National Insurance Awareness Day

Insurance Awareness Day Gibb InsuranceJune 28th is National Insurance Awareness Day, and although insurance likely isn’t something you think about often; when you need it, it can suddenly become the most important thing in your world.

And while you might not think of insurance every day… we certainly do!

We want to ensure that you are fully aware of what your policies entail as well as the limitations; to help protect you and manage expectations in the event of a claim.

Please take a few minutes to review your policies. Review the amount of your coverage, limitations and take note of your deductible. It’s important to us that you are informed and educated.

If you believe you may qualify for a discount on your premiums, would like a quote from another carrier, or have any questions at all, please gather your insurance documents and give us a call: 519-736-8228

Recognizing and Preventing Fraud

Recognizing and Preventing FraudOnly we as consumers can protect ourselves from fraudulent scams. Thousands of Canadians are victims of fraud each year, costing an estimated 10 billion dollars annually.

The impact of fraud can be significant and devastating: loss of retirement savings, homes and even businesses. While we’d all like to believe that fraud couldn’t happen to us, however, victims vary greatly in age and economic backgrounds. Fraudsters are relentless and savvy.

The best way to protect yourself from fraud:

  • Awareness and recognition of fraud
  • Discuss fraudulent scams with everyone in your life
  • Report fraud when it is suspected or occurs

From the Competition Bureau of Canada:

Thousands of Canadians of all ages and from all walks of life are defrauded each year. There is no typical fraud victim in Canada. Fraud targets Canadians of all ages and from all walks of life. Recognizing fraud is the first step to better protecting yourself.

Fraudsters are professional criminals that know what they are doing. Fraudsters rely on some basic techniques to be successful. These include:

  • Developing professional-looking marketing materials
  • Providing believable answers for your tough questions
  • Impersonating government agencies, legitimate businesses, websites, charities, and causes
  • Pretending to be your ordinary supplier
  • Hiding the true details in the fine print
  • Preying on areas of vulnerability, including those needing help with loans or finding employment
  • Asking for fees in advance of promised services
  • Threatening legal action to collect on alleged contracts
  • Falsely claiming affiliation with reliable sources, such as legitimate news sites to support their products or services
  • and exchanging victim lists with other fraudsters.

Think you’re fraud savvy? Take this quiz.

When it comes to fraud: recognize, reject and report.

Please share this article with your loved ones.

Protect Yourself From Email and Online Scams

Email Scams Protect YourselfEmail scams have gone far beyond the old “Nigerian Prince” requests to mail cheques and send money abroad. Scammers are using more sophisticated methods of impersonation for the purpose of stealing your personal information or money. (For information on protecting yourself from phone scams, please click here.)

Let’s review some terms.

Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails which appear to be from reputable companies with the goal of baiting individuals to reveal personal information, such as Internet passwords, banking information and credit card details.

Spear-phising is even more sophisticated and targeted – often the email will contain details, such as the recipient’s name, mention a previous email conversation and may come from a trusted friend’s email address.

Here’s how it works:

An email with an attachment may appear from a known and even trusted contact. The attachment may look like a PDF file, but it’s actually an image with a link embedded that once clicked takes the user to a very legitimate appearing Google log-in (as example).

Once the recipient goes through the log in process (supposedly to open the attachment), that information is captured. The attacker now has full access to your email and, as example, Google account.

There are only two small cues that this is a scam.

  • On a high resolution computer screen, you may be able to detect that the PDF is not legitimate and actually an image.
  • Once the faked image is clicked taking the recipient to the fake log in page, the URL does not begin with “https://” and is rather: “data:text/html.”
Gmail phishing scam

Credit: Tom Scott

You can read more about this phishing technique here.

Once your email is compromised, this is what can happen:

  • They have total access to your email.
  • They can now send emails, posing as you.
  • They can find personal information, such as past conversations to send very personalized emails, posing as you.
  • They look for contacts who have sent you attachments in the past, and replicate them for phishing purposes.

Avoid online shopping scams

When shopping online, even on trusted retail websites such as Amazon, you may see an advertisement with a great deal. These might not be legitimate, and if clicked, take you away from the Amazon page.

The website may appear to be just like the Amazon website and/or payment page, but once a purchase is made, the scammers now have your money. If the purchase is not finalized (such as “we’re currently out of stock”), you may be contacted via email by the fake retailer to complete the purchase whereby they steal your money and other personal information.

If you’re shopping with Amazon or any online retailer, keep these tips in mind:

  • Trust your instincts, deals that appear too good to be true, often are.
  • Check the URL to be certain you’re still on the correct page.
  • If you’re shopping with an Amazon “affiliated retailer”, contact Amazon’s customer service to ensure legitimacy.

