This week, our team received an email from a client in response to an in depth conversation regarding withdrawals from their account. The email requested that we transfer $50,000 to their accountant’s bank account for yearly record keeping.
Upon a review of the request, we confirmed there was no external account link to their accountant. We require a verbal confirmation from the client to establish standing instructions to a third party account. Additionally, Schwab requires signatures from all clients listed on the investment account, a signature from the third party, and a signed letter from the bank. While at times this process may seem cumbersome, it is your best protection against fraud.
When we called our client to discuss the paperwork needed to execute the transfer, he made us aware that his email account had been compromised. Thankfully, due to our systems, we were able to prevent a fraudulent transfer of funds.
In the event that your personal information becomes compromised, here are some steps you should take:
- Update your operating system and delete any malware. Make sure your operating system software is up-to-date. Only install security software from reputable companies. Then, run it to scan your computer for viruses and malware. Make sure to delete any suspicious software and restart your computer. Set your security software, internet browser, and operating system (like Windows or Mac OS) to update automatically.
- Periodically change passwords on your email or social networking account. Someone may have gotten your old password and changed it. If you use similar passwords for other accounts, be sure to change them too. Create strong passwords that will be hard to guess.
- Check the advice your email provider or social networking site has about restoring your account. If your account has been taken over, you may need to fill out forms to prove it’s really you trying to get back into your account.
- Tell your friends. A quick email letting your friends know they might have received a malicious link or suspicious email can keep them from sending money they won’t get back, or installing malware on their computers. Put your friends’ email addresses in the Bcc line to keep them confidential. You should also contact other professionals you work with such as your financial advisor, accountant and lawyer.