Updated: Dec 7, 2020
Dear Clients & Friends,
The technology team at Commonwealth Financial Network, our RIA-broker/dealer, has detected an increase in cyber-hacking attempts over the holiday season. Please be especially vigilant in regards to suspicious emails, texts, and websites.
With the increase in online shopping, scammers will use many techniques including phishing emails and/or text messages, to fool potential victims and obtain sensitive personal information. Please remember to be especially wary of emails or text messages that indicate a problem or question in regards to your financial account information, as these scams may include hyperlinks that direct you to fraudulent websites in an effort to obtain your identification or personal account data.
Consider this example of identity theft. You receive an email explaining that your bank has suspended your account due to potentially fraudulent activity. The email provides a link to your bank’s website so you can log in and review your account activity. You click on the link, which sends you to a website that looks identical to your bank’s website. You enter your username and password into this fake website; now an imposter has your identifying information and can access your bank account online.
This is a very common email scam.
Here are some helpful tips you can use to avoid becoming a victim of cyber fraud:
Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) emails or texts.
Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited email or text message.
Do not fill out forms contained in email messages that ask for personal information, including account login credentials.
Do not trust that an email sent by your financial institution is legitimate (see below).
Instead of clicking on a link you’re not sure about, do one of the following: type in the website address manually, use a bookmark you previously saved, or search for the website on Google. Do not trust that a link in an email will direct you towards a legitimate website.
Call the business that supposedly sent the email to verify that the email is genuine. But don’t use the phone number included in the email, as that may be fraudulent, too. Instead, use only a known phone number, or refer to contact information printed on your statement.
If you are being pressured to act quickly or it seems like there is an emergency, it may be a scam. Fraudsters create a sense of urgency to get you to act impulsively.
If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Coincidentally, as this article was being edited, I received the following text message with a link to a fake duplicate of Citizens Bank’s mobile website:
Look carefully at the web address for this fake Citizens Bank website. The web address is “Xentec.co.in.” Citizens Bank’s real website address is “CitizensBank.com.” If a person typed their Citizen’s Bank login information into this fake website, the imposter who owns this fake website would then have the user’s online banking information and could potentially wire money to themselves. It is a very crafty technique used by criminals to steel banking information from unsuspecting people.
Cybercrime is the world’s largest industry today. Be safe. Use common sense. Assume any unfamiliar phone call, text, or email is fraudulent until verified. Remember to verify such communication properly.
We hope this information helps you to have safe shopping experiences this season. Have a lovely weekend.
Your risk-averse friends at MORWM.
Matthew Ramer, AIF®
Principal, Financial Advisor
MOR Wealth Management, LLC
1801 Market Street, Suite 2435
Philadelphia, PA 19103
P: 267.930-8301 | c: 215-694-4784 | f: 267.284.4847 |
601 21st Street, Suite 300
Vero Beach, FL 32960
firstname.lastname@example.org | www.morwm.com
The majority of this content was written and distributed MOR Wealth Management, all rights reserved. Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, Member FINRA/SIPC, a registered investment adviser. Fixed insurance products and services offered through CES Insurance Agency.