May 20, 2022

This Is Why We Need More Cybersecurity Awareness with Sandra Estok

“There is an identity theft victim every two seconds in the United States.”   In the 36th episode of Cash Flow Pro, we talk with Sandra Estok, Founder of Way2Protect. Sandra began her journey into cyber security when her identity was...

“There is an identity theft victim every two seconds in the United States.”


In the 36th episode of Cash Flow Pro, we talk with Sandra Estok, Founder of Way2Protect. Sandra began her journey into cyber security when her identity was stolen. She was faced with six years of tumultuous experiences and trying to prove she was, in fact, herself. Today she is here to share her story and steps you should take to protect yourself when using all internet services. 


Today, Sandra works with individuals, organizations, and Fortune 500 Companies in combating what she calls “Cybermonsters,” individuals who are trying to scam or hack you while you are distracted. She has also written a book, “Happily Ever Cyber!” to combat cybercrime one reader at a time!


In this episode, we discuss:

  • The dangers of “Cybermonsters.” 
  • Dealing with identity theft 
  • Being conscious of how you relate to technology and safety measures you should take


Make sure to tune in on this episode to find out how to protect yourself when using the internet!


Find your flow, 

Casey Brown


Resources mentioned in this podcast:





Casey Brown  0:00  
Countdown and we'll go from there. Okay, okay. Don't hang up when we get done. Okay, when we sign off. Hey there, and welcome to today's episode of cash flow Pro, your real estate investment, podcast and YouTube channel. We're excited to have you with us today. And today I am with Sandra Eastar s doc sorry, of way to protect and what we're going to talk about today is cybersecurity protection and cyber safety. There's so many different things floating around on the internet. And when when we start talking about where money, cybersecurity, internet and everything, all of that converges, we really, really, really need to make sure that we use utmost precaution because you know, somebody is always out there looking to get a quick dollar. So Sandra, how are you today? Welcome.

Unknown Speaker  0:58  
Thank you so much, Casey. And so happy to be here with you today.

Casey Brown  1:03  
Awesome. Well, we're glad to have you. And we're glad to be able to hopefully, take what you've got and and relate it to our business, whether it be the capital raising part of it, whether it be the investing part of it. Now, I want to start this off with with I guess maybe this this could potentially be a story like, like, like, kind of like the one we all heard when we were kids where somebody woke up and they had had a kidney taken out and the kidney was sold on the black market. So this could not be true, necessarily. But it's all of a sudden, all of a sudden, this whole cybersecurity and cyber safety stuff really comes into play, when you start thinking about a real estate transaction that got hacked. Now the basis for this story is is what the wiring of money. And what happened or supposedly happened is that the somebody hacked an attorney's email and was getting ready to email wiring instructions over to a, uh, somebody that was either selling or buying I can't recall. But But anyway, the attorney emails, wiring instructions, somebody intercepts the wiring instructions, changes them, and then sends them on where they were gonna go, Well, then, all of a sudden, so and so over here, wires, money to the fraudulent account or the attorney then wire anyway. But what I'm getting at is, is that the basis for that is is is is comes back to cybersecurity cyber safety and the thought that somebody could could intercept or take, whatever however many millions there is in between somewhere is just it crazy. So I'm going to turn this over to you, I wanted to just throw that out there to give us a basis to kind of compare this and contrast it to and from real estate and real estate investing. So Sandra, this The stage is yours.

Unknown Speaker  2:57  
Thank you, Casey and you know, sometimes that scenario that you just play, and yes, we want to think I cannot happen to us. It was surreal. It happens single day, it happens every single time. And whether it's real estate or whether it is any any kind of money transactions is of course, a place where it's going to be attracting I call it cyber monsters, because you know, it's a business and I think that's what that's the part about cybersecurity, that sometimes we don't see it. It's a profitable illegal business. And very

Casey Brown  3:40  
illegal, I don't pay taxes I do I'm sure so

Unknown Speaker  3:43  
well, it's illegal in so many different levels. Plus, they don't fight. I agree with you. But they monetize on, you know, based on stealing, like, you know, the, the prote that it's you and you and your investments, of course, are the price that they will gain at when when you click on the on the link or when you open the file that they are hoping and that scenario that you share about the attorney I mean, that is a very common I you know, when you are selling or buying a property, there is information out there, like everyone knows you're selling and sometimes those transactions if, you know they either they they they the buying or the selling don't have all the all the systems and all the things in place. Somebody can insert them in the middle. And that's when you know things like this happen and we've seen it over and over.

Casey Brown  4:52  
So have you actually heard Have you actually heard of that scenario I just laid out there. I mean, you've actually heard of it happening? Oh, absolutely.

