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Tip of the Month | May 2023

Protect Your Financial Accounts from Scammers

Written By: Nick Ziarek, CFA, CFP®

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Fraudsters and hackers are becoming more sophisticated in their attempts to steal your online identity and access your accounts. Schwab and other custodians have seen an uptick in a new scam involving a pop-up message alerting clients their computers have been compromised and instructing them to call a tech support.

If someone calls this tech support number, the fraudsters follow up with a call claiming to be someone working from Schwab as a security officer who alerts you your account has been compromised. They then provide instructions to transfer assets to a new account in “federal custody” until your account is properly “encrypted”.

Taking it a step further, clients are receiving paper letters in the mail purportedly from the Federal Reserve and reference real names of Schwab employees taken from LinkedIn.

There are some simple, common sense steps as a safeguard:

1) Do not click on links or call numbers based on a pop-up message.

2) Independently verify phone numbers for tech support by doing a quick Google search.

3) Never grant remote access to your computer to anyone you do not know.

Schwab has a handy Online Security Checklist with additional tips and steps to protect yourself.