Recently there has been more news and reports of phishing and spoofing of emails with trusted third parties like advisers. If fact, we have even seen some of these first hand.
Because there are malicious individuals out there always after money by any means possible, it is extremely important to keep important and sensitive information in as few places as you can. To combat these bad actors, we use secure portals and phone conversations when sending sensitive information back and forth. Another thing to think about is updating passwords regularly with difficult codes to crack, as well as setting up dual factor authentication. This may seem like an annoying extra step, but when it comes to the security of your information it may be one that is well worth it.
These fraudsters are getting better and better too. Many of them now, after gaining access to your email, take the time and effort to read through your messages to understand how you communicate so they can better impersonate you.
One of the best security measures that can be taken is just having a personal relationship with your adviser. This relationship can potentially assist in raising red flags when something does not look right. Sure, the call centers at large financial firms have protocols, but really anybody with the right informations (DOB, SSN, Account Number) can gain access and do great harm.
As your advisor, we take precautions and never send money to your account, or pull it from your account without a verbal confirmation on the phone. It’s worth it to take a quick second to better understand what is going on and hear your voice on a phone line we know is yours. This is an extra step for sure, but we feel it is an added layer of security that is necessary.
Quick action step: If you have not changed the password on your email account in awhile, do it now. Also, be most careful with your account numbers here and at your bank. Do not transmit your account numbers via email.