Unknown Speaker  5:01  
I know, that's not just like, that's not just like a fable. New, it's not a fake

Unknown Speaker  5:07  
movie. Let me tell you, Casey. So I'm just gonna share with you and your audience a little bit. Why this is so real. And you know, for me, cybersecurity was in my, my, my area or my, my career, I was in technology, but not in cybersecurity. And back in 2006, I was returning from visiting my mom, in Colombia, and I'm landing in Miami, when the captain announces that Homeland Security, we're boarding the plane. So, um, I had this gentleman's my, my passport, and at the time, I had a work visa, and OKC. I'm the only passenger March of the plane supported by Homeland Security. So at that moment, I don't know what's happening, nothing. And like you described, like that super real situation, you know, I get into the room and no answers nothing. I, you know, being newly relocated, I was so afraid to be deported. And I didn't know what was happening. And he's waiting for me. I have no information, nothing. Yeah. 10 hours later and handed my passport and it's been revoked. Why? Wow. So I still don't know what's happening. And at, you know, we have to rush back to Venezuela, where my husband and I are from, and I have attorneys, and I'm working with my employer, my former employer, and I'm trying to get, you know, and you reset, so I can come back to the country.

Casey Brown  6:51  
So So did they just turn you around and put you on an airplane and sent you back where you came from?

Unknown Speaker  6:57  
I actually was able to come home. I was leaving Milwaukee at the time, and just get my husband. And you know, we had to leave shortly after that, that I was not going into a plane. But But yeah, so I was able to come home and then leave to Venezuela or return to Venezuela. So I go to the US embassy, and I get to the place where you know, they are questioning you. So I'm trying to get a new visa. And this is the thing, they see that sometimes we I can cannot happen. It's like a movie like you are in a movie. You're traveling. Yeah. happening. And what I noticed is this person is asking me questions about China. And he's like, why were you in China? Who do you know, in China? Who's you?

Casey Brown  7:48  

Unknown Speaker  7:49  
your stuff stolen?

Unknown Speaker  7:52  
Yep. So what happened? And he reveals to me, is a cyber monster in China, or a smuggler in China? was using my identity to smuggle women into the US? Oh, yes, here I am. So like, in your example, you wake up one day, and your identity is being used for that. And I have to go through six years of proving that I am the real knee. And in that situation, it almost broke my marriage, my career and my mental health. Now,

Casey Brown  8:28  

Unknown Speaker  8:30  
so back to your real state, you know, scenario, you can wake up one day, whether you are doing a transaction, your belt, you know, selling, buying, and all the sudden, you know, you end up like, in my case in a nightmare situation. So,

Casey Brown  8:47  
yeah. And his spend, you spent six years trying to get that, trying to get that figured out and trying to prove who you were.

Unknown Speaker  8:55  
Yeah, because every single time that I travel, they didn't know that I was really mean, like, there were more people trying to be me. So every single time I have to go back to the room, and I could spend, you know, one hour or 10 depending on where I was, until they figured out until I figure so I had a stack of papers I you know, travel with and it was always that thing that you're guilty. I have to Yeah, prove otherwise. But it taught me a big lesson. And I wasn't in cybersecurity. So I wasn't really I didn't have answers I did not have you know, I thought I just have to endure this and go through it. Yeah, yeah, my head down and go for and so

Casey Brown  9:52  
you said so go back real quick. You said there was more people trying to be you. So there was so they it's basically stole in your head. Did it and sold it and just to the highest bidder for whoever wanted to use it right then.

Unknown Speaker  10:04  
Yeah, yeah, so Exactly. Dang. So

Unknown Speaker  10:12  
it was but you know, every I believe everything happens for a reason and at that situation taught me so much. I almost you know, lose every loss everything in my life at the time. But I gained so much more strength and confidence. And a year after all of that results, six years later, I became I enter the world of cybersecurity, and I became someone that now stars in this field. And it's like somebody turned the lights on my brain, Casey. Yeah, yeah. Finally, do you understand and he's exactly, you know, with your investments, like, there are things that every single day, once you start noticing, you will be so surprised how many people are probably already trying to trick you already trying to make you click or make you do this or because just sometimes we just don't see it or don't notice it because we're busy.

Casey Brown  11:24  
You don't see those people laying out in the weeds that are trying to that, you know, that's the thing is is that people forget that you everybody wants to get on social media and brag about this and brag about that, and show off this and show off that. And it's just, it's a calling card basically to say, hey, here I am, I've got a pocket full of cash right now come get me, or I'm getting ready to complete this massive transaction, or I made this big sale, or I did this or I did that. And again, those of us that are actually doing that stuff. We don't necessarily have any reason to put it out there. But But the bottom line is, is that if you're going to publish and post about that stuff, you've got to be ready or at least secure from the circumstances of somebody trying to hijack that.

