AZ Big Media Here’s How to Stay Safe Online


A cyberattack occurs every 39 seconds, and by 2022 the global annual cost of cybercrime has reached $6 trillion.*

Every October, Cyber ​​Security Awareness Month is notable for promoting the importance of online security.

With the constant cycle of technological advancements, many banks are offering online and mobile banking platforms where consumers can transfer money, pay bills and deposit checks at their fingertips.

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While this is convenient, it is important that consumers are informed of the best ways to protect their finances in a emerging interconnected digital society. Online users should be aware the breadth of data that can be hacked, giving cybercriminals the ability to piece together a full picture of an individual just to exploit it.

It’s not just usernames and passwords that criminals can access – it can be your whole identity. Your contacts, your behaviors, your likes, your dislikes, where you go, your interests, and even who you associate with. The scammers are getting more and more sophisticated, and if you have something they want, they are getting better at luring individuals with bait.

Melissa Swift is Head of Treasury Relations for WaFd Bank.

Cybercriminals combine data from multiple sources and engage in highly targeted attacks. It is useful to consult websites such as I was taken, Chopped, IntelligenceX and hashcast to see how many times your information has been viewed or published on the web. It is also beneficial to search for your name, email address and mobile number to see what the results are and know exactly what information is stored online.

Even if your information has not been affected, it may be advantageous to act as if it has already been the case to potentially protect you in the future. If you discover that your information has been compromised, it is necessary to review all your data that is currently on the Internet and take the necessary precautions to better protect yourself. This can be done by accessing software systems such as Delete me, Removal and SAS for the protection of personal data.

When it comes to social media, it’s important to check whether your profiles are public or private. Consider the type of content you post on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and other platforms. These outlets are huge stores of behavioral data points and a dream for cybercriminals, especially your personal network.

Think about who you are connected to and who could potentially extract information from them to reach you. This includes information you provide to any source. If sharing this information is not necessary, consider not providing it.

It is also recommended to change your password regularly. I like to call it “cybercleaning”. An effective method is to put a reminder on your calendar every three months to change your password to provide additional security and minimize your risk of a cyberattack.

As difficult as it may be, don’t use the same password on different sites. Keep a list of websites you use regularly and change passwords every three months to maximize security, making sure every password is strong and hard to guess.

Additionally, allowing two-factor authentication to receive notifications to your phone number or email address exactly when there is a login to your account is essential to keeping your information safe online.

Maintaining a clean digital footprint for your information online is important, especially in a world filled with advanced technology and criminals who can easily access information and steal from you. Following these steps can reduce your chances of falling victim to a cyberattack and help ensure that your online information is safe.


Author: Melissa Swift is Head of Treasury Relations for WaFd Bank. Founded in 1917, WaFd Bank has more than 200 branches in eight western states and is headquartered in Seattle, Washington. WaFd Bank offers a full range of banking services, including checking and savings accounts, credit cards, mobile and online banking, home finance, retirement plans and loans. To learn more about WaFd Bank, please visit


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