Hardly a week goes by without news of another data breach or similar situation in which individuals’ personally identifiable information is exposed. Even some of the most well-known and respected brands, including Equifax, Target, Sony and FaceBook, have been targets of attacks. As criminals get more creative in the ways in which they commit these crimes, consumers and the investing public must remain vigilant and take appropriate precautions to protect their identities and keep their personal information hidden from prying eyes.
Most investment advisory firms make it easy for their clients to securely log into a portal to review and download account statements and end-of-year tax forms, including 1099s. Similarly, investors may share these documents, as well as pay stubs, social security numbers and other sensitive information, with their advisors and tax preparers via email or file-sharing platforms, such as Dropbox. The problem with these convenient methods for sharing data is that they can be prone to security flaws that may increase the likelihood that individuals will fall victim to scams.
Some of the most common forms of identity theft involve email, text and telephone phishing and malware attacks. In these scams, criminals often pose as a person or organization that victims know, such as a coworkers or vendor with a trusted email domain, in order to “reel in” victims to open a message. Criminals then attempt to “lure” the victims into clicking on a link or opening an attachment that tricks victims into disclosing personal information and/or contains malware that allows criminals to access victims’ files or track keystrokes to gain information.
Protecting investors from becoming victims of email scams requires that they think before they click and recognize the tell-tale signs of phishing attacks.
About the Author: Eric P. Zeitlin is managing director of Provenance Wealth Advisors, an Independent Registered Investment Advisor affiliated with Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants, and a registered representative with Raymond James Financial Services. For more information, call (954) 712-8888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Provenance Wealth Advisors, 515 E. Las Olas Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954) 712-8888.
Eric P. Zeitlin is a registered representative of and offers securities through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., Members FINRA/SIPC.
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