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Don’t Let Your PC Be Taken Hostage by Cyber Crimes! You’re happily working away on your computer, making good progress. Then you click on a link or email attachment and the screen freezes. A message flashes up, saying the PC has been locked and your data is no longer accessible until you pay a ransom.
Computer infection with “ransomware”, as it’s called, is one of the fastest-growing cyber-crimes of recent years, affecting not only home users but also businesses and other organizations, large and small. Cyber security experts say 2017 is heading to be the worst-ever year for the crime, which often leaves victims with seemingly little option but to pay up. Thousands of new infections are being reported every day. And even when victims pay (usually the ransom is between $50 and $200), there’s no guarantee the crooks will provide the unlocking code. And even if they do, they may also steal confidential information from PCs that can then be used for identity theft.
However, there’s a lot you can do to avoid falling victim to cyber crimes. And, even if you do get caught-out, there are often ways of getting your computer back in business without paying the ransom.
Here’s what to do:
- Make sure you have reputable security software installed on your computer and update it regularly (ideally, automatically). This will often stop ransomware infections from getting onto your PC in the first place.
- Keep all your other software apps and programs up to date. This especially applies to your Internet browser. Criminals are quick to identify weaknesses in any program but producers are usually just as quick to respond with more secure versions. If you don’t update, your software could be open to attack.
- Be wary about clicking links and attachments in emails from people or organizations you don’t know. Use the same caution on links inside unfamiliar websites.
- Make full and regular backups of both your computer operating system and your documents and other data. That way, if your machine is frozen and locked, you can reinstate your back-ups, losing little or none of your valuable data.
What if you get caught and don’t have a back-up? First, don’t panic. Shutdown your computer, disconnect it from the Internet and then restart it. In some cases, that might be enough.
If it’s still frozen, consider getting outside, professional help. There are a number of fixes for some of the ransomware currently circulating and calling in an expert might get you back in business.
If all else fails, you may have to consider paying up. That depends on how valuable your data is. But don’t use a payment method that involves an account number the crooks could hijack and use again.
Once you’re in the clear, use security software — or an expert — to thoroughly clean or reset your computer.
Do you have a business and fear the possibility of Cyber Crimes against your business? Harbor Insurance can quote and insure you with Cyber Crime Liability coverage as part of your Business Insurance Package. Contact us at Harbor Insurance today for more information. Visit us at I’m interested to find out more on Cyber Liability Insurance .
Beware of flood damaged cars…Thinking of buying a used car? Then, watch out for a torrent of flood-damaged autos now being offered for sale.
You probably weren’t counting, but in the past year there have been more than a dozen major floods in North America, which damaged tens of thousands of cars.
Sadly, many of them are now turning up on used car lots and online sales sites.
In an alert, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) warns that “unknowingly buying a flood-damaged vehicle may put you and your family in physical and financial danger.”
Cars’ electronic systems are often damaged during floods, causing safety systems to malfunction. Intensive water exposure can also cause major failures and other problems with the structure of a vehicle.
It’s not illegal to sell flood-damaged cars, though it is an offense to conceal or disguise its history to avoid disclosing flood damage. In other words, a legitimate seller has got to be honest upfront if an auto has been affected by flood water. Beware of flood damaged cars.
But that won’t stop the bad guys. It’s down to you to make the checks that will show if the car has been in a flood and is considered a flood damaged car. Here are the tell-tale signs:
- Musty smells in the cabin or trunk of the car and water marks underneath rugs.
- Rugs may also be unevenly discolored.
- Rust in the engine compartment and on the bottom of doors, especially of a newer vehicle.
- Signs of water in wheel wells, such as a white line at a certain height.
- Wiring and harnesses showing signs of being hard, brittle or cracked.
- Dirt where it shouldn’t be, such as in seat tracks or under the glove compartment.
- Stubborn retractable seat belts, not pulling out and returning smoothly, and sometimes discolored.
- A bargain price that seems too good to be true. If so, beware!
Make a point of checking a vehicle’s title documentation too, to see if it came from a flood area. Then, if you’re really interested, go one step further and check the vehicle’s title record via the NICB’s free VINCheck service. Find it at: http://tinyurl.com/NICB-VIN
Once you have decided on your new used vehicle be sure to insure it properly. That is where Harbor Insurance comes in. At Harbor Insurance we are here to assist in new vehicle insurance policies, adding another vehicle onto your existing Florida auto policy with us and reviewing your current auto insurance coverage.
Are you interested in receiving an auto quote for the vehicle you are purchasing? Contact Harbor Insurance here: Quote My Florida Auto Now
Every insurance carrier is a little different. But, there are a few common ways that you – as a consumer – can usually lower your insurance costs. Don’t continue to overpay for insurance; we can help.
