By Rosanne Rogé, CSA, RFG, CFP®
Remember the days when the only way someone could steal your identity was by taking your purse or wallet? Today identity theft is at an all time high thanks to things like online banking, shopping and computer hacking. In addition, sending important or personal communications via e-mail and text have become the norm, making details about your personal and professional life easily accessible. R.W. Rogé & Company, Inc. is dedicated to making sure our clients understand the importance of using the internet wisely, and protecting themselves and their assets.
1. Be sure your computer has a Firewall activated and working in the background.
2. Make sure you have Antivirus software (i.e. McAfee Antivirus) activated and running on your computer.
3. Remember that e-mail is like sending a post card through the mail; it is public information and anyone who knows how can read it. Never put personal information like account numbers, passwords, account balances, or Social Security numbers in an e-mail.
How a Fraud Attempt Works
Knowledge is power, and if you understand how the most recent fraud attempts are taking place, it’s easier to protect yourself from them. The following is a list of events that take place during a fraud attempt:
1. Your e-mail account is hacked.
2. The hacker finds out who your advisor is by looking through old e-mails and monitors the e-mail. This is why it’s important to turn off e-mail threading on your e-mail provider such as Outlook or Gmail. Threading keeps the e-mails with the same subject line together and this creates a history for a hacker to view all of your conversations about that subject, allowing them to become more familiar with the relationship and tone of voice.
3. The hacker pretends to be you and e-mails your advisor asking for an account balance.
4. They proactively offer an excuse for not being able to talk (i.e. at a funeral, in the hospital, etc.) and inquire about withdrawal procedures.
5. Finally, they submit an urgent wire request.
The unfortunate fact is that wire transfer fraud is happening at an increasing rate. In fact, 53% of financial exchanges experienced a threat in 2013 according to Commissioner Aguilar of the SEC.1
How We Protect Our Clients
1. R.W. Rogé has very sophisticated hardware and software installed (Firewalls, Antivirus, Attack Vulnerability and backup and restoration programs) on our servers and our computers.
2. When we receive an e-mail request for funds from a client, it is our policy to receive verbal verification with the client using the contact information on file. We may also ask some questions to verify any suspicious requests.
3. We urge our clients to install a free program called Malwarebytes (www.malwarebytes.org). This is an industry leading anti-malware and internet security software, designed to keep you safe from online threats. A permanent program can also be installed for about $50 per year, and the system works automatically.
4. Finally, if a hacking does occur, immediately contact any banks at which you have online accounts and change your User ID’s and passwords.
Maintaining your online security is extremely important. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at 631.218.0077 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to assist you.