet or purse of unneeded credit cards. And leave your social security card and check book at home.
  • Write "Check Photo ID" in permanent ink on your credit card, near your signature. This will remind cashiers to check your identity before processing your card.
  • Before buying anything online, make sure the site is secure. Secure sites will have "https" instead of "http" in the web address.
  • Use different passwords for different websites. If a thieve learns a single password, he or she will attempt to use it at many sites...and since many consumers save their credit card information on shopping sites, thieves can easily run up thousands of dollars in charges.
  • Always review your credit card statements carefully to be sure that the charges listed are correct. Credit card companies only give consumers 60 days to dispute charges and they must be disputed in writing.
  • Be aware of phishing schemes or fundraising scams. “Unscrupulous thieves are very good at making emails look like they are coming from legitimate charities and other institutions,” says Von Haden. “Don’t click on a link in the email, type in the website address so you know you are being taken to the legitimate website.”
  • Give to organizations your family has an existing relationship with or those that speak to a cause you believe in.

Many insurance companies are offering identity theft insurance. Coverage typically costs from $20 to $100 a year as a rider to a basic homeowner’s policy or as a stand-alone purchase.

“This insurance can be helpful to reimburse consumers for long-distance phone calls, legal expenses and more,” says Von Haden. “Your professional independent insurance agent can discuss the benefits and costs of identity theft insurance so you can determine whether it’s right for you.”

For more information or to locate a PIAW member near you, look for the PIAW logo or go to www.PIAW.org.


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Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin
6401 Odana Road | Madison, WI 53719
Phone: (608) 274-8188 | Toll Free (800) 261-7429
Fax: (608) 274-8195 | Toll Free (866) 203-7461