Unknown Speaker  12:13  
Absolutely Dears, so spot on, you know, a perfect example.

Casey Brown  12:20  
We're all guilty of being complacent at times.

Unknown Speaker  12:23  
Yeah, me too. I mean, absolutely. We all been there. And you know, there's this example, you know, do you go on vacation? And what are you saying, I'm not home?

Casey Brown  12:34  
I'm not Oh, go get my stuff. Nobody's home, my wife that crap all the time. Tony, don't put that out there.

Unknown Speaker  12:44  
I mean, what I say is, you know, share your your experiences and share it. Once you're back home, say, Oh, my God, I had them what's amazing vacation, like, ya know, that you don't post anything, or you don't say anything, but just be mindful about, you know, how that information can be used. And just just just pay attention to that. So I love that you are very aware of that, Casey?

Casey Brown  13:12  
Well, I guess I try to be, that doesn't necessarily mean that I, I, I practice what I preach as far as that's concerned. It's just It's things that I've seen and picked up throughout my journey that that have, you know, and I've seen other folks, I don't know that I've ever actually met somebody that was in the quite the situation you were in, because, and I think part of that could have I just done and the thing is, is that you sit here and you think, okay, you're in that situation, but there really wasn't a heck of a lot you could have done to avoid it either. I mean, you know, you were basically just traveling to see family and, and coming back and so on so forth. But just just for some context. Are you comfortable with with chatting with us about what brought you all over here from Venezuela? I, I guess Venezuela, I've been to Aruba, which is right across the bay from Venezuela and, and which there was a considerable amount of actual Venezuelans there. Now this we're a little bit off the topic of real estate, but again, context and just just seeing how some of this stuff works. What so what I guess what I'm getting at is there was there were several Venezuelans that were actively living on the island of Aruba, and, and they were just to shuttered in, in fear of, of, you know, we just talked to him and it was just, it was just, they just had no desire to go back over there. And, and I'm thinking, you know, it's like, it's like 12 miles that way, or however far it is. But it's so what what brought you and your husband here from Venezuela to begin with?

Unknown Speaker  14:47  
Yeah. So, you know, I feel very blessed Casey that I left Venezuela in 2005. Things were bad, but they were not extremely bad. And I wasn't relocated my, by my job. So it was working for an American company for six years. And there was an opportunity for me to come to the US and be relocated. So

Casey Brown  15:14  
did they only let you come originally for six months at a time?

Unknown Speaker  15:19  
I, you know, working working in a in an American company you visit, you know, once in a while, so that my family and my husband and I, we all came at the same time. Sure. So we move in 2005. And my identity was stolen in 2006. Oh, right there. That was because, yeah, and, you know, I had a working visa er, which is very desirable. Yeah. And that was one of the reasons, you know, do you have a passport you have a, you know, driver license? Do you have a document that somebody else can use? Yeah, yeah. And take advantage of it. Now, you know, back to why, you know, why we left Venezuela, which is, you know, I think I want to answer your question. Obviously, the the economy and the in the country were not in the in alignment with what we were looking for, to, for our family. And I personally was kidnapped many, many years ago. So for me, yeah. So I have quite stories. So for me leaving Venezuela was a sign of relief, coming to the United States a blessing, because I didn't have to look over my shoulder anymore.

Casey Brown  16:40  
Wow. This is like a news channel or something. On your lockup abroad or something like that, but yeah, wow. Oh, my gosh, goodness.

Unknown Speaker  16:53  
Yeah. And you take, you know, dude, sometimes I feel like now I have almost 17 years living in America, I'm a US citizen. And I'm, like, the feeling of gratitude that I have for being an American for being here, or, like going outside and be able to walk, feeling safe and feeling, you know, nobody's going to kidnap me. And there are places of course, you're not going to be walking in the middle of street, in the middle of the night by yourself, if you are in a major, major city. Sure, the sense of safety and security that you get in this country is incredible. And I'm so grateful for that. Because when you don't have it, and you experience it, it's just I don't know how to how to

