Penn Entrepreneur in the Spotlight — Liz Loewy

Chestnut Street Ventures sat down with General Counsel and SVP of Industry Relations at EverSafe

With the recent data breach at Equifax affecting potentially 143 million US consumers, it seemed fitting to highlight a Penn alum working at a great fraud protection company called EverSafe. They specialize in fraud and identity theft protection for seniors.

What did you study at Penn?

I majored in History, but — spent most of my time doing musical theater. I was in Penn Singers and Penn Players, and was in shows pretty much every semester. After graduating, I actually pursued theater in New York.

That seems like a far cry from starting a business. How did you end up founding a business?

It wasn’t a straight line! After law school, I was offered a spot in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. I loved being a prosecutor: helping victims, investigating cases, and courtroom action was very gratifying work. After overseeing the Domestic Violence Unit for a few years, I asked the District Attorney whether we could build an Elder Abuse Prosecution Unit, and he was open to it. I ran that 20 person unit for 18 years, and I saw that most of the cases involved some form of fraud.

Was there one moment that really resonated with you?

After trying a high-profile case involving the late NYC philanthropist Brooke Astor, our Helpline received a call from the DC area. It was Howard Tischler, a technology entrepreneur, whose 80 year-old mother was the victim of a telephone scam and other fraud. Although we couldn’t prosecute the case, Howard and I met several times to discuss the problem. He was interested in how financial institutions handle elder financial abuse and I informed him about the challenges they face in addressing this growing epidemic.

So, when did the idea to start EverSafe come along?

When Howard learned that Suspicious Activity Report forms are routinely generated and filed with regulators but not shared with customers, the idea for EverSafe was born. I left the DA’s office to help found the company, and went from prosecuting fraudsters to preventing the devastating loss I witnessed — through the use of a truly innovative technology tool.

CEO Howard Tischler explains the origins of EverSafe

For anyone that’s not familiar with your service, do you mind explaining what the company does?

Our fraud monitoring service is focused on the aging customer and their caregivers, and issues related to older members’ “financial capacity.” We monitor for erratic activity across financial accounts, credit cards, and credit report data in an aggregated way — a learning system that alerts for events like unauthorized account openings, missing deposits, changes in spending (over time and institutions), activity on the dark web, and much more.

What is your current role at EverSafe?

I’m general counsel and oversee industry relations. My role is multi-faceted — working through legal issues, helping with product development, nurturing relationships with banks and investment firms, and educating consumers and professionals about this enormous problem that we have. Right now, we work with a number of commercial banks, brokerages, and investment firms. Another big part of the jobs is to just teach people about how fintech can prevent this problem.

What would you say sets EverSafe apart from the rest?

We go beyond what banks, credit card and identity theft prevention companies look for. We’re also the only service that has the capacity to send alerts to members and their designated advocates.

Do you think that people are coming around to how important and prevalent this problem is?

I do feel that in 10 years, financial institutions and consumers will catch on and use tech to monitor their own — and their loved ones’ — finances. I often wonder whether this multi-billion dollar problem would have been solved already if it affected children and not vulnerable seniors. Tech will soon make that happen.

To learn more about Chestnut Street Ventures, or investing alongside Penn alumni, follow the link.