While the internet and instant access to a wealth of information, socialization, and convenience have certainly been a benefit to active users, the digital landscape comes with its own set of dangers that users must be aware of. From scammers using artificial intelligence (AI) to mimic the voices of your loved ones to fraudsters posing as people they’re not, a hacker’s hunt for your information is never ending.
“It’s important to keep your personal information safe. Fraudsters work to gain access to personal and sensitive information such as financial data, social security numbers, and passwords to steal that information to commit fraud in the consumer’s name,” said Beth Staszewski, information security risk manager at Everwise Credit Union.
It’s imperative for internet users to practice cybersecurity to protect themselves from ransomware, identity theft, and fraud.
“Using best cybersecurity practices helps keep personal data private,” said Staszewski, “and can also help minimize cyber threats, which can compromise your devices and data. Plus, these strategies can ensure online transactions remain safe, reducing online fraud. Cybersecurity best practices can also keep your online reputation intact and can help prevent your social media accounts from being compromised, resulting in unauthorized posts and activity.”
At Everwise, cybersecurity is heavily emphasized and employees train to ensure the credit union can best maintain its digital security. The emphasis on online safety transfers to Everwise’s members as well, and many of the strategies employees use also benefit members.
“At Everwise, we use the S.T.O.P. method: Slow down. Think it through. Observe the email. Pick up the phone and call instead of click,” said Staszewski. “It’s important to use a different means of communication to contact a company if you feel a communication may be fraud. So if you get an email or text, we suggest you call the company to discuss your questions. In addition, we use our website and social media channels to reinforce that Everwise will never call or text its members asking for personal information.”
Internally, Everwise utilizes a variety of fraud detection measures that can catch scammers that manage to gain access to member accounts. These measures include transaction monitoring to catch suspicious activity early.
“We’re constantly on the alert to make sure member accounts are secure,” Staszewski said. “Everwise has enlisted the assistance of our Debit/ATM Card partner, PSCU, to identify potentially fraudulent transactions and then contact members to verify whether they were authorized or not. In addition, continuous monitoring is in place to alert us of any unusual activity.”
Everwise understands that its employees can’t be everywhere all the time, so the credit union also offers courses and tips to help members take the safety of their personal data into their own hands.
“Members can protect their accounts with our online and mobile banking tools that allow them to lock their cards, update PINs, order new cards, set-up account-specific alerts, and more,” said Staszewski. “Everwise additionally has an array of resources on its website to help members stay safe. We offer modules for members to learn more about how to spot fraud, how to report lost or stolen cards, and how to protect themselves online.”
In this digital age, it’s important to understand who you’re giving your information to and what they’re using it for. As technology advances and evolves, so do methods of stealing your data. The team at Everwise is constantly implementing new ways to protect its members, and they want to pass that knowledge on to you.
“Cybersecurity is everyone’s job. Stay aware and always watch out for fraudsters,” said Staszewski. “If something online seems too good to be true, it most likely is.”
Everwise Credit Union offers Region residents traditional financial services including checking, savings, mortgages, and credit cards, as well as non-traditional services, such as wealth management. To learn more about everything Everwise can offer its members, visit everwisecu.com.