Have you had something stolen from right under your nose? You’re going about your day, as usual, and nothing really seems out of the ordinary. You experience a hiccup, but think nothing of it. It’s not until days later that you realize something is off. Way off. You frantically replay the events and conversations of days past until you get to the bottom of it all. You’re taken aback. You start questioning yourself. You’re questioning everything. You’re in complete and utter awe, and worse, of all, you feel violated, frustrated and helpless.
This was me the morning I discovered my business was hacked.
Someone racked up $1,000 in charges using my business credit card information. It was one of the most gut-wrenching moments I’d ever experienced. I agonized wondering how could someone like me, the owner of a risk management firm, fall victim to hacking? And then I quickly realized hackers are smart, skilled and standing in the shadows waiting for the right time to intrude on your privacy.
The incident occurred this past March, through Fiverr, the online marketplace I, and many business owners use to obtain freelance services at a reasonable rate. Having used the website and its services for some time, I thought it a little odd that I could not access my account, but didn’t think much of it. I did what anyone would do, I attempted to reset my password but the standard email and link I would need to so never arrived. The hackers actually locked me out of my account and stole my business’s hard earned profits!
I was livid. I felt extremely vulnerable. But I did not panic.
I immediate took action and called my bank to deactivate my cards, and went in-person to fill out the necessary paperwork to dispute the charges. In spite of this misfortune, I can say there was a little peace within knowing I had fraud protection with my bank and IDShield, if any other issues were to occur from my information being compromised.
The news of retail stores and online services whose data has been compromised should encourage us all to stay protected, stay in the know, and steps ahead. Since enduring my own agony, I have ceased the use of credit/debit cards online, and only use PayPal or other secured method of payments. I’ve updated my IDShield account with my new business credit card information to track, and I am working harder than ever to educate others.
So what steps would the CEO of a risk management firm advise you to take to protect yourself, your family, your brand?
Invest in yourself
Sign up for IDShield, or another identity theft protection program. ID monitoring is great, but it’s not enough. Make sure your protection includes restoration benefits, so restoring your name and credibility doesn’t become a hassle.
Regularly monitor your online accounts, financial records, credit reports, medical records, and more. Hackers like to fall under the radar. Check behind yourself, and often.
Don’t be too quick to click
Use caution when opening or responding to unsolicited emails. Stick to your intuition and report any suspicious correspondence.
I wanted to share my story, not to gain sympathy, but to make you aware of the realities of hacking. Anyone is a target, but not everyone has to be a victim. Intuitive Risk Management International is a firm that has one thing on its agenda: to meet the needs of our clients. If you would like more information about identity theft protection, and other risk management services we provide, visit us at www.intuitiveriskmanagement.com. You can also submit a question to me directly at email@example.com