The 4 Cyber Attacks Business Owners Need to Watch Out For

More and more purchases are being made online and this transition to a post COVID-19 way of doing business means that safeguarding your company and customer data from cyber attacks is a must. The first step to protecting yourself and your business is to educate yourself on cyber threats. Here are four cyber-attacks to be aware of in order to secure your small business.

1. Phishing

According to the FBI, phishing scans more than doubled in 2020. Phishing strategies are often malicious users posing as a trustworthy source, such as your bank, requesting sensitive information such as your social security number or bank username, password and account number.

Thanks to social media, phishers have had an easier time launching attacks against unwary company owners in recent years. This is due to the fact that the majority of business owners, vendors, and workers post their information on the internet for everyone to see. Phishers can use this to generate highly customized emails and webpages that seem exactly like the sources they’re impersonating. This helps increase the chances of duping business owners and their employees.

2. Drive-By Download

The old mantra of “Just don’t click anything and you’ll be okay” when you stumble across something suspicious, is no longer sufficient. Unfortunately, drive-by downloads make it possible for websites to upload malicious software to computers without you even clicking on anything. The assault is started simply by browsing the website. Drive-by downloads are frequently used in conjunction with phishing emails.

3. Malware

Malware is a generic term referring to harmful software that can infect your computer and collect important information. Malware comes in a variety of forms, which you should be aware of:

  • Adware is a type of malware that is frequently packaged with free or pirated software and is meant to display ads, or pop-ups, while you use your computer’s web browser.
  • Spyware is software that monitors and records your activity, such as keystrokes and websites visited, in order to steal passwords. It might also alter the security settings on your computer.
  • Trojan horses take the form of ordinary files or computer programs. They allow a malicious party access to your computer and data, including your passwords and bank account details, once they’ve been downloaded.

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4. Point-of-Sale Hacking

Hackers can use this as one of the more high-profile cyber assaults against your small business. A hacker scrapes the credit card information saved on your point-of-sale equipment remotely using this method. This information is typically kept on a PoS device for only a fraction of a second before being encrypted. That microsecond is just enough time for hackers to grab the vital credit card information and transfer it to one or more remote servers.

It is rarely just one credit card number that hackers steal. More often, hackers will gain access to a point-of-sales device and scrape credit card information for months before being detected.

Learn How to Protect Your Business

Every single business is vulnerable to a cyber attack. When you look at some of the largest cyber breaches, you think of large companies. The names that come to mind are Target, Facebook, Google, Marriott…some of the largest corporations within the US have also suffered some of the largest cyber attacks. These are companies that invest millions of dollars into cyber security and the procedures implemented to mitigate those losses. With that being said, a small to midsize business owner is still vulnerable to these kinds of attacks at any time. You might consider these questions and more:

  • Do you collect sensitive data?
  • Are you performing financial transactions?
  • Do you have the ability for human-error?

No matter the security and procedures put into place, if you have a business email and bank account…you are at risk.

Cyber insurance generally covers your business’ liability for a data breach involving sensitive customer information, such as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, account numbers, driver’s license numbers and health records. Any business that stores sensitive data in the cloud or on an electronic device should be protected by cyber liability insurance.

Cyber insurance can be essential in helping your company recover after a data breach, with costs that can include business disruption, revenue loss, equipment damages, legal fees, public relations expenses, forensic analysis and costs associated with legally mandated notifications.

 

Questions? Want to learn more? Here’s 4 easy ways to reach us:

Phone: 951-600-5751
Email: insure@siaonline.com
Text: 951-482-8144
Web: www.siaonline.com

PS Here’s a few words from one client that trusts Stromsoe Insurance Agency:

“Always there when you need them!”
Kelly Barttels – K Belle, Inc – Temecula, CA – Client Since 2021

PPS Every policy is backed by our iron clad, 100% complete satisfaction guarantee. Ask for your copy today!

The Right Way to Insure Your Rental Property so Your Claim is Paid

Do You Need Rental Property Insurance if You Have Homeowners Insurance?

It depends on how long you intend to lease the property, but in most cases homeowners insurance won’t be an appropriate substitute for rental property insurance. Having tenants on your property brings on unique risks that may not be covered by your typical homeowners policy, especially if you plan to lease a property for an extended period of time. The type of insurance you need will depend on how often you rent out your home and the duration of your tenants’ stays. These distinctions can be divided into two categories: long-term renting and frequent short-term renting.

