State Financial Protection Program Says It's Prioritizing Cybersecurity

Dec 14, 2016

Officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities share updates from their financial protection initiative.
Credit Katie Meyer / WITF

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, says 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, like how to deal with mortgages, plan for retirement, or pay off college loans.

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

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

Wiessmann admits, people don’t really get excited about internet security.

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

But she insists that it’s vital. And the risk is growing.

A dedicated fraud investigation unit was also launched this year. It notifies 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.