Recently you may have read about the cybertheft of online accounts. Some of this maybe due to a surge in online trading as a pent up, stressed, and bored public look for something to distract them from the pandemic. At least one deep-discount trading “App” has seemed vulnerable to sophisticated cyberthieves who have found a way to obtain a trader’s (notice I didn’t say “investor’s”) information only to then transfer balances away from the rightful owner. Although discount brokerage firm’s liability in a case where none of their security protocols were violated may be fuzzy, the theft of the individual’s securities is painfully real.
So how do you protect yourself? Here are a few tips:
- Use a Password Manager. Be honest. You have too many IDs and Passwords to keep track of. Instead of trying to track them on a piece of paper that you then hide under the keyboard or in the top drawer, pony up and invest in a password management App. As you evaluate, include RoboForm in your search.
- Use Dual Authentication. It is now common to find your most commonly used online platforms to offer dual authentication for access. Some platforms require it. Activate dual authentication for the financial platforms you use. If its not an option, time to move your account.
- Don’t Use Unsecured WIFI. Although you may be tempted to just log in and ‘check this one thing’ when at the local coffee shop or in the airport, don’t do it. We also encourage you to lock the doors to your home and not to leave your keys in the car. It’s that basic.
- Beware of Phishing. With increasing sophistication, we see cyberthieves trying to imitate email addresses of your legitimate professional contacts. Don’t let in that trojan horse by opening an illegitimate email.
Ask your financial advisor how their firm is protecting you. You are also welcome to contact us for our full list of helpful tips.
This material is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or tax advice and is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney, tax advisor or plan provider.
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Tom McCartney is the Founding Principal of My Advisor & Planner and a Registered Representative and Investment Advisory Representative with M Securities. Securities and Investment Advisory Services Offered Through M Holdings Securities, Inc., a Registered Broker/Dealer and Investment Adviser, Member FINRA/SIPC. My Advisor & Planner is independently owned and operated.