Computer safety is a key focus for us this year. In 2014, we've seen an increase in attempted internet crimes with our office, and other offices of our broker dealer. And many of them look like they are coming from you--no kidding!
We have received several fake emails coming to our offices requesting that we close an account and/or send money to another account. The email looks legitimate. It looks like it comes from one of our clients (someone just like you!). One particularly tricky crook wrote, "Don't bother calling me, I have just had throat surgery and I cannot talk on the phone. Just send the money to this account in London."
Hackers can get into your PC, get your account number, imitate your writing style, and try to steal your money. Scary, isn't it!?
Fake emails are one of the many reasons we require you to talk to a person here in our office on the phone before we accept any sort of transfers out of the company. We are protecting your security to the best of our ability, and we keep a vigilant watch.
Preventing computer viruses and "malware" is another initiative. We have systems and tools in place to prevent issues, and we want to make sure you are also protecting yourself.
Here's what you can do: Always make every update to your Windows or Apple Operating System. Make a list of your software programs that routinely need updates, including your anti-virus software, your word processing, spreadsheets, your Adobe software. Then consistently make these updates.
On the other hand, be careful when you make that update! We've seen some of the more malicious virus/malware imitate one of your software programs. Then, when you click "update", the virus installs on your computer. So know what programs you have installed. Know what the "update" looks like when it is legitimate. Ask for help if you don't know.
We also ask you to take precautions when sending private information to us via e-mail. Be sure not to send your account number, social security number or other identifying information to us using a regular e-mail account. You can send a secure e-mail to us anytime using our Neo-certified e-mail system, fax or mail the information, or call with the information instead.
If you have any concerns about computer safety, your wealth manager at A&I is already following the most stringent security protocols. We are well-versed in how to abide by the safety rules. We can also likely help you find an IT expert just right for you. An ounce of prevention could save you a pound of cure. . .
Be careful out there!