Anyone who has made a purchase using a credit card, subscribed to a magazine or even sent an email faces the threat of identity fraud.
In fact, if you or your clients have ever done any of these things, there is likely a hacker out there somewhere who knows who and where you are. Last year, the Federal Trade Commission received more than 490,000 complaints about identity fraud, more than double the figure from 2014.
Until recently, one of the primary ways identity thieves made money was by using stolen credit card numbers to make duplicate cards. According to Morgan Stanley, forty percent of individuals with more than $100,000 in investable assets have had card numbers stolen. However, the introduction of chip technology has made duplication less feasible. Now the focus has moved to opening fake accounts. Indeed, new account fraud is now responsible for 20% of total fraud losses.
Fortunately, there are steps that both you and your clients can take to protect yourselves from fraud. For one thing, clients with considerable assets might consider obtaining a separate computer for the sole purpose of accessing financial accounts. After all, bank account and password data is the most commonly sold information on criminal markets.
It’s also wise to register with one of the three major credit-reporting companies (Experien, Equifax or TransUnion) for fraud alert notifications. Identity protection services such as LifeLock, AllClear ID, CSIdentity, Identity Guard and TrustedID are also helpful in safeguarding against fraud. The monthly subscription fee is a small price to pay compared to the costs that can be incurred for victims of fraud.
With these types of services, clients should sign up for the basic notification option. Anyone can be hacked – even security companies – and there’s no reason to offer more personal information than necessary. With one of these services, when you (or someone else) open an account in your name, you’ll be contacted via multiple channels for verification. It’s also possible to put a freeze on new account openings through the major credit reporting agencies, although this will entail calling to lift the freeze in the event you do want to open a new account.
It’s never out of place to remind your clients (and take note yourself) that the government offers no protection from identity theft. Law enforcement becomes involved only after the damage is done. Take a proactive stance and encourage your clients to do the same.
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Protect Your Clients From Identity Fraud | Wealth Management