Long-Term Rental

If you have an investment property, vacation home or second home which you intend to rent to a single person, couple or family for long periods of time you will need to purchase rental property insurance. Generally long periods of time are described as six months or longer. The same is true if you decide to rent out your primary residence for a large portion of the year. Operating a rental house increases your exposure to risks, such as liability issues related to tenants and their visitors.

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Looking for what to read next?

Frequent Short-Term Rental

If you intend to regularly rent a property to a variety of guests for short periods of time, your property might be considered a business, and you may not be protected by either homeowners’ insurance or long-term rental property insurance. In many cases, this exposure is now excluded from long-term rental property insurance policies. Instead, to cover the associated hazards, you would need to purchase some form of commercial property and liability insurance. For example, for individuals who rent out their home or rooms through a service provider such as Airbnb, some insurance companies can provide vacation rental insurance. These policies include unique features such as bed bug and identity theft coverage.

You should be aware that although service providers themselves may offer a limited form of protection, it usually won’t be as comprehensive as the vacation rental insurance offered by an insurance company. For instance, Airbnb has a host guarantee policy covering property damage to your home up to $1 million for every listing, but the policy includes limitations that traditional insurance won’t. One limitation is that the request for coverage must be submitted within 14 days or before the next guest checks in, giving you limited time to take action and assure reimbursement.

 

Questions? Want to learn more? Here’s 4 easy ways to reach us:

Phone: 877-994-6787
Email: insure@siaonline.com
Text: 951-482-8144
Web: www.siaonline.com

PS Here’s a few words from one client that trusts Stromsoe Insurance Agency:

“SIA has been our trusted partner for more years than I can remember. They take care of everything – our business, rental property and all of our personal policies. They always go the extra step to make sure I am taken care of and are always there when I need assistance. Most importantly – I trust them!”
Stefani Laszko – Mythos Technology – Temecula, CA – Client Since 2007

PPS Every policy is backed by our iron clad, 100% complete satisfaction guarantee. Ask for your copy today!

14 Work Comp Audit Questions, Answered! | Part 1

A work comp audit is the examination of a policyholder financial and payroll records after the expiration of a policy. This process is done to determine the accuracy of the estimated premium when the policy was started. The number one way to fly through an audit is to be prepared!

You should always connect with your independent insurance agent to discuss all questions you have before the audit is conducted.

Here are the first 7 of the most common workers comp audit questions, answered!

 

Q1: Why am I being audited?

A: Audits are routinely conducted to verify the operations of the insured and to update policy information such as changes in operations, business locations, and new ownership. Audits are conducted to determine correct premium, and to confirm information used for calculating rates. Premium, experience modification, and classification rates are affected by the results of an audit.

 

Q2: What if I have questions regarding my workers’ compensation classifications?

A: The audit is an excellent opportunity to review and confirm proper classifications for the policy. The auditor will speak with the person who is best able to answer questions regarding your operations. It is not recommended that you refer the auditor to your bookkeeper or CPA to finalize the audit.

 

Q3: What records will I be asked to provide for the audit?

A: In general, you will be asked to provide State Quarterly Wage and Withholding Reports (DE 6s), payroll journals, and the payroll reports for the period being audited.

Since the information needed for each audit may differ, you may also be asked to provide other records that relate to your workers’ compensation policy. Examples may include payroll registers, time books, time cards, individual earnings records, check registers, check stubs, check books, cash disbursement journal, cash book, petty cash book, general or subsidiary ledgers, job cost records, confidential records, bonus ledgers, commission ledgers, profit sharing reports, 941s, W-2s, W-3s, 1096s, 1099s-Misc., 540, 1040 Schedule C, certified payroll, prevailing wage determination sheets, etc.

 

Q4: What type of wages and benefits are subject to premium?

Subject to Premium:

A: Premium calculations are based on gross payroll, not net payroll. Gross wages include salaries, commissions, bonuses, vacation, holiday pay, sick pay, overtime base wages, the market value of gifts, all substitutes for money earned or paid during the policy period including meals and lodging in lieu of wages, automobile allowances, and some pension play payments explained below.

Not Subject to Premium:

A: Payroll for officers specifically properly excluded from coverage under the policy, overtime excess (explained later), tips, severance pay, the value of an automobile furnished to an employee, reimbursement for expenses with receipts, and salary reductions to fund the welfare or fringe benefit portion of a Section 125 cafeteria plan.

