Throughout this difficult year, the safety and security of your personal information and assets has remained our highest priority. As part of our commitment, it’s important to know that fraudsters are using these difficult times, and everyone’s focus on the election and holiday season, as an opportunity for increased schemes and criminal activity.
Beware of imposter websites and online shopping scams.
You can safeguard your accounts by verifying the authenticity of websites before providing your credit or debit card information. Your card and data can be compromised if you are not shopping securely online.
Stay vigilant. You can help prevent fraud with these simple steps:
- The regulation authorities are seeing an increase in advanced spear-phishing efforts. Imposter websites are created that look like the custodian website (such as TD Ameritrade). They are sending an email with the link to an imposter site, and then the imposter site requests a login. When the client does this, the imposter site captures their username and password. The hacker then goes to work and tries to deplete the accounts as quickly as possible. Please be sure to check the website URL before logging in to your view your accounts. This is the valid client website for TD Ameritrade: https://www.advisorclient.com.
- Hover over and review any links in an email to confirm they are from legitimate sources before clicking on them or dialing any phone number contained in an email or pop-up alert. Remember, IMPACTfolio and TD Ameritrade will never request any personal information via email or text message.
- One of the easiest and most effective safeguards is to turn on two-step verification (when available) for your online accounts. This requires a unique security code sent to you each time you log in.
- As always, ensure your computer systems, online browsers, and mobile devices are updated with the latest versions of data protection software. You might also consider adding Security Alerts to notify you of potentially suspicious activity in your accounts.
- Consider “freezing” your credit at all three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. “Freezing” your credit stops anyone from opening new credit in your name (including yourself). Here is an article that helps explain How to Freeze Credit. Note: It is simple to temporarily lift the credit freeze to access credit, such as a refinance, car loan application, etc.
- When answering calls, be cautious of disclosing any personal or sensitive information.
As always, if you suspect you’ve been the victim of any form of identity theft or fraud, you should immediately notify IMPACTfolio and any other financial institution that you conduct business with, contact any creditors (including the credit bureaus), and report the crime to local police.
If you have any questions, please let us know.
Scott Arnold, CFP®, has been in the financial services industry since 1998. He is a co-founder of IMPACTfolio, a wealth management firm that specializes in IMPACT investing and holistic financial planning for one flat-fee.