Identity thieves can damage victims' online reputation. Are your clients protected?

U.S. Trust recently reported that high-net-worth consumers are increasingly concerned about their digital financial security.

This is not surprising, and they aren’t the only ones. A regulatory filing by JPMorgan Chase last week showed that hackers stole data on 76 million households and 7 million small business accounts at Chase in June.

According to a New York Times report, the breach wasn’t discovered until a month after it had occurred and will take many months to set right.

U.S. Trust reported that although 69% of wealthy respondents in a recent survey were concerned about their digital financial security, only 33% had made a change to protect their assets.

The survey encompassed 680 adults, of whom about a third each had investable assets of $3 million to $5 million, $5 million to $10 million and $10 million or more.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents were men and 43% women. Thirteen percent were millennials, 22% Gen Xers, 45% boomers and 20% aged 69 and older. The survey included 132 business owners and 107 senior executives.

The survey data showed that 76% of wealthy individuals believed their online reputation affected their private and public lives, and the importance of managing their reputation was apparent to both millennial respondents and boomers.

Forty-five percent of those surveyed said online reputation was most important to one’s career or business, 21% stressed its importance to personal and family relationships and 10% cited status in the community.

Women and younger respondents were more likely to say online reputation was important to personal relationships. Thirty-six percent of women vs. 21% of men said they had made changes to protect their online reputation.

Defense Is Best Offense

Women and boomers expressed the greatest concern about their financial security, but were least likely to have acted proactively to bolster it.

In contrast, the wealthiest respondents were most likely to have made changes to ensure the safety of their assets.

As to specific actions they had taken, 57% of respondents said they had sought to protect their identity, for example, by reviewing their credit report annually.

Forty-six percent had acted to protect anything stored electronically by regularly changing passwords, and 27% had acted to protect their online reputation by monitoring with online searches.

The findings showed that younger respondents tended to be more engaged in protecting their online reputation, while their older counterparts focused more on protecting digital assets and identity.

Check out Cyberattacks on Small, Midsize Advisors Go Undetected on ThinkAdvisor.