Investor Protection Checklist
Investor Protection Checklist
Keeping our clients’ information secure is of paramount importance for Adviser Investments. And while we have taken clear, actionable and evolving steps in our own security measures, cyberfraud is always progressing. These threats take various forms and no one is fully immune.
To reduce the likelihood of fraud, we encourage you to adopt a series of measures to protect your identity and mitigate potential security risks. This checklist lays out a number of commonsense steps you can take to help keep your information safe.
We also offer all of our clients access to Adviser Insights, a personal financial website where you can aggregate accounts and securely store important documents in our encrypted digital Vault, which can help check off a number of the actions suggested below.
Financial Account Management
Financial and personal information is increasingly transmitted online, so taking proper safety measures is more important than ever.
Whenever possible, consider whether the convenience of email outweighs the risk in storing personal and financial information in an email account.
With laptops, smartphones, tablets and watches increasingly interconnected, close attention to their security is a critical defense.
Hackers use a variety of techniques to figure out passwords, including powerful and freely available tools on the internet. Poorly chosen or predictable passwords can leave you at risk for intrusion.
Social Media Safekeeping
Cybercriminals will not only glean personal info from social media sites (Facebook, Twitter), but also those for business networking (LinkedIn) and genealogy (Ancestry.com).
Common Frauds to Avoid
While the frauds listed below all use different approaches, the goal is always the same: To get access to your personal information, financial accounts or extort a payment. When in doubt, independently verify any of the claims being made, and don’t be afraid to call a family member, friend or professional contact to help you do so.
The Pigeon Drop
The right to a large sum of money is promised in exchange for a “good faith” payment withdrawn from an individual’s bank account. Con artists will often employ an accomplice posing as a lawyer, banker or other seemingly trustworthy third party.
The Fake Accident
The con artist asks for a wire transfer or check to pay for a relative’s urgent medical care. This can be particularly convincing if the scammer has done his homework and researched the names of family members via social media. A similar scam involves calling to say a family member has been arrested and needs money for bail.
Where money is solicited for bogus charities. These are especially prevalent after natural disasters. You can use www.charitynavigator.org or www.charitywatch.org to check the validity of any charitable organization before making a donation.
In this scenario, someone claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) calls to inform you that there is a problem with your tax return or that you owe taxes, and will threaten legal consequences (arrest, lawsuit, revocation of a driver’s license or deportation are the most common) to convince you to make an immediate payment. (An alternate version of this scam will have them claiming you are owed a big refund to lure you into sharing personal information instead of seeking payment.) The IRS will never call you if they haven’t first mailed a bill, and they will never demand immediate payment without allowing you to question or appeal what you owe. They will also never ask for a credit card number over the phone or require a specific form of payment like a prepaid debit card.
If you get such a call, don’t agree to make the payment or share any personal information. Instead, note the number, hang up and then independently verify whatever it is they were claiming through www.IRS.gov/account. (Alternately, you can call the IRS at (800) 829-1040.)
A fraudster posing as a Microsoft or Apple employee calls to alert you that there’s a problem with your software. The bogus technician then asks you to log in to your computer and grant him or her access so that they can fix the problem. Then, the scammer locks access to your computer, “kidnapping” it and all of your data until you pay a ransom. Unless you’ve called them first, real employees of these companies will never call you to preemptively alert you to a problem, and you should not follow their instructions.
The activity or process wherein computers and information are protected and/or defended against damage or theft.
Hardware or software that limits network traffic to only authorized users or programs.
Software that compromises the operation of a computer system by performing an unauthorized function or process.
A digital form of social engineering to deceive computer users into providing sensitive information or passwords.
Software that threatens to publish or block access to a user’s data or computer unless a ransom is paid.
Software secretly installed onto a computer system without the user’s knowledge that can track keystrokes and/or other activity.
A computer program that can replicate itself, infect a computer without knowledge of the user and then spread to another computer.
For informational purposes only. Adviser Investments, LLC does not guarantee that the steps described herein will prevent all instances of identity theft or theft of personal information.
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