Here are some useful things you can do to increase your insurance cost savings:
- Get more than one type of policy from the same insurer (such as home and auto or auto and personal umbrella)
- Install security devices in your car and/or your home
- Maintain a safe driving record, or claim-free home insurance record
- Take part in a certified Safe Drivers Course
- Increase your deductible
- Keep your insurance policy current so certain out-dated risks are no longer covered (check with me on this)
- Accept a lower maximum payout
- Being a low-mileage driver (often less than 8,000 miles per year)
- Drive certain cars (some have greater risk of theft!)
- Pay premiums as an annual sum rather than a monthly sum
- Install and have inspected Hurricane Shutters, Impact Windows, Roof Straps and/or Impact Doors and have a Windstorm Mitigation Inspection completed in order to certify the protective measures in place on your home
Because insurers frequently change their rates and their terms, the only way to keep on top of this checklist is to continuously monitor the marketplace, which is why we like to stay in touch with you, our insured throughout the year. By keeping in touch on a regular basis with us, your agent at Harbor Insurance, it keeps insurance fresh in your mind and you are more apt to ask a question and get the answers needed in the order that they apply to you, your home, your automobile(s), your exposures and/or any business endeavors you participate in.
We can help you to avoid overpaying for your insurance and to find the right insurance protection for your needs based upon the information that you share with us. Contact us at Harbor Insurance to discuss this and any other insurance related concerns further.
Do you know what is covered and what is not covered on your homeowner insurance policy when you suffer a water backup claim? Have you asked your agent, reviewed your homeowner insurance policy and/or are you prepared for when you suffer a property loss?
Each homeowner policy in Florida has the same basic coverage but the difference may not be visible to the everyday homeowner. If you are not sure what is covered on your homeowner policy, ask your agent for specifics and how they apply to the policy on your property.
Below you will find a brief list of what is typically covered on a homeowner policy for losses pertaining to water back up coverage. In order to confirm specifically what MAY or MAY NOT be covered on YOUR policy, please contact your agent directly.
-Toilet or shower drain is clogged and overflows causing damage.
– A drain is blocked because of a tree roof in your yard.
– A sewer line in the street backs up and causes a drain to overflow into your home.
Again, if you are unclear what is covered on your home policy please contact your insurance agent without delay. If you would like to discuss specific coverage questions or review your home insurance policy with us, we are here to help. For more information on this and other homeowner insurance topics please visit our agency website at www.harboria.com or find us on Facebook at Harbor Agent
A toilet overflow, drain back up or sewer overflow can cost thousands of dollars in damages and labor repairs. Regular maintenance and upkeep of your household systems will help deter future problems but be sure you have the right insurance coverage and protective measures in place on your homeowner insurance policy. If your home insurance policy does not cover the aforementioned water backup losses you MAY be able to add coverage by endorsement. In order to do this please be sure to contact your insurance agent to discuss in further detail and make an informed insurance decision.
With some trees bare of leaves at this time of year, cooler weather and hurricane season just a few months away, have your thoughts turned to that overdue chore of trimming and pruning? If so, make sure you put safety at the top of your yard maintenance list when it comes to tree trimming.
Thousands of people end up in the emergency room every year with tree-related injuries, when following some commonsense rules would have protected them. Trim trees with safety in mind to avoid certain mishaps.
For instance, you should never attempt trimming or removal within 10 feet of a powerline. It’s a job for professionals only. If you have to climb a tree, always test limbs and branches for stability, ensure ladders are securely positioned and never climb while holding tools.
Whether trimming branches or removing an entire tree, calculate where they will fall and ensure the fall area is clear before starting. It’s advisable to wear googles and other safety equipment, including strong gloves and, where appropriate, a hard hat.
This is particularly important if you’re using a chainsaw. In addition to heavy work gloves, you should wear thick clothing and even consider chaps as an extra layer of protection. Also, don’t attempt big pruning jobs if you’re tired or unwell, or if the weather is stormy. Finally, if in doubt about your abilities, call in a pro — and stay safe!
Trimming trees safely now can help protect against future wind damage and/or storm claims. Did you know that most home insurance companies only provide coverage under the home insurance policy for the cost to repair the part of the home the tree damaged and the removal of the portion of the tree that caused the damage but NOT the remainder of the tree and its removal? Contact us at Harbor Insurance [ www.harboria.com ] to discuss your home coverage and how this important, yet often overlooked insurance detail may affect you.
Most people rest easy knowing they’re protected by homeowners’ and auto insurance. And it’s true – they mostly are, if their coverage was arranged by a professional who understands their needs. But beyond the protection of a traditional homeowners’ or auto policy, increasing numbers of consumers are adding to this security with umbrella insurance.
It’s a matter of personal choice that we’re always happy to advise our clients about but it might be helpful to understand how umbrella coverage can add protection for you and your family.
In a nutshell, umbrella insurance is a form of liability insurance that performs two key jobs:
- It provides additional financial protection over and above the coverage in a homeowners’ or auto policy. In other words, it kicks in if any liability costs you face exceed the limits of your main policy.
- It offers protection against some risks that may not be covered by regular homeowners’ insurance – things like libel and invasion of privacy.
