We are aware of the increasing levels of sophistication being employed by criminal enterprises who seek to exploit the conveniences of modern technology. As a result, we strive to maintain a culture of risk avoidance in our firm and maintain strict procedures regarding our electronic communications and protection of client data. Additionally, we regularly remind our clients of actions they can take to protect themselves.
While you may frequently read of electronic fraud risks, you may not realize how deceptive these fraudulent endeavors have become. Many are well organized and funded and come from a myriad of seemingly reliable or familiar sources. For example, you are no longer likely to be contacted by an unknown international entity or individual: Now you may receive a fraudulent email from an entity purporting to be your bank, credit card provider, or investment account provider.
What to Look For
It is not difficult to reproduce high quality corporate logos to create fraudulent emails and web pages. Sometimes, the email domain or the web address reveals the attempted fraud, but criminals can create convincing domains and addresses. Simply opening attachments or visiting web pages may reveal sensitive information about you. The scammers don’t rely on you entering your personal information, they lift it from your computer once they have access.
How to Protect Yourself
When in doubt, don’t click. Be extremely cautious before opening attachments or clicking on links embedded within an email. Attachments and links are commonly used to gain access to your sensitive information. Instead of clicking on a potentially fraudulent link in an email, navigate to the link in question by using a different method. You are much less likely to land on a fraudulent web page if you use a bookmark from your last interaction with the company, or by using the results from most any search engine (Bing, Google, etc.). Search engines attempt to filter out fraudulent content and prioritize valid results.
Additionally, if you receive an email solicitation that entices you to take any action, beware. A good first rule of thumb: if you cannot physically locate the organization via web search, proceed cautiously or not at all.
Contact us with any questions you may have, particularly regarding correspondence from an investment account provider. We can verify the authenticity of communications.