  • Retirement/Pension Plans-Subject to Premium:
    Any amount by which an employee’s salary is reduced to fund a pension or deferred compensation plan.
  • Retirement/Pension Plans-Not Subject to Premium:
    Employer contributory payments including group insurance, stock purchase plans and qualified retirement plans. The exercise of stock options and withdrawals from deferred compensation plans are also not subject to premium computation.
  • What if I pay my employees in cash?
    If you pay your employees in cash instead of by payroll checks, you must keep a log of the cash payments, the hours worked, the date paid, the amount paid, and the first and last name of the employee. Otherwise, all cash withdrawals on your check register will be included in computing workers’ compensation premium.

 

Q5: Which employees qualify as clerical (code 8810)?

A: The use of this classification is subject to specific restrictions. The clerical employees must be physically separated from all the other working areas and their duties must be confined to general office work. Payroll division with any other class is prohibited.

 

Q6: Which employees qualify as outside sales (code 8742)?

A: Outside sales employees may be engaged in solicitation, collection activities or meeting with clients outside the office. The balance of their time can be spent in the office performing clerical duties. If they have duties of any other nature, they would be classified accordingly. Payroll division with any other class is prohibited.

The auditor will ask for the names, job titles, and payroll for clerical and outside sales employees. Having this information available before the auditor arrives will save time.

 

Q7: How do I report the earnings of our corporate officers, partners, or managing members of limited liability companies?

A: Unless specifically properly excluded by endorsement, officers, partners, or member managers are covered for workers’ compensation benefits. Payroll is reported subject to a minimum and maximum for each person. 

Those covered must be reported in the classification that best describes their job duties. They cannot be reported as clerical or outside sales unless their duties are confined to the work described in these classes. If they directly supervise any employee, they must be reported in the classification supervised.

Be sure to notify your independent insurance agency immediately of any changes in ownership.

 

If you would like to discuss any aspect that affects your Workers Comp coverage and premium, here are 4 easy ways to reach us:
Phone: 877-994-6787
Text: 951-482-8144
Email: info@correctcomp.com
Web: www.correctcomp.com

Here are some kind words from a business that trusts Stromsoe Insurance Agency:
“I’ve been with Stromsoe Insurance For over 15 Years. Their Murrieta Office was actually my first Project after I got my license. I refuse to go anywhere else! They shop all my policies to save me money and i can talk to everyone with one phone call! I recently Moved to Arizona, and Started a new Company. Stromsoe was able to get me going and again has all my policies! Thx Guys!”
Mike Hughes – Semper Fi Plumbing, Inc. – Surprise, AZ – Client Since 2007

The CorrectComp system is a division of Stromsoe Insurance Agency

Essential Car Insurance | Rear End Damage

Car Insurance Scenario

A squirrel crosses the road in front of you — and naturally, you stop. Unfortunately, a lead-footed, tail-gating motorist slams into you from behind. While the squirrel is unscathed, the rear end of your vehicle is heavily damaged. What should you do about rear end damage?

How Much Does it Cost to Fix Rear End Damage

It’s almost impossible to put a price range on this kind of damage. Rear bumper replacement costs can range from a few hundred dollars for a bumper up to $10,000 or more if the frame of your car is bent.

Your Insurance Coverage

Since you are not at fault in this scenario, the other driver’s insurance should cover the damage to your vehicle as well as any injury you sustain, assuming he is insured.

Damage to Your Car

In the scenario given, damage to your vehicle would be taken care of, first, by the property damage portion of the other party’s liability policy. The requirement for property damage in California at the time of posting this blog is only $5,000. If your fellow motorist is only carrying the required state minimums, you may end up responsible for the costs to repair your car.

Let’s say the other driver is completely uninsured, or is carrying low coverage levels, your own collision coverage would likely cover the cost to repair or replace your vehicle, minus your deductible. If you did not purchase collision coverage for your policy, your only other option would be under your uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage. This coverage kicks in to repair or replace your vehicle if the person who hit you is uninsured or not carrying enough coverage to fix your car. The maximum limit for uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage is $3,500.

Your Injuries

Whiplash is one of the most common injuries in a rear-end accident. There are roughly three million new whiplash cases every year in the United States. In many cases, mild to moderate whiplash claims can result in anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000 in medical costs. If the driver who hit you doesn’t have proper coverage, you may be on the hook for these medical costs.

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Should You File a Claim?

In the given scenarios, it’s the other person’s insurance that should cover both your vehicle and your own injuries. If the other driver is uninsured you may have to make a claim under your own uninsured policy coverage. This could also be true if their insurance is simply insufficient. In all of these scenarios, it is recommended that you report the claim to your insurance carrier to better protect yourself.

