Cyber Threat Awareness
Published On: May 18, 2023
Written by: Ben Atwater and Matt Malick
Charles Schwab recently released a memo to all advisors, including our office, regarding a cyber scam they are aware of. We take cybersecurity very seriously and wanted to pass this information along.
We would like to preface this by stating that this cybersecurity threat is incredibly common, it presents itself through different methods and affects all companies, not just Charles Schwab.
The details of the scam that Charles Schwab is aware of works as follows:
1. Clients receive a pop-up message appearing to be from either Microsoft or Apple warning that their computers have been compromised.
2. The pop-up instructs clients to call a provided “tech support” number that of course connects them to a fraudster.
3. After speaking with the fraudsters, they will be contacted by someone claiming to work for Schwab as a “security officer,” who informs them that their Schwab account is “compromised.” To protect them, the Schwab employee impersonator tells the client they must transfer their funds into an account in “federal custody,” and their money will be returned in three business days once their account has been “encrypted” for safety.
4. Once the client follows these instructions, their money disappears.
To make this story believable, clients are receiving personalized paper letters in the mail that purport to be from the Federal Reserve, referencing the real names and titles of genuine Schwab personnel, tech company employees and FDIC analysts who are supposedly the individuals contacting them by phone. The letter encourages clients to verify each person’s identity through their LinkedIn profiles, making the scam even more convincing.
If you receive a pop-up message on your computer, do not select any links or call any phone numbers listed in the message. Please contact our office and we can refer you to a local IT professional to have your computer cleaned. We can also verify with Charles Schwab directly if there are any issues with your account and report any fraudulent activity to Charles Schwab.
We encourage you to stay vigilant and skeptical of all digital communications that you receive. Cyber threat awareness helps each of us to keep our assets and personal information safe. As always, please contact our office if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you for your continued trust in us.