Posts Tagged ‘ fraud ’

Cyber Security Q&A


As these challenging times force our world to operate more digitally, you may find yourself wondering about cyber security. In effort to help our members stay safe online, we reached out to our VP of IT Information Security Officer, Garth, to answer a few questions. Keep reading to learn Garth’s tips to stay safe and secure.  

What are the different types of fraud? 

While fraudsters are constantly applying slight new coats of paint, the goals for their scams remain relatively the same. They ultimately boil down to either obtaining your credentials, coaxing you into installing something harmful, paying them for something you would not normally buy, or outright sending them money.  

Although some of these objectives are obtained in fairly straightforward ways, like calling you and asking you for your online banking password to ‘confirm your identity’ before telling you about the alleged fraud on your account, others can be very intricate. They are also savvy enough to take advantage of current events, so things like fake COVID-19 charities, hacked COVID-19 mapping sites, and other sorts of pandemic-themed frauds are common right now. 

Attackers are trying to take advantage of consumers during these difficult times. What advice do you have for them? 

We all know to be skeptical of junk mail and can recognize it when we see it. Applying that same scrutiny to unsolicited emails, calls, and pop-up ads can save us all a great deal of heartache. Question authenticity. Practice pausing before acting rashly on unsolicited information. Take advantage of fraud protection features where available. If two-factor authentication is offered for online services, make use of it. Be sure to leverage card alerts and locking features. Finally, never, under any circumstances, provide your password to anyone. Only you should ever know your password.  

What suggestions do you have for people who are working from home? 

Hackers discover new vulnerabilities constantly, and while some exploit those discoveries for personal gain, others notify publishers and manufacturers of these defects so they can be addressed with patches. Make sure that your operating system and antivirus software are up-to-date and working properly.  Keeping up with these updates is critically important. Adding password protection to your Wi-Fi network and monitoring devices on your network are easy and simple precautions. Doing these things will keep you safe. 

Do you have any additional advice?  

It can be challenging to juggle all of the complex and unique passwords experts tell you to use for each different website. You may want to consider investing in a password management solution. Even when two-factor authentication is not available on a particular website, a good password management tool can be protected with two-factor authentication and help you easily keep track of your passwords.  

Finally, do not be afraid to slow things down. Fraudsters generally want to rush you as much as possible in order to increase the likelihood you’ll be rattled and make a mistake. Take your time to work through any uncertainty you may feel. Consult with friends. It is much easier to stop fraud before the money has left your account than it is to try and get it back afterwards. 


For additional fraud and cyber security information, visit our website. Still have questions? Contact our Fraud and Security team.

Preventing Elder Financial Abuse


Stop-Elder-AbuseThe Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ranks fourth for states with a high percentage of elderly residents. This year will bring more instances of elder financial abuse, with annual losses expected to approach $3 billion.

Senior citizens are favored targets for many types of fraud and scams including those related to identity theft, telemarketing, charitable donations, the lottery, investments, utilities and home repairs. It often goes hand-in-hand with other types of abuse and neglect such as verbal/ emotional abuse, physical abuse and neglect of care. The financial, verbal and emotional abuse of actor Mickey Rooney from a few years ago certainly raised awareness that anyone could be a victim. Cases like this commonly involve a trusted person in the elderly person’s life such as a caretaker, family member, neighbor, friend, nurse or even pastor.

The Pennsylvania House Aging & Older Adult Service Committee has been actively reviewing proposed language to ensure older Pennsylvanians are afforded the maximum protections from abuse, neglect, exploitation and abandonment. If you have any of the following concerns, you may be vulnerable to financial abuse:

  • You don’t understand the financial decisions that someone else is making for you.
  • You have trouble paying bills because the bills are confusing to you.
  • You are pressured by your children or others to give them money.
  • You don’t feel confident making big financial decisions alone.
  • You find yourself giving loans or gifts for more than you can afford.

Be particularly aware that significant abuse may easily occur through a power of attorney, so choose your agent wisely. If you don’t have a close family member or friend that you trust to manage your finances, you should consider asking a trusted financial advisor, attorney or accountant.

If you’re concerned about protecting a loved one, make sure to speak with and visit them regularly. Pay attention to the relationships  that your loved one has with family members, neighbors, aids, and others. If he or she is frequently going to the credit union or bank with another person, find out the reasons for these trips.

If you feel that you are a victim of financial elder abuse, our Loss Prevention Team is here to help you. Please contact us at (800) 283-2328, ext. 5202. It’s also important to report your concerns to the Department of Aging. Call the Pennsylvania Elder Abuse Hotline at (800) 490-8505 or visit www.aging.state.pa.us.

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Guest Blogger: Frank Serina, VP of Risk Management/Security Services (reprinted from the July/August 2014 edition of Avenues)

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