Social media scams

You may have seen or heard of friend’s Facebook profiles being duplicated for the purpose of gaining trust then scamming friends via Facebook, and be aware that this problem still exists; but note that many savvy users these days turn to social media for a fast response to their customer service inquiries.

In a scam known as “angler phishing” the response may be from a faked replica of the company you’re contacting. You’ll then be directed to log in and give personal information on what may appear to be a real website, but is not.

For businesses – a real life example

Business email addresses can also be compromised. Consider the details of professional email conversations and combine that with what can be learned online about employees or even business owners who are active social media users:

  • LinkedIn – work responsibilities and professional details, fellow employees and their start dates
  • Facebook – daily activities and travel plans

This information can be compiled by a scammer, (and it’s happened locally!), sent another employee from a work email address, such as the following example:

Hello Mark,

I know that you’re on vacation in Florida, but this invoice needs immediate payment. As you know I would normally complete the transaction myself, but it’s a large amount, so I thought it best to send to you. Please find the invoice and the payment details attached. It can be paid online similar to how you paid last week’s invoice to ACME Company.

Thanks, see you soon. Jean

How can you protect yourself?

Be aware! Watch for emails, even from trusted friends or family members that contain language such as: (From the RCMP)

  •  E-mail Money Transfer Alert: Please verify this payment information below…
  • It has come to our attention that your online banking profile needs to be updated as part of our continuous efforts to protect your account and reduce instances of fraud…
  • Dear Online Account Holder, Access To Your Account Is Currently Unavailable…
  • Important Service Announcement from…, You have 1 unread Security Message!
  • We regret to inform you that we had to lock your bank account access. Call (telephone number) to restore your bank account.

Protecting yourself online!

  • Have a strong and unique password for all your online activities.
  • When possible, utilize a two-step authentication and/or add a recovery phone number or email address for verification purposes.

Never send money based on an online request. Let you friends and family know that you will never request money from them online without personal contact.

  • Keep your travel plans off of social media.
  • Be a savvy shopper. If a deal looks too good to be true, it often is.
  • Check out the legitimacy of websites before making a purchase. http://www.wikihow.com/Find-if-a-Website-Is-Legitimate
  • If you’re making an online purchase via Amazon or other online retailers, be sure you’re shopping on their legitimate website. Do a quick Google Search of the URL or company’s name. Look for online reviews or research the company on the Better Business Bureau’s website. http://www.bbb.org/search?ref=77
  • Before making an online purchase, check the website’s security status in the URL – look for https and a padlock symbol.
  • Business owners need to create a system for dealing with online payments, invoices and social media security.

Actions to take if you believe you’ve been sent a phishing email

(From the RCMP website)

If you receive one of these suspicious e-mails:
Report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or the institution that it appears to be from.

If you received one of these suspicious e-mails and you unwittingly provided personal information or financial information, follow these steps:
Step 1 – Contact your bank/financial institution or credit card company
Step 2 – Contact your credit bureau and have fraud alerts placed on your credit reports:
Equifax Canada Toll free: 1-800-465-7166
TransUnion Canada Toll free: 1-877-525-3823
Step 3 – Contact your local police
Step 4 – Always report phishing. If you have responded to one of these suspicious e-mails, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

Please share this important information with everyone in your life, particularly those who are not savvy Internet users who may be more vulnerable.

Time For an Insurance Review

It's important to read your insurance policy - Gibb Insurance Brokers AmherstburgEach year it’s important to be in contact with your insurance professional. Consider the following:

If you haven’t lately, now is the best time to review your insurance policies. Do you have enough coverage on your vehicle? Does your home insurance coverage water damage in an amount that would sufficiently cover you in the case of loss or damage? Does your home insurance cover sewer backups?

While reviewing your home insurance needs and policies may not be your most favourite activity, doing so now could save you time, money and stress in the future.

If you’re unsure of your coverage or would like any assistance reviewing your policies, please do not hesitate to contact us 519-736-8228

Fire Extinguishers and Home Safety

This article is part 2 in our Fire Extinguisher Series. Please view part 1 here

What type of fire extinguisher should you purchase?

For the safety of you, your family and your home, we recommend asking a knowledgeable fire extinguisher supplier, such as Great Lakes Safety Products in Windsor, which rating is suitable for your needs.

Here is some basic rating information suitable for common household purposes:

Fire Extinguisher Ratings for Household UsesFire extinguishers generally have 3 class ratings – A, B & C.

An ‘A’ rating is used for ordinary combustibles like wood, cloth, plastic, and paper. The class ‘A’ label is represented by a red triangle.

