Protecting Your Personal Information Against Theft and Scams

February 15, 2023

Dear Clients:

Protecting your personal identification and financial information is important toward the prevention of theft and scams. Periodically, we put information on common scams on the News section of our website, and want to provide some reminders:

  • Avoid clicking on links from unknown senders on email and in messaging applications such as on your computer or cell phone. Common schemes include posts allegedly from Amazon, UPS, or FedEx saying the package is undeliverable and you need to confirm your credit card information in order to receive the package or that your account is locked and you must provide this information to unlock it. These companies would never ask for this type of information for that purpose.
  • Do not provide your personal information via the phone such as social security number, birthdate, mother’s maiden name, driver’s license number to callers stating they are from your bank, health benefits company, or other purpose.
  • Dispose of documents containing personally identifiable information via crosscut (confetti) shredder.
  • Do not send documents such as tax returns, driver licenses, insurance cards, etc. via unencrypted email.
  • Avoid social media posts that ask information such as your first grade teacher, your elementary school, your pet’s name, your father’s name and whether he is alive or deceased. These may all be attempts at “data mining” to gather information about you to guess your passwords. Do not provide your birthdate, anniversary, or other data in your social media profile.
  • Be wary of too-good-to-be-true lottery schemes where you are asked to deposit a certain amount of money in a bank account to receive a much larger payment or prize such as a vacation. You might receive an email or letter stating they are a member of royalty, as one example, when asked to make these payments. Do not send any money.
  • Be careful when using any types of dating sites. There are scammers who will state that they are doctors, missionaries, soldiers, or other positions of trust who are doing work in foreign countries but cannot get home unless you send them money, which they will supposedly pay back. Others might say they need money for a sick child, or for their plane fare, but they always have some excuse why they can never meet in person. Never send compromising pictures that scammers might use to blackmail you.
  • If selling something online, never give out your cell phone number as there are scams that take over your SIM card. There are also scams where they seek to give you a check larger than the amount you are seeking and send someone to your house to pick up the rest of the money. This is a money laundering scheme.
  • A common scam with seniors is for someone to call crying stating they are your grandchild. In your upset, you might say their name and the scammer says they have been arrested or are stuck somewhere with no money. They ask you to go and buy gift cards to transfer money. Don’t do this. It is fraudulent.
  • Scammers can be quite convincing. Some may resort to threats, yelling, or intimidation. Hang up. Do not respond.
  • Remember, we cannot take requests to move money or place trades in your account via email or voicemail. We must talk with you and confirm these instructions. Your email may have been hacked and we must verify at the number on file – not the number provided in the email. This is an antifraud measure. Other people may not trade or request money from your account without properly executed forms signed by you.
  • Please be sure to open and read your bank, credit card, investment, and other statements regularly. Review your statements for any signs of unknown transactions or disbursements.

Please reach out with any questions or concerns.