Client who do everything right to guard against identity fraud can nevertheless fall victim to scammers if their financial advisors aren’t equally prepared, warns NBC’s ‘Today’ show financial editor Jean Chatzky in her Aug. 28 “This Week in Your Wallet” column.
With internet use at record highs, people are increasingly careful in creating strong passwords, avoiding corrupted links and monitoring their bank accounts regularly, Chatzky says. And yet, she notes that a disturbing article in USA Today reports that financial advisors can just as easily fall victim to clever identity fraudsters.
Cyber-robbers are using “ginned-up e-mail messages” in attempts to con advisors into wiring cash from their clients’ online investments to bogus accounts, according to the USA Today story. Chatzky urges both advisors and their clients to wise up and resist using e-mail as the final word on any transaction.
“Upon hacking into an email account and learning a person’s writing patterns, thieves are starting to reach out to their victim’s financial advisor and request a wire transfer of thousands of dollars—$35,000, in one case,” Chatzky writes. “The financial advisor, having corresponded with the client via email in the past, thinks nothing of it, and makes the transfer. It is only when the client calls and says, ‘Where did my $35,000 go?’ that the advisor realizes there is a problem.”