Class ‘B’ extinguishers are rated to put out flammable liquid fires like oil, gas, paints, grease, and solvents. The class ‘B’ label is represented by a yellow square.

The class ‘C’ label is used for electrical fires.  The class ‘C’ label is represented by a blue circle symbol.

The number in the rating of a fire extinguisher is related to its fire-fighting ability. In general, the higher the number, the more powerful the extinguisher.

Inspect your fire extinguisher regularly

Make it a yearly habit to inspect your fire extinguisher. Because many kitchen fires occur around the holidays, due to an increase of time we spend cooking, it’s a great idea to inspect your fire extinguisher when we ‘fall back’ the clocks in the autumn.

For recharging, it’s best to follow the recommendations and directions on the manufacturer’s label.

Business and commercial property owners have an obligation under the Ontario Fire Code to install and maintain a certain number and type of fire extinguishers.

In our next article in the series, we’ll discuss the proper use of a fire extinguisher.

 

Important Reminder – Fire Safety Tips

On Saturday night we are to move our clocks ahead one hour for Daylight Savings Time.

Approaching Daylight Savings Time, we are reminded to change the batteries in our smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. When was the last time you replaced your smoke or carbon monoxide detector? Smoke detectors only have a life span of 10 years and carbon monoxide detectors only last 5-7 years on average. If you can’t remember the last time you replaced these essential safety devices, it might be a great idea to replace them now.

Changing the batteries, or installing new smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is a great opportunity for parents to teach their children to not be afraid of these alarms. The last thing a parent wants their young child to do is run and hide because they’re frightened of the alarm’s noise.

Here are some tips to help educate your children:

  • Have your children ‘help’ you change the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Explain to your children why it’s important that these batteries are changed regularly.
  • Prepare your child for a very loud noise and have them press the tester button, so they are aware of the sound.
  • Have a conversation with your children about what they should do if they hear the fire alarm. (If you don’t have a fire safety plan for your home, now is the perfect time to create one!)
  • Demonstrate to your children what they should do if they hear the fire alarm.
  • Re-enforce your family’s fire safety plan by calmly and regularly discussing it with your children.

You want to do is to scare your children about a house fire and this can be avoided by approaching the subject factually and regularly. At Gibb Insurance we believe:

The better you prepare for a disaster, the less likely it will happen.

‘Safe’ Keeping

Should you own a fireproof safe, rent a safe deposit box at your financial institution, or both?

Both can provide you with peace of mind as to your home or business’s valuables. In part one of this discussion, we’re going to review some advantages and considerations of owning a fireproof safe and renting a safe deposit box.

Protecting your valuables Gibb Insurance Amherstburg OntarioThe Advantages of Owning a Fireproof Safe:

  • Keeping valuables and documents safe in the unfortunate event of a fire. Many safes also offer the added feature of water resistance.
  • Safes provide some level of protection against burglaries, as most burglars only steal that which can be easily carried out.
  • Valuables and documents can be easily accessed 24/7.

Fireproof Safe Considerations:

  • Home safes may not be the ideal location for precious jewelry or rare coins, as example.
  • Quality, highly rated safes can by quite costly.
  • If you need to store computer files, photo negatives, flash drives or the like, you must ensure your safe has the proper rating. While your valuable documents might be protected in the event of a fire, your digital media files may not be.
  • Home safes often require a combination, code and/or a key to open. It’s important that these items are not lost or misplaced.
  • It’s important to ensure that the items within your safe are covered in your home insurance policy.

Safe Deposit Box Advantages

  • Safe deposit boxes are generally a safe place to store all important documents, digital files and valuables. Your valuables are protected against home burglaries, fires or water damage.
  • A small safe deposit box can cost only a few dollars a month.
  • Additional access to a safe deposit box can be pre-determined (rented jointly) in case the owner is unable to access the box due to a medical emergency.

Safe Deposit Box Considerations

  • The items contained are not readily on hand if needed immediately.
  • You cannot store cash or firearms in your safe deposit box.
  • The key must not be lost or misplaced.
  • Many boxes are restrictive in size and larger boxes can be quite expensive.
  • In the unlikely event the bank is destroyed (like during Hurricane Katrina or 9/11) your possessions may not be insured. Check your home or renter’s insurance policy to see if you’re covered.

In part 2 of this discussion, we’ll review what possessions, documents and files are best kept in a home safe and which are best kept at a financial institution to help you determine which (or both) option meets your needs.

If you have any questions about insuring a safe deposit box or if you are wondering if you have adequate insurance for your valuables, please feel free to contact us at 519-736-8228.