Protecting Your Money and Identity Online

Sera-Brynn’s Executive Vice President Heather Engel was featured this month on an ABC 13 News Now report, highlighting how individuals can protect their money and identity online.

Watch the complete news segment here, or read the transcript below.


Lucy Bustamante: Now investigations are underway into the massive technical failures that plagued the world yesterday. From the stock trades at the New York Stock Exchange to the grounded flights at United Airlines, it is a big reminder of how much of our lives we actually live online.

Now, cybersecurity expert and Vice President of the company Sera-Brynn, Heather Engel, is here today. So let’s learn something important from you today. Heather thank you so much for the information you sent us earlier in which you are about to share.

Heather Engel: Absolutely.

Lucy Bustamante: So tell us exactly what is there to learn from everything that crashed yesterday and the types of real life backups that we can have for ourselves right now.

Heather Engel: Sure. One of the big takeaways from yesterday is how dependent we are as a society on technology. I think a lot of people don’t realize that we have such a network of critical infrastructure and it’s fairly fragile underneath.

Lucy Bustamante: So what are some of the things you do can do, for example, when you’re sitting in front of your computer, where do you go on your setting or on your iPhone, where do you go on your settings to be able to set up a password for your internet, things like that.

Heather Engel: One of the things that makes it complex is there’s a lot of different layers.

Lucy Bustamante: Right.

Heather Engel: So there’s the network connectivity, there’s what you’re doing on your laptop or your workstation. There’s also what you’re doing on your phone or your iPad. All of those settings are going to vary widely and we have a lot of different types of operating systems so they’re all going to be slightly different but for the most part if you can go and find “tools” then go under “settings” you can find a lot of security tricks that you can turn on. There’s a lot of things that you can do in there.

Lucy Bustamante: And tutorials online as well.

Heather Engel: Lots of tutorials are available.

Lucy Bustamante: Let’s show the graphic that you sent us earlier, the information, you say here “use a separate WiFi network for banking,” how does that work?

Heather Engel: With your WiFi router that you have in your house, you can set up a separate network to use just for doing sensitive financial information. And we recommend that you do that because you’re not the only one on that network especially if you have kids who are teenagers, even pre-teens, typically are doing things online, you don’t always know what they’re doing and it’s just as likely that you’re kid is gonna get a data breach on their computer as it would be that you’re going to on your laptop.

Lucy Bustamante: Sure. Now I love this next one because so many of us have opted for paperless everything. We don’t pay our bills by paper anymore. Everything’s online, so what do you suggest for this one?

Heather Engel: This is a big one and this is something we’ve had discussions with some financial advisors and they all agree on this. If you’re going to have all of your accounts online, and many of us do, your investments, your banking, you need to print out hard copies of your statements. Try to do it at least quarterly. If you can’t do it quarterly, six months. But make sure that you have a paper back-up.

Lucy Bustamante: There’s so many ways to organize it nowadays too.

Heather Engel: There are. And you don’t need to keep a lot, just keep the most current one.

Lucy Bustamante: Okay, and then finally, let’s see the number three on the graphic, “if you suspect a breach implement a credit freeze.” So, is that where you call Equifax and all three or are there simpler ways of doing it?

Heather Engel: It is. This is something that is not very well known. We all hear about credit monitoring, you know, if you’ve had a data breach, the company will typically offer that and there’s a lot of information about a fraud alert on your credit. There’s less information on a security freeze or a credit freeze and this is something that’s very easy to do. You do have to spend a little bit of time online or with one of the four major credit bureau’s but you can ask them to place a freeze on your credit and what that does is they will then not give out any information on your credit file. If you need to go and buy, you know, if you’re in the market for a car or a new house, you can unfreeze it just with the use of a pin. Very easy to do and what it does is it prevents them from giving out any information which will in turn prevent most organizations from granting any type of credit without your knowledge.

Lucy Bustamante: Awesome, useful information. Thank you so much, Heather Engel, VP of Sera-Brynn.