A Call for Vigilance during Fraud Awareness Week

CONTACT: Allison Aubuchon, APR
communications@allisonaubuchon.com | 850.766.5255

A Call for Vigilance during Fraud Awareness Week
Florida Surplus Lines Association Highlights Red Flags of Fraud

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Nov. 16, 2023) —  During International Fraud Awareness Week, Nov. 12-18, the Florida Surplus Lines Association (FSLA) is promoting awareness and preparedness against the rising tide of cyber-related fraud, with an emphasis on emerging social engineering scams. FSLA urges businesses to be proactive in understanding the evolving landscape of fraud and to recognize the role of specialized insurance, particularly within the surplus lines sector, which can help organizations prevent and recover from such threats.

“Now more than ever, businesses need to be prepared for the evolving tactics of fraudsters,” said FSLA partner Bryan Thornton, forensic scientist and Managing Director of Net Reaction, LLC. “Cyber threats, especially social engineering scams and cyber extortion, are on the rise. It is absolutely critical that all businesses take advantage of a combination of best practices to combat these threats. Strong, unique passwords, multifactor authentication on critical services, and a robust backup strategy are essentials.  Additionally, requiring multifactor authentication on remote desktop services is critical as more and more businesses embrace hybrid work.”

In the face of sophisticated cyber threats, Thornton warns businesses to be vigilant against:

  • Social Engineering Scams: Tactics where hackers manipulate individuals into transferring funds through deceptive means.
  • Cyber Extortion: Instances where hackers demand a ransom after encrypting a system, posing a significant threat to business operations.
  • Data Breach/Data Exfiltration: As insurance carriers begin to limit ransomware payments, criminals are increasingly turning back to stealing consumer data from businesses.

Thornton, who works diligently with businesses to assess data privacy vulnerabilities, emphasized the role of surplus lines insurance in addressing the growing threat landscape.

“The surplus lines insurance industry, including FSLA, has been swift to adapt to the evolving threat of cyber-attacks,” added Thornton. “As hackers grow more sophisticated, surplus lines insurance plays a crucial role in not only expanding coverage but also providing expertise and support when incidents occur.”

Beyond conventional insurance needs such as home, auto, or business coverage, certain risks demand “special” insurance, and surplus lines are designed to meet these unique challenges. Surplus lines insurance steps in when traditional carriers lack the ability or specialized expertise to cover specific risks. FSLA encourages businesses to be proactive, stay informed, and leverage resources to mitigate the risks associated with emerging threats.

Ways to protect businesses and reduce vulnerabilities:

  • Ensure all email, social media and any service that touches money uses strong, unique passwords.
  • For those same categories, enable multifactor authentication. If your provider does not support it, consider moving services.
  • Ensure that you maintain at least three copies of critical data: one production copy, a local backup and a cloud-based backup.
  • Ensure any remote access requires multifactor authentication before entry is granted.
  • Ensure administrative and privileged credentials are limited in scope.
  • Consider using Enterprise Detection and Response programs to detect malicious actors and limit their access.

About FSLA:

The Florida Surplus Lines Association (FSLA) is an association representing excess and surplus lines agency member firms and associate members in Florida. Over the past 60 years, FSLA has promoted the regulatory and legislative interests of FSLA members and the Florida surplus lines industry, with a focus on supporting opportunities and insuring risks throughout Florida. The Florida Surplus Lines Association serves as a voice and a resource for its members and is consistently recognized for being one of the most active in the nation, ranking among the top three surplus lines associations in the country. Learn more at www.myFSLA.com.


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