One of the most common cyber threats to the financial sector is a targeted phishing e-mail. These emails contain an infected attached file or a link to an infected website. Malware can then be installed without the user’s knowledge and can include keylogging programs which harvest the user’s login information. The criminal can then open another account and initiate money transfers.
First, we want to assure you that you can have complete confidence your Schwab accounts are safe to any losses from Cybercrime. Schwab guarantees they will cover 100% of any losses in any of accounts due to unauthorized activity. But we want to make sure you are taking steps to protect those accounts.
One of the biggest no-no’s we’ve come across is password creation. The number one used password is “password”. And how many people use the same password for several of their online accounts? If a hacker ONLY gets into your email account, they just need to read your emails to figure out what bank and credit card accounts you have. Therefore, never use the same password for your email and your banking and investment accounts. We know what you’re thinking. It’s hard to remember passwords with letters, numbers and symbols; so we suggest getting a highly-rated password manager.
One option we recommend is LastPass. You can use it on your mobile, iPad, Mac and/or PC. One nice feature LastPass has is it will help you generate difficult passwords and you don’t have to memorize them. They do not store your passwords, nor do they store you master password. Your data is encrypted on your local machine.
Two more things to help keep you safe, change your passwords at least every three months, and always use 2-step verification when available.
Cybercriminals have been known to impersonate clients and advisors. Be aware of this if you receive emails that look like they come from us. There are red flags to look out for. Pay attention to email addresses and domains. Criminals will use one-letter-off addresses to make them look legitimate. If the email contains some type of urgent money transfer request or trade transaction, give us a call. If you receive emails that claim to have “inside” information promoting a stock, generally “penny stocks”, these are “pump and dump” frauds, so ignore them. If you question an email from us or Schwab, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call at (317) 872-5090.
If you suspect any type of fraud or a compromise in your personal information or accounts, let us know immediately. Keeping up to date on Cyber Security is very important to us.
- Written by Rana Kory, Worley Erhart-Graves Financial Advisors