It’s important to fully understand what the various aspect of your policy mean. Your experienced, local independent insurance agent can walk you through your policy. We’re here to ensure that your policy is right for you and your needs.

 

First in the series: Essential Car Insurance | Bumper Damage
Previously in this series: Essential Car Insurance | Suspension Damage

 

Questions? Want to learn more? Here’s 4 easy ways to reach us:

Phone: 877-994-6787
Email: insure@siaonline.com
Text: 951-482-8144
Web: www.siaonline.com

PS Here’s a few words from one client that trusts Stromsoe Insurance Agency:

“I reached out to Sarah at Stromsoe Insurance and she was awesome. Sarah broke down my current coverage and explained how everything worked. I was with another insurance company before and they kept raising my rates, so I decided to switch my insurance over to Stromsoe Insurance Agency. I had a great experience working with Sarah and the Stromsoe team and they were able to save me a good amount of money on my car insurance.”
Paul Senn – Temecula, CA – Client Since 2020

PPS Every policy is backed by our iron clad, 100% complete satisfaction guarantee. Ask for your copy today!

Non-Profit Spotlight: Boys & Girls Clubs of North County

Our community is full of incredible people and organizations out making a difference for others! In this month’s Non-Profit Spotlight we’d like to recognize the Boys & Girls Clubs of North County!

In 1962, several business leaders started what was known as the Boys Club of Fallbrook to provide a place where boys could gather for constructive activities. In 1979, the Club changed its name to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fallbrook due to the increasing girl memberships. This was many years before the National Organization changed its name to Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Finally, in 1998 the Club changed its’ name to the Boys & Girls Clubs of North County to better reflect the communities served.

The Boys Club of Fallbrook started as a place where boys in the community could gather for safe, constructive activities. Today, the mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of North County is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need them most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring responsible citizens. Throughout the years, the programs and methods may have changed but the goal of the Club remains the same, to provide a safe environment for the youth in their community.

The primary beneficiary of the services the club provides is the youth in North San Diego County and parts of Riverside County. Examples of the services that this Club provides include: homework help, a snack program, sports leagues, STEM, art and music classes, swim lessons, and various clubs just to name a few. They have also come to learn that the services they provide don’t just benefit the youth, but they are a huge help to the parents of their members who need a safe place for their children to go when school lets out.

For the month of September 2021 Stromsoe Insurance will donate $21 to Boys & Girls Clubs of North County, for every referral that comes to our team!

Learn more about the 2021 Happiness is… Referral Rewards Program HERE

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For those who have not toured the Club, they find the common misconception is that the Boys & Girls Clubs of North County is only a youth sports organization. However, the Club is designed to meet the needs and interests of a wide range of youth. For that reason, they have programs that help members with their homework, provide daily snacks, offer programs in music and art, and also provide various club opportunities.

COVID severely affected the number of youth the club was able to serve at their 10 different sites. As guidelines begin to loosen, they are getting closer to serving the same amount of youth that they had served pre-COVID. However, safety is their number one priority and that is why they continue to monitor recommendations made by the San Diego County health officials and the CDC.

Upcoming Events

Due to COVID, the Boys & Girls Clubs of North County were unable to host their annual Dinner & Auction Gala last April. In its place, they hosted their first-ever joint event, a golf tournament, and virtual Wine & Whiskey tasting. The golf tournament was so successful that they had a huge demand to host another. So this October, be on the lookout for this very fun and exciting golf tournament to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of North County.

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If you would like to help support Boys & Girls Clubs of North County, please engage with them via Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. For additional information, check their website.

There are several ways to help support the Club and the children they serve! First, if you are interested in donating to the Club, they have made it easy to donate on their website. They will also have two great events that you and your friends will be able to attend this year to show your support. First, the golf tournament in October and then the annual Dinner & Auction Gala in April. If you would like to donate items for their members, they host a backpack drive every year during the month of July, and a toy drive in the month of November. For those interested in volunteering, once COVID restrictions permit, they always need help with coaches and referees for their youth sports programs.

Prior to COVID, the club was serving over 2,000 members each and every year. They can’t offer services to that many children without the support of caring community members who see a need and step in. If there is a program or area of interest that you would like to step into, please feel free to contact their office to see how you might be able to get involved.

For the month of September 2021 Stromsoe Insurance will donate $21 to Boys & Girls Clubs of North County, for every referral that comes to our team!

Learn more about the 2021 Happiness is… Referral Rewards Program HERE

 

Would you like to learn more about how we can help protect your non-profit , call your Stromsoe Insurance Total Protection Team at (951) 600-5751 or email insure@siaonline.com today!