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Cyber Safety Basics for Protecting Your Identity and Finances

Cyber Safety Basics for Protecting Your Identity and Finances Blog Image
Social Media Internet Scams Fraud Blog
By: Bryan Watkinson and Veronica Perez
AVP of Risk Operations and Loss Prevention Supervisor

October 12, 2023

In today's digital age, utilizing a trusted cybersecurity tool on your personal computer and smartphone is essential to protect your identity and data. All it takes is one click or hitting ‘send’ on one email to leave your device vulnerable to bad actors. In 2022 alone, the Federal Trade Commission reported consumers lost nearly $8.8 billion to incidents of fraud 1, including $3.8 billion to investment scams, more than double the reported loss in 2021. The first step to avoid becoming the next victim of fraud is to educate yourself on the concepts and take proactive steps to protect your information.

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity involves protecting every one of your systems, devices, and sets of sensitive data against cyberattacks 2. From individual users to large multimillion-dollar corporations, having effective cybersecurity practices in place is essential to safeguarding your sensitive personal and financial information online. The internet is an integral part of our daily lives, and as we use it for various activities, the risk of cyber threats increases. With more accounts, apps, and streaming services, the potential for cyberattacks grows, emphasizing the need for robust security measures.

Four Steps to Stay Cyber Safe

Based on recommendations from the federal government’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, here are four simple yet critical steps to enhance your cybersecurity:

  1. Turn on Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): MFA provides an extra layer of security by requiring users to verify their identity using multiple methods. This could be something you know (password), something you have (a phone or token), or something a feature on your phone enables, unique to yourself (fingerprint or facial recognition).
  2. Update your software: Regularly updating your software ensures that you have the latest security patches. Turn on automatic updates whenever possible.
  3. Think before you click: Be wary of suspicious links, especially from unknown sources. Phishing schemes often use legitimate-looking links to trick users into providing sensitive information. If an email looks questionable, put your cursor over the sender’s email to ensure it comes from a legitimate website.
  4. Use strong passwords: Ensure your passwords are long, unique, and randomly generated. Avoid using easily guessable passwords like "123456" or "password." Consider using a password manager to keep track of your passwords.

At Affinity, the safety and security of our members’ finances and personal information is a top priority. We partner with CyberScout, a free comprehensive identity theft service made available to all of our members. Its purpose is twofold – to provide educational resources 3 and to provide a theft resolution service if a cyberattack or incident of fraud were to occur.

While the digital world offers numerous conveniences, it also comes with its set of challenges. By understanding the basics of cybersecurity and implementing the recommended steps, you can significantly reduce the risk of cyber threats and protect your data and identity. To learn more about the steps we take to safeguard our members’ data, visit our security center 5.

This information is for informational purposes only, is intended to provide general guidance, and does not constitute legal, tax, or financial advice. Each person's circumstances are different and may not apply to the specific information provided. You should seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant, and/or legal counsel to discuss your specific needs before making any financial or other commitments regarding the matters related to your condition.

1 Retrieved from: