Tahoe-Truckee Market Beat: Protect yourself against financial fraud
Technology today has made it easier than ever to manage your finances. With just about any major brokerage account, it is super simple to place financial transactions from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
You can buy or sell stocks, pay bills and transfer funds between your accounts rapidly with just the click of a mouse. It’s so fast and convenient.
One drawback has been the rise of identity theft and other related scams. People need to be aware of the types of scams that are out there and take steps to protect themselves.
Educating yourself about common scams and ways to prevent them is of critical importance. The topic is far too complex to cover in too much detail here, but there are many good resources available for further study.
A simple step is to make your passwords difficult, use a combination of capital letters, lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Change your passwords on a frequent basis.
Log into your bank, credit card and brokerage accounts frequently to monitor the recent activity. If you see anything suspicious, report it to the company immediately.
Beware of phishing scams. Phishing is when you receive emails that encourage you to click on a link and enter user names and passcodes or other personal information. If you receive an email that you think is suspicious, don’t click on any links; log into your accounts from their website to confirm.
Don’t log into your bank or brokerage accounts when you’re in a public Wi-Fi spot like a coffee shop and have a password set up for your home Wi-Fi. Use passwords for your computers and smartphones, too.
If you use social media, be sure your privacy settings are set to the highest level. Don’t make information like your exact birthdate readily available.
Use a shredder for your personal documents that contain sensitive information. Don’t throw bank statements or other papers away that have account numbers or social security numbers on them.
Monitor and screen your incoming phone calls, there are several scams going around now where callers will call you and say there are from the IRS or your bank and request either private information or ask you to send money. The IRS will notify you by mail. If someone calls from your bank, tell them you’ll call your bank yourself.
Educate yourself about the types of scams that are going on and learn about how to protect yourself against them.
Kenneth Roberts is a Truckee-based Registered Investment Advisor. Information is at his blog at http://www.sellacalloption.com or 775-657-8065. The mention of securities should not be considered an offer to sell or solicitation to buy investments mentioned. Consult your investment professional to understand the risks and/or how the purchase or sale of these investments may be implemented to meet your investment goals. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
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