Your Security Guide to Financial Safety and Wellness

June 4, 2021 by Spectrum Credit Union

So much of our personal information is saved on our computers and phones these days, and hackers are constantly coming up with more ways to steal that information. We have numerous measures in place to protect your money, but members also have to do their part.

That’s why we suggest learning how to strengthen your passwords, how to avoid the most common scams out there, and how to set a schedule to check on your accounts monthly.

How Spectrum Credit Union Protects Your Information

Multi-Layered Security

Our online and mobile banking platform uses a multi-layered security structure to protect our applications and networks to try and prevent hackers and identity thieves from accessing your information.


With our encryption tools, we ensure your online and mobile transactions are secured and prevent your data from being accessed by unauthorized parties.

Fraud Monitoring

We have a dedicated, in-house team that exclusively focuses on protecting and safeguarding your accounts, transactions, and data.

Ongoing Education

We continue to inform our members of updated ways to be proactive about protecting your information as well as training our employees to stay ahead of the game.

For more information regarding Spectrum Credit Union’s safety and security measures as well as security tips and how our digital banking provider helps protect your information, please visit Security Central.

How to Strengthen Your Passwords

Your passwords – and the personal information your passwords contain – are often hacked because many have common themes. There are even “online quizzes” that are designed to steal passwords with questions like “What’s your first pet’s name?” or “What town did you grow up in?”

These are typical security questions that hackers need to access your information. There are also computer programs designed to crack passwords, capable of 350 billion guesses per second. 

So how do we beat that? It’s easier than you think. Here are three steps you can take to strengthen your password. 

Let’s start with a simple password: chocolate. According to How Secure is my Password, this would get cracked instantly.

Step 1: Capitalization

By capitalizing the first letter, making it Chocolate, it would now take 19 hours to crack. This is better, but still not a great password to use. 

Step 2: Use numbers and symbols

If you replace letters with numbers or symbols that look like the letters, it adds complexity and makes the password much harder to guess. Chocolate becomes Ch0c0l@t3. This would take 3 weeks to crack rather than just under 1 day. 

Step 3: Use multiple words

The longer the password, the harder it is to crack. Instead of chocolate, it can be Chocolate Milkshake, and it would look like this: Ch0c0l@t3M1lk$h@k3. This new password is virtually impossible to crack but relatively easy for you to remember.

Remember, a complex password doesn’t have to be hard to remember. Start with something easy to remember, a word or phrase, and then adds these steps to make it complex. Whether protecting a child just starting to explore the Internet, or a seasoned pro looking to improve your online privacy, these three steps will definitely help strengthen your password.

Quick Tips to Avoid Scams

Hard times can bring out the best in people – and the worst. Scammers will try to take advantage of these moments and try to manipulate you. Be prepared!

Here are four popular type of scams and how to handle them:

Scam: Robocall

Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from scam Coronavirus treatments to work-at-home schemes.

What to Do: Hang up

If you don’t recognize the number, don’t answer. If you accidentally do, don’t press any numbers. The recording might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, but it might lead to more robocalls instead.


Scam: Undelivered goods

Online sellers claim they have in-demand products, like cleaning, household, and health and medical supplies. You place an order, but you never get your shipment.

What to Do: Fact check

Know who you’re buying from. Check out the seller by searching online for the person or company’s name, phone number and email address, plus words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” If everything checks out, pay by credit card and keep a record of your transaction.


Scam: Phishing

Scammers use fake emails or texts to get you to share valuable personal information – like account numbers, Social Security numbers, or your login IDs and passwords.

What to Do: Keep up to date

Protect your computer by keeping your software up to date and by using security software, your cell phone by setting software to update automatically, your accounts by using multi-factor authentication, and your data by backing it up.


Scam: Fake charities

When a major health event – like the Coronavirus – happens, you might be looking for ways to help. Scammers use the same events to take advantage of your generosity.

What to Do: Do your homework

These organizations can help you research charities. When you give, pay safely by credit card – never by gift card or wire transfer. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation.

Setting a Schedule

With financial tools at our fingertips and the ability to pay for our purchases online or by cell phone, many of us don’t bother balancing our checkbooks anymore and we tend to be less diligent about tracking purchases and balances.

Even after you’ve set a strong password and done your best to avoid scams, it’s still a good idea to log into your account periodically to make sure everything looks okay. We suggest doing so at least every month, if not more frequently.

Set a reminder on your phone to alert you on the same day every month, check your account and statements at the end of each month when you pay bills, or find a way to fit a few minutes into your schedule with some other event that happens on a schedule. For example, maybe your child has a baseball game every weekend and that can be the 5-10 minutes you need to logon and make sure all the charges in your statement look correct.

Monitoring your finances doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming, but it is important! It is our hope that we can provide guidance and assistance to our members during troubled times, but mostly, we aim to prepare our members to help avoid the troubled times altogether.

If you have further questions regarding Spectrum Credit Union’s security measures or would like to learn more about scams and security, please check out our Security Central and be sure to read our blogs!


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