We received a request over email from a client who wanted money wired to a bank for the purchase of furniture. We filled out the Schwab paperwork and email them to her (at the email her correct email address). She signed and returned the form but Schwab requires that we also call to verify bank wires. Schwab also let us know that the signature did not match the signature on file and they needed to speak with her. I called her and left a message and also emailed her saying that Schwab and we needed to speak with her.
Soon after a woman with a slight accent called saying she was our client and that we should go ahead with the wire. Our client called later and verified that she was unaware of this wire request. Someone had hacked into her email and was forwarding all emails from us and Schwab to another address.
Schwab’s identity theft team is currently working on this case.
We have had numerous other clients have their emails hacked. Needless to say it is important to take reasonable steps to protect your identity and online security against fraud. Here are a few tips:
- Use an unrelated answer for security questions. For example, ‘what is your mother’s maden name?’ cookies. If you use the correct answer to these question, it may be easy for people to find out the answer.
- Do not reuse passwords across multiple sites.
- Do not leave your smartphone unprotected by a password (as 2 of 3 users do).
- Many security experts now recommend a minimum of 15 characters for your passwords that contain letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Do not store passwords on your computer or smartphone. If malware infects your device, it may be able to access your passwords.
Password managers can help organize your password. You provide one master password to open the manager – some versions automatically log you in to websites. Products include: LastPass, SplashID Safe, 1Password
There have been many frauds with individual pretending to be from the IRS in order to obtain sensitive information. The IRS will not call you nor contact you by email. They only communicate with people through normal mail. So ignore the calls and emails from the “IRS.”
AIO Financial is a member of the US Social Investment Forum and specializes in Socially Responsible Investing. To set up a free meeting with AIO Financial (a fee only financial planning firm), please contact Bill Holliday, CFP – firstname.lastname@example.org or 520-325-0769.