In Times of Crisis, Scammers Thrive
In this volatile economic environment, major developments are happening daily. While much of the activity is necessary to be as responsive to the public as possible with new information, it also opens the door a little wider for scammers who see opportunities to deceive.
As the government prepares to issue stimulus payments to a large portion of our populous, fraudsters are working just as quickly scheming of ways to take your money. Be wary of any phone call, text or email that requires action to receive your stimulus payment. The government knows how to get your money to you and will do so automatically.
Further Actions You Can Take
- Close pop-ups on your computer – If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Any pop-ups that claim to offer virus protection, free computer scans, or even cash prizes, should be closed immediately. Taking the bait and clicking will often expose you and your computer to even more scammer schemes. If you want these kinds of services, search for them independently and choose providers with established histories or verify their authenticity through other means.
- Avoid links in messages – Think twice before clicking. Phishing is a method used by scammers to steal your sensitive information, often through a link in an email or text message. These emails will appear to be from legitimate sources (Amazon, Facebook, etc), but they are a ploy. They may claim that there is a problem with your account and you need to click the link to “fix” it, but this is a deceptive tactic to capture your personal information. Upon clicking the link, they may ask for your user login, password, or even bank information. Make it a habit to never enter personal information via links.
- Develop strong unique passwords – Most people have an ever-expanding list of logins, each requiring a password. It can be exhausting to keep up with. While it is tempting to use a common password for all logins, this could expose you to fraud across multiple websites. Consider using a password manager such as LastPass to store passwords. This will allow you to have complex and unique passwords for all sites, but only need to remember one.
- Enable two-factor authentication – This additional login step, often a code texted to your phone, provides an additional layer of safety. This extra layer of security will decrease the likelihood of scammers accessing your accounts.
Actions Slaughter Associates is Taking
Protecting your wealth is our top priority. In addition to what you can do, here are a few precautions we take to safeguard your assets and personal information.
- Verifying transactions – If we receive an email from you requesting money or any other significant action, we will reach out to you personally to verify this transaction. This is done with your best interests in mind.
- Training our staff – We are continually educating our team on how to better protect sensitive information and identify potential fraud.
- Investing in technology – The custodians who service your accounts (TD Ameritrade & Schwab) continually enhance their security and technology. We collaborate with them to build significant protections into our network security, with the ultimate goal of safeguarding your personal information.
In times of distress, scammer activity increases. These proactive steps, along with keeping a watchful eye for suspicious activity, will help keep you and your family’s information protected.