Casey Brown  17:50  
Yeah, yeah. Incredible. Yeah, it's, it's, it's worth more than money to a lot of people. Just briefly, I have a gentleman that worked for me for several years. He, he came over here from Mexico when he was, I think 16 or 17. I think he came over as a migrant worker, or something of there abouts. But anyway, about four or five years ago, I had the opportunity to, to, to be his sponsor, to become a citizen of our great country. And, and so I he and I were really, really, really close friends and, and when somebody works for you, and you go to, to sponsor them, there's a, there's a certain, there's several tests that you really have to go through to, to ensure that you're not like bringing somebody over here and forcing them to work for their citizenship or whatever, you know, so, but obviously, that that was the case, even now, we're just really good friends, and I want it to do to give back to Him, and to fulfilling the fulfillment of that I can only assume was was similarly close to as elated as I was to finally see him start moving in that right direction and to become a citizen of our country. And, you know, I can only imagine what it actually felt like for him and for you and for many others who who come over here in in, in, you know, in a way to capitalize off of off of what we have to offer. So again, folks, listeners, we're trailing a little bit far away from from what we typically discussed when it comes to real estate, but again, life stories and things like that they're what make us all who we are. And of course this is this is a little bit probably longer backstory to to wait to protect, then then then what we usually go through but I want to so so so so you get your identity stolen, and this is in 2006 So 2012 You said six years took you to, to, to kind of break free of all of that mess and what what Where did you go from there? What what, what what took place right after that.

Unknown Speaker  20:11  
So right after that I became a US citizen. And then that's when the opportunity came up for entering the cybersecurity world now as, as an expert in that area, as someone that will work in that area, it was, like shocking to me to know how often identity theft happens in the US. Every two seconds, we have a new victim,

Casey Brown  20:38  
wow, God,

Unknown Speaker  20:41  
like understanding really everything that happened in my situation, and all obviously more beyond identity theft, all the cyber crime and all the things that happen, Casey. So as I'm learning all of this, I come home, and I'm trying, I'm freaking out pretty much go home, and I'm telling my husband, like, we're gonna get hack, do you have to change all your passwords, you have to do this good. You know, I'm, I'm just telling him all the technical words that I'm learning and the terminology and this. Sure. And my husband was like, what's happening to you? Like, he's not paying attention. He's like, I don't know, what are you drinking? Yep. So because I was, I was using so many complicated word, and making it not really relatable, I was in panic, I was like, and I spent about six years, six, seven years in corporate building programs and learning more. And as the more I learn, they, the more fascinated I was, especially with the education part of cybersecurity, and I, I started in 2018, I made a choice to leave my corporate career and have my company wide to protect, because I have this vision that we need to make cyber security and cyber safety simple and make it relatable. So, you know, I have been in this journey finding my story is like, you know, what I told you about being kidnapped, I never connected the safety, the physical safety when you're, you know, your kidnap that affects you when you identity stolen is about your safety when you you know, even if someone steals your credit cards, someone you know, steals your wallet or you lose your wallet, like all of those things, our sense of safety.

Casey Brown  22:51  
Yep. Email. So email password.

Unknown Speaker  22:55  
Yeah. You apply for someone breaks into your account and REITs with Yeah, doing? Yep. So that's, that was my journey. And I started to really go in, you know, really go deep into how can I combine all of my experiences all of my stories, and make this relatable, make it easy. And I gotta tell you this funny thing that happened, especially writing my books, and the more content I was creating, my husband had to read everything. Yep. Can you see he's my biggest fan?

Casey Brown  23:33  
Well, that's good.

Unknown Speaker  23:36  
I mean, he's so aware now about security. Like he goes, he's not in technology, he but he works in manufacturing, and he's always sharing with his co workers. And we like, all the news and all the things that he's learning. And now I watch him as I watch my customers and my clients and friends that they change the perception of cyber, which is my, that the mission that I have, like, you know, don't don't wait for that to happen to you, whether it's identity theft, cyber crime, or losing your house because or the money that you will be investing and never probably getting back and your property or your house. So just don't wait for that moment.

Casey Brown  24:28  
Just because it's too

Unknown Speaker  24:31  
late, I mean, then you go into remediation, and it's fun to be recovering. You know, in that restoration, whether it's your identity your investment or your family. Home.

Casey Brown  24:46  
Sure. So tell us a little bit about what what you do it way to protect how does how does that how does that fit in with like you said, you know, you're you're you're talking to your husband and you were using these Great Big words that he was like, what I don't what? And then and so how do you tell us what you do? Exactly, and maybe in some relatable terms for the listeners?

