The Dos and Don’ts of Cyber Security

man on cell phone

Were you a victim of fraud in 2021? According to a new report produced by Javelin Strategy & Research and cosponsored by AARP, you’re one of the 42 million Americans who were, costing consumers $52 billion in total losses. With so many more people relying on the internet due to the pandemic, criminals had plenty of opportunities to harvest their victims’ personal identifiable information.

Can we eliminate financial fraud in America? The first steps start with you. There are dos and don’ts to cyber security that everyone should be aware of to help protect themselves and their personal information from scammers.

Do…

  • Monitor your accounts daily for suspicious activity
  • Enable two-factor identification when creating logins
  • Create strong passwords and use a password manager – see our blog post on strong password tips here
  • Keep your devices secure by installing the latest updates
  • Use secure Wi-Fi connections

Don’t…

  • DON’T give personal information to unsolicited callers. Wheelhouse Credit Union employees will NEVER ask you for Digital Banking credentials, passcodes, etc. When in doubt, hang up immediately and call the Member Services number on the back of your debit/credit card.
  • DON’T click on links that you don’t trust or that are from unknown sources. Quick tip: hover your mouse over a link without clicking it to see where the link will take you.
  • DON’T respond to voicemails or phone calls asking you to verify account information.
  • DON’T forget to logout of your accounts.

As scammers continue to find new ways to scam, fraud will always be on the rise. We must take the initiative to protect ourselves in the technology and internet-centered society we live in today. Being overly cautious is the first step – keeping your accounts and passwords secure comes second.

Strong Passwords & Password Managers

Strong passwords are your first defense against fraud. However, you may find yourself thinking “all these complex and unique passwords are getting out of hand! How am I going to remember them all?”

Well, a premium password manager can be the solution. With a password manager, you only have to remember one master password. So let’s get into the details.

Strong Passwords Typically:
  • Use 15+ characters
  • Include numbers, symbols and a mix of uppercase and lowercase
  • Are different for every account
  • Are changed every 6 months

A password manager can check all those boxes for every account by generating random passwords, at the character length of your choice, with numbers, symbols, uppercase and lowercase letters, and can be manually or automatically changed every so often.

What to Know About Password Managers
  • A password manager may cost you some money.
    Although there are free ones out there, premium managers are safer than most free options. Some premium managers offer free versions, so do some research to determine what is best for you.
  • With a password manager, your master password is extremely important.
    You need to have a strong password, incorporating the above elements, to protect your vault. If you need to, have a “hint” to reference in case you forget your master password. You’ll be locked out of the vault if you cannot remember your master password.
  • Password managers can be breached.
    Password managers can be, and have been, breached. However, password managers encrypt the data, typically with industry–standard encryption like AES (Advanced Encryption Standard, the same encryption the U.S. government uses), so if there is a breach, the hacker would have to decipher that encryption, which is almost impossible. Plus, with a strong master password, two-factor authentication and malware free devices, your security is looking very strong.
  • More than just passwords.
    Password managers can store more than just account passwords. You can store addresses, membership numbers, insurance information, credit card and bank information, WiFi passwords and more.
  • There are different types of password managers.
    Password managers can be browser-based, cloud-based or desktop-based. Each one has pros and cons, so do some research to determine which is best for you.

For more information on security and common fraud tactics, visit WheelhouseCU.com/security.

Sources
cybernews.com/best-password-managers/are-password-managers-safe/
us.norton.com/internetsecurity-privacy-password-manager-security.html

 

Why Taking a Personal Loan to Pay for Your Wedding Might Make Sense

Weddings are what dreams are made of. They are the start of something new and exciting, filled with hope and love. The time to come together as families and wish the next generation the best, as they move toward building a life together.

Planning a wedding is fun, but it can be stressful too, particularly when it comes to budgeting for the costs. Weddings can be expensive, but they don’t have to be. The best weddings are the ones that are based on the couple’s personal style and filled with love.

According to The Ascent article summarizing various wedding studies and statistics, the average cost of a California wedding in 2019 is $39,000. Whatever your budget, you may want to plan on going over by 20%, creating a cushion to help cover unexpected extra items.

There are several ways to pay for a wedding, including:

Savings and/or a Shared-secured Loan

If you’ve saved up $10,000-$40,000 for your wedding, then congratulations on being a prudent planner! Although using your savings can be a comfortable way to pay for this special day, you may want to ask yourself if you want to “drain” your accounts or leave these funds for future use as a married couple. One option to do this is to use your savings for a share-secured loan. This allows you to keep your savings in your account, earning interest, and use the share-secured funds to pay for wedding expenses at a fixed-rate.

Credit Card

Although using your credit card to pay for wedding expenses can be very convenient, it can also be risky. If you plan on using a credit card as your primary tool to pay for wedding expenses, we recommend that you create a very strong budget prior to making purchases and stick to it. We also recommend that you take advantage of 0% balance transfer offers, so you can pay off this debt quickly after the wedding.

Personal Loan

As you decide the best way to pay for your wedding, one option you may want to consider is a personal loan. Personal Loans have fixed rates and terms, allowing you to obtain a loan to cover your budget and pay it back monthly for the term of the loan. Personal loans can reduce stress, as many feel more comfortable knowing exactly what they will need to pay each month and for how long. They also come with a much lower interest rate than credit cards, making the use of these types of loans to fund your wedding less risky and much more affordable.

Cash from Parents and Family

Although many of us have supportive parents and family members who will contribute to paying for wedding expenses, most couples will still need to cover some expenses on their own, particularly their honeymoon. If this is the case, we recommend referring to the above-mentioned options, suggesting a personal loan may be your best bet.

We wish all “soon to be married” couples and their families the absolute best as they plan, budget and host the wedding of their dreams. We are here to help fund the expenses in the way that makes best sense to you, so please reach out to Wheelhouse Credit Union if we can be of service.

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