Pa. financial protection program focusing on cybersecurity

    In this file photo

    In this file photo

    The state Department of Banking and Securities has issued a progress report on a year-old program intended to educate Pennsylvanians about financial risks and management.

    Banking and Securities Secretary Robin Wiessmann said the overarching goal of the Consumer Financial Protection Initiative in the past year has been to get financial information to Pennsylvanians however possible.

    That includes run-of-the-mill advice on dealing with mortgages, planning for retirement, or paying off college loans.

    But Weissmann says one of the biggest priorities is something many clients — particularly older ones — often take for granted: cybersecurity.

    “Exponential growth in our use of the internet along with the exponential growth in cybercrime — it’s obvious in today’s market environment, and it really is much greater than it was five years ago,” she said.

    People don’t really get excited about internet security, Wiessmann admitted.

    “It’s hard to make prevention as sexy as rehabilitating or remediating against catastrophe,” she said.

    But, she said, it’s vital. And the risk is growing.

    A dedicated fraud investigation unit also launched this year to notify people when fraudulent claims are filed in their name.

    This year, more than 30,000 notification letters were sent out. Last year, the number was 8,500 and, in 2014, just over 1,000.

    The program has been holding seminars and releasing videos, among other things, in an effort to get the message out.

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