Back in the old days, these two risks may not have seemed all that significant but things have changed in the 21st century. For a start, lawsuit awards or settlements and associated costs continue to rise. Just as important, the age of the Internet has thrown the issues of libel, slander and invasion of privacy into the spotlight.
For example, not many people realize that the comments they might insert at the end of a blog or something else they’re reading on the web are potentially actionable – if they turn out to be untrue or malicious. Yes, we enjoy freedom of speech in this country but that doesn’t mean freedom to unjustly slur someone’s reputation. But it’s easy to do without realizing.
This isn’t just a theoretical thing, either. Recently we’ve seen cases where Internet site operators, including a big retailer, were forced to identify individuals who had contributed product reviews anonymously so that lawyers could consider lawsuits against them.
These trends – high settlements and libel lawsuits, and legal costs that can run into the hundreds of thousands – are likely only to increase in the coming years. Umbrella insurance actually provides high-level extra protection against these at fairly low cost, provided you already have standard protection. If you’d like to know more, please contact us at https://www.harboria.com/for-individuals/personal-umbrella-insurance
Have you completed your Annual Insurance Coverage Review this year?
Each year you receive your insurance coverage renewal documents in the mail; have you read them, really read them? Do you recall the last Annual Insurance Coverage Review you completed? At Harbor Insurance we work together with you to provide comprehensive coverage options to fit your needs. However, year to year, these needs can change and it is of great importance to review your policy regularly to avoid any unforeseen coverage blanks or road blocks.
Life is busy and it seems to move faster and faster each year. Don’t let your insurance review slip by and then stop you in your tracks when you have a loss. Scheduling and completing an Annual Insurance Coverage Review is a vital part of keeping your insurance coverage in tact.
Review this brief list of life changes that warrant a review of coverage and a call to your insurance agent as soon as possible:
- address change
- planning an addition or any structural changes
- a vacancy lasting more than 30 days
- alarm installation
- new roof, new windows and/or doors
- recently acquired new jewelry, collectibles, firearms or antiques
- regular household caretakers
- interior updates to kitchen, bathroom(s), floors, moldings, etc.
Regardless of the changes or improvements noted above, you should speak with your insurance agent at least annually to review any changes, additions or questions. As your insurance agent, we do not know unless you inform us; help us stay informed and you are better insured.
Have you spoken to your insurance agent recently? Call us at Harbor Insurance today and we will review your information, insurance plan and help to offer solutions based upon the information you share with us. We are here to help!
You may also contact us via the web and request an Annual Insurance Coverage Review. It only takes a few minutes to help plan for and/or assist in future unforeseen events. Visit us here: Annual Insurance Account Review.
While your home insurance is invaluable for covering the loss or destruction of many of your belongings as well as damage to your home’s structure, your policy may provide only partial coverage for your most cherished items. The good news is that even if they’re not fully covered under your homeowners, with a scheduled personal property endorsement or separate Inland Marine policy, they can be. Harbor Insurance can help you with this!
We can help you determine if a scheduled personal property endorsement or Inland Marine Policy would be a good fit for you. Look around your home and make a list of your cherished possessions. Be sure to consider—Jewelry, Antiques, Art Collections, Musical instruments, silverware/China , Autographed items & Rare or one-of-a-kind items. Did you receive a new piece of jewelry or artwork for the holidays? Have you just gone shopping an acquired a great deal at an estate sale that you are now the proud owner of?
Once you have taken an inventory, make the time to talk with us at Harbor Insurance; we will review your options with you thoroughly. In the meantime, you may also wish to check Harbor Insurance’s Mobile App; this app is downloadable to your phone or tablet and provides a safe, secure and easy way to do a complete inventory or your home, take photos and even store copies of your policy declaration pages. Check it out here: Harbor Insurance Agency’s Mobile App!
Mission Flights International is based in Fort Pierce. They have a couple planes with which they fly relief items to Haiti and to the Bahamas.
Following last weeks Hurricane, they are asking locals for donations. The Port St Lucie office of Harbor Insurance is a designated drop-off location.
If you are able to donate, please visit us at our office with your donations. Your help is greatly appreciated!
Non-Perishable Food items (NO Water and NO Glass Containers)
– Protein Bars
– Canned Meat
-Peanut Butter (no glass containers)
– Paper Products
-Paper Plates and Plastic Eating Utensils
-Formula / Baby food
Cleaning Supplies (NO Bleach or Aerosols)
-Mops / Brooms
-Non-hazardous Cleaning Agents
– Hygiene Supplies
-Toothpaste / Toothbrushes
– Medical Supplies
– Bandages / Band-aid
-Chain Saws / Hand Tree Saws
-Hand Tree Saws
-Batteries (AAA, AA, C, D Cell only)
Thank you for your Donations!
HARBOR INSURANCE AGENCY
6645 S US Hwy 1| Port St Lucie, FL 34952
(West corner of Kitterman Road & US Hwy 1