Saturday, July 18, 2015

Identity Theft Protection Insurance: Utterly Useless Rigmarole?

In the wake of the recent cyber attack of the US Office of Personnel Management, should everyone avail themselves of Identity Theft Protection Insurance?

By: Ringo Bones 

With Mainland Chinese elite hackers of the Shanghai based Unit 61398 as the primary suspects, the recent large scale cyber warfare attack of the US Office of Personnel Management that was uncovered back in the middle of April 2015 and only later publicly announced back in June 5, 2015 that involved as many as 21.5 million individual records were believed to be affected, many a concerned government worker – in the United States and the rest of the world – is now concerned enough to contemplate whether to avail themselves of this “Identity Theft Protection Insurance” in order to protect their personal social security records and related files from being stolen to be used for nefarious criminal means. But does the “average government worker” really need Identity Theft Protection Insurance? 

It can be quite a nightmare for your typical government employee if his or her employee job assignment, job review, and training data were compromised by a hacker skilled enough to infiltrate such well-protected electronic files, but can availing oneself of an Identity Theft Protection Insurance really help? In reality, your average “layperson” these days is more worried about fending off cyber-hackers than your typical street-level pickpockets. Insurance companies are capitalizing on these fears by pitching the digital-age equivalent of a can of mace – the “Identity Theft Protection Insurance. But before buying such protection, experts are already warning consumers that you should find out what that particular policy covers. 

Experts say when your car is involved in an accident or your house accidentally catches on fire, car insurance and homeowners insurance covers the repairs. When an online fraudster drains your bank account or steals your employment identity records, Identity Theft Protection Insurance doesn’t replenish the money of your bank account that got stolen – your bank’s zero liability policies should take care of that. Nor can some variations of Identity Theft Protection Insurance – advertized as credit monitoring and protection services – actually insulate your reputation from a catastrophic hack. 

In actuality, purchasing an Identity Theft Protection Insurance policy is like hiring a wedding planner. You can pay someone to call florists and caterers and in the case of a hacked bank account – contact your bank to cancel a card or do it personally yourself. In truth, Identity Theft Protection Insurance policies are like “expense reimbursement programs” for your hacked bank account than a typical old-fashioned insurance policy.   

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