Over the last few years, we have seen a dramatic rise in fraudulent email requests to take funds out of our client’s accounts.
This type of fraud used to be easy to pick out. However, the thieves have grown more sophisticated over the last few years. We have taken several steps to protect our clients:
1. We always call clients when we receive an email request for funds. A few months back, our firm received an email request from a client requesting over $28,000 to be sent to her sister. Once we called the client, we learned she has no sister!
2. We do not send out funds to third parties. We wire funds directly into our client’s checking account.
3. In addition, we have photos of all of our clients on file. This way, if someone shows up saying they are our client and the staff person has never met the client, they have an easy way to prove identity. One client had someone who impersonated them at a bank branch take out a large withdrawal. You never can be too careful.
4. We purchased Cybercrime Insurance to protect clients from hacking into our computers and to protect against fraudulent theft of assets as well.
It is critically important to be careful with passwords. It is a wise thing to update and your email passwords periodically and to make sure that all of your passwords are robust. It's also important to make sure that your computer has a firewall and you use virus scan software and you are up to date on all of the patches from your operating system as well.
Even with those precautions, you can still fall victim to identity theft. Be careful to not open suspicious emails from someone who would not normally email you. Also, do not click on links in emails unless you are sure of the source.