“Cyber”- everything is pouring down upon us every day now, and today’s no different. Let’s look at properly securing data from the inside out, because regardless if you are a president, teller, member, or not even in the CU Community — it pays to be prepared.

The latest, fooling you in the midst of your day-to-day normal activities, seamlessly merging themselves into your everyday existence, only later do you figure out (usually once it’s too late), that someone infiltrated your daily flow & grabbed permissions from you, without you even realizing it.

This is happening today. It’s the new “norm” of scam artists.

So, beware, there are no 2nd chances. It’s sort of similar to pickpocketing in public, where someone distracts you with a diversion (a yell, a friendly conversation, a staged argument off to the side, something that grabs your attention), then, in a split second, your wallet, purse, phone, etc., gone!

In the digital, cyber world, this comes by way of a familiar-sounding email from what appears a familiar-sounding, trusted source. You reply easily enough (and quickly, because that’s how we’ve trained ourselves) and inadvertently give out an important piece to the puzzle. And, if that’s not enough, another day comes along another innocent enough outreach, and, oh my, another piece of the puzzle. At that rate, it doesn’t take long for all needed pieces of the puzzle to end up in the wrong hands, and they are now “accumulating” your data. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, BAM, the wheels get set in motion and all hell breaks loose. Your balances go down, your credit cards get declined, strange email password change verifications begin to show up in your inbox, text messages with verification codes appear on your phone, your house or car gets burglarized, and, and, and…..

At that point (after the chemicals in your brain settle down), you’re in full damage control. Calling your bank [credit union], changing passwords, getting cards shut off & reissued, reviewing your credit report, and that list goes on, and on, and on!

In the workplace, maybe you’re giving out details about coworkers, management, what time you/everyone arrives in the morning, leaves in the evening, what days off you or others have, etc. Or, maybe you unknowingly dish out your workstation or email password(s), the type(s) of systems in place, who’s in HR, Admin, Accounts Payable, Accounting, etc. Then, innocently enough, you’ve given scammers those important puzzle pieces they’re after to begin scamming your employer. Not good for that promotion!

“Prevention” is now the word of the day. Change those forever used, often shared passwords & passcodes, and tighten your ship. Stop giving certain permissions to ANYONE. If you do, change passwords & passcodes, again, and again and again. STOP using password files that hold your passwords. If you have password files, make certain that your passwords are complicated and the contents of those files only contain “reminders” that will trigger your memory of the complete/full password(s) or passcode(s). DO choose double authentication wherever possible.

Then, BEWARE the scammers are much, much better at what they do, and getting better every day! To them, it’s their “work.” They specialize in making daily progress until they have what they need for when they feel the time is “right.”

STOP yourself (as in slow down just a millisecond), give yourself that one & only chance to ponder if you’re really confronted by a trusted source or a scammer. Then, proceed only if and to whatever degree you feel comfortable. Those “voices” in your head are usually accurate, if you get “that feeling”, shut it down, think it through and come back to it if necessary. Then, report it, right away. Sometimes (maybe oftentimes), no one wants to listen. Make them listen! Get to an interested party. You may end up blowing an important whistle that stops countless others from doing so much harm. Your voice matters and you could end up saving so many others from being victimized!

So, here’s to keeping 2018 prosperous by thwarting would-be scammers by choosing NOT to give them a helping hand. Remember, Business Systems has been serving by providing compliant forms, disclosures, and lending documents solutions in a time and cost-saving manner for over 35+ years. Learn more about and lending forms packages here or contact ClientServices@oaktreebiz.com for more information today.