Unknown Speaker  25:12  
Absolutely. So what I do is think about changing how you relate to technology, like instead of feeling that technology is overwhelming, hard and boring, if you find a way to really make technology and make cybersecurity part of your daily routines. So if you have a team in your company, if you have, you know, in your house, you can, you can incorporate practices. And rather than see these practices as boring or tedious, you you find ways to make them relatable. And one way is stories, Casey. So, every time I share my story, I get so many people that come to me and say, Oh my God, this happened to my neighbor. This happened to my grandma, my grandma was scammed this way. Or my, my sister opened this email and boom, lost $10,000. Like, it's, we don't talk about the things that happen, because sometimes we have in our minds, people will think we are not smart, or we're not careful. And we have that misconception. And like you said before, stories, so powerful is how we relate to others, whether it's in investment or in cyber or in finances. You connect, and when you make that personal connection, you start seeing things different. And that's what happened for, you know, the people that that are seeing the possibility of this happening and they don't want to happen. They incorporate practices that are simple, and easy to do. Like, I can give you one right now. It's not okay, good. Yeah. Absolutely. Like when do you get an email? Like something that has in an email, whether it's an attachment or it has a link for you to click? Yeah, if when you get that email instead of right away going into clicking or opening doing you pause, just make just pause for a second and three times brief, you know, 123 and then you look at that email again, I can assure you if that email is a scam for that with that pause and with that breathing that you know it you'll notice that you'll be like why am I getting this? I did I did not order any anything FedEx or I did not you know I? I don't know this person or why is my friend. You see my name when he always called me Hey, but not sure I do not do nefarious things that if you are in a hurry, sometimes you'll miss but if you just brief and do that. Yep, super simple.

Casey Brown  28:25  
I get I get on my wife all the time she gets something and she'll want somebody hacked my Amazon need to reset my password. Well, she's resetting your password on a phony whatever. And then now that got her password, it's just unbelievable. Sometimes I shake my head but she'll she'll love the fact that I'm talking about her on our shows. But so So you basically have have have built a company around showing people and helping people through how to figure out some of this stuff and how to make sure that hey, just stop and pay attention to what's around you because you never know when one of these guys or or ladies or whoever it is or in the weeds watching what you're doing.

Unknown Speaker  29:12  
Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah, and that so I have a book series is happily ever cyber. So that that is a book about learning this the basics of cyber, sure, but also learning the stories and I don't not only share my story, but other people's stories, how they like how what happened to them, and there is actually one that relates to investment and someone that lost a lot. So, every story, whether it's identity cybercrime or something that happened on a personal level,

Casey Brown  29:53  
yeah, it's sharing now last time I wired money to an attorney to set up to set up our investment fund If I can't recall if I had to call them when I was at the bank and had them read that number to me, or if they gave it all to me, except for the last two or three numbers, and then I called and they verified that I had the whole thing anyway, it was exactly you're exactly right. I mean, that's, that's just kind of wide open. And people, you know, they see opportunity there. And you know, you don't have to do you don't have to hit but two of those a year and you're set if they're, you know, in some of the deals will do in the millions or half millions, or millions, or whatever. And, and so it's it's one of those deals where you just bang, if you're not careful, you can get burned so quick, and there's no insurance either. I mean, I don't think there's any insurance and against that kind of stuff, especially wire fraud, or whatever. But so. So Sandra, I want to thank you for being on the show today. I mean, we you've covered, we've covered an array of everything. And usually we get to the, to the real estate investing part. But this is I think, one of those deals where you really just this is kind of pre investing in stuff you need to make sure that you're being aware of and what I want to do, though, is real quick before we get off here, because we're kind of running out of time. How can the listeners reach out to you know, if they're, if they really want to kind of take their cybersecurity and cyber safety and, and or possibly get a copy of your book or whatnot? How can the listeners reach out to you?

Unknown Speaker  31:27  
You know, they can definitely go to my website, Sandra iStock, that comm where they'll have all the information, they have resources that I included in there, all the books, I have a series also for children, because I think children are really the key to cybers Sure. cybercrime, and if we start early, that can change. And you know, it's a journey. And you know, if you're listening right now, and you think that it cannot happen to you. Yeah, you're wrong. It can happen to anyone, no matter what.

Casey Brown  32:08  
That's, that's s And, of course, we'll put a copy of that in the show notes as well. So, well, Sandra, I can't thank you enough. I know that again, this is a little bit kind of out of our wheelhouse of what we generally talk about, but I felt once we once we got to looking at your stuff and reviewing your material, I thought you know, this is something that if one person just kind of picks up a couple of nuggets out of that and says hey, I want to start being a little more mindful or I'm gonna be a little more careful next time I'm doing this that or the other as far as their money goes. You know, that's that's why I thought it would be a value to the listeners. So Sandra, thank you so much for your time and we hope everybody has a wonderful rest of the day and thank you for listening to the cashflow pro podcast again, Sandra, thank you.

Unknown Speaker  32:56  
Thank you so much, JC Yes, ma'am.

Transcribed by