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Am I At Risk Of Having My Identity Stolen Or Being A Victim Of Fraud?

Updated: Mar 23

In the midst of the current global pandemic, there has been an increase in fraudulent and criminal activity. Now more than ever, clients may be targeted financially through a variety of schemes. This checklist helps guide the conversation regarding common threats and scams, ensuring that your clients are informed and actively protecting their identity and assets.

This checklist covers:

  • Ways to minimize cyber threats

  • Tips to identify common scams

  • Steps to take if a client suspects unlawful activity


Hi, Todd Pouliot, Gateway Financial. Feel free to visit us at Appreciate all of our subscribers. Means a lot to us that you click that button to subscribe. Today's video is something we really need to take seriously, and that's cybercrime. So, I hope you enjoy this video. Am I at risk of having my identity stolen or being a victim of fraud? just past this global pandemic that we've had, there's been an increase in fraudulent and criminal activity. And, now more than ever, clients may be targeted financially through a variety of schemes. This checklist helps guide the conversation regarding common threats and scams ensuring that our clients are informed and actively protecting their identity and their assets. So, we're going to cover three main areas today; ways to minimize cyber threats, tips to identify common scams, and steps to take if you suspect unlawful activity. And, as usual, here we go with the screen share. And, again, just follow along with me. It's a yes or no. But, do you use the same password to log into multiple sites? Consider making unique passwords for each website you log on to or use a password manager. Highly recommend using a lot of the quality password managers that are out there. And, I personally use one for my business and also for my home and personal use which are two separate accounts. So, those are really important to have to make sure you're using quality passwords and not reusing the same password. Do you need to review if you are using two-factor authentication to log into websites? Boy, I know it's a pain in the butt, but sometimes that can be very beneficial. And, common phrase words or personal information in your passwords. Make sure that they are harder to guess than common things. People share a lot of information on social media that's very personal to them and there are ways to decode personal things from social media sources to hack into accounts. Do you share your login credentials with other people? Boy, that's a no-no. Do you need to update your browser or anti-virus software or operating system? Don't forget to do that quite often. Make sure you have quality security anti-virus software and make sure you're using it regularly. Do you receive unsolicited emails asking you to click on links or download attachments? Make sure that you're not – any phishing scams or things that are out there do not click on those links that will navigate you to a page and redirect you to something that sounds or seems similar to a page that you may normally use. Are images and emails set to download to your computer automatically? If so, consider turning off this feature as cyber criminals can code-embed images to gain access to your computer. Do you share lots of your personal information on social media sites? Boy, I used to be a person that did that until I realized how important that was. Make sure your social media accounts are private where possible. Makes it more difficult for people. Place of birth and mother's maiden name are things that we constantly use for checks or questions on certain sites. So, make sure you reset passwords associated with those accounts that you share social media on as well. Have you received odd requests or leaks from friends or family? Quite a bit though, do I get this on social media where I'll get a connection request from somebody I already know and I'll reach out to them and say, “Boy, this is quite odd.”I'll reach out to them via a different method – via the phone or text or email and they have been hacked. So, be cognizant of over-accepting requests from people. They may have been hacked, so make sure that they know that as well as not to infect others. Do you download apps to your phone? Obviously, we are in an age of smartphones, but consider researching those apps for developers before you install them and give them permission to use your data. Cybercriminals can build legitimate-looking apps that can steal your data and monitor your phone actions so they can get access to other websites and other login credentials. Minor children. Make sure you're protecting your minor children. Privacy setting on their social media and talk with them about issues raised in this checklist. I love the fact that my daughter – her school – annually does a day on social media and just talks about these types of things that are out there and what they should look for and how they should protect themselves and that really meant a lot to me as a parent to know that our school was doing that. If you're a business owner, do you need to create a cyber security plan for your business? I know I have one. I've really appreciated the fact that somebody sat me down and said, “You need to have this and understand what the ramifications are.” Make sure there are policies and procedures in place and how to do that should there be an error in cyber security. Has your data been stolen because of third-party data breaches? Consider freezing your credit account by contacting all three major credit bureaus. Change your password on any sites that have the same credentials as the compromised site. Just because I’m doing this, does not mean that I have not been affected by this. Credit card gets hit by somebody you have to constantly be vigilant constantly reviewing your credit card statements and any other accesses to your accounts. Somebody signed up for a Spotify account on my credit card and I’ve never used it and quite frankly never will but you need to constantly be aware of what's going on. Thank goodness it was just a small amount and the credit card company reimbursed us for a charge that was irregular. So, here are some common scams that are available. Receive calls from someone claiming to be from the government agency offering relief payments due to COVID. This could be a scam, do not provide them with any information over the phone. Have you received calls asking for personal information? If so, call the business or organization back using a number that you know is accurate. So, go back to an old statement and look to see that that number was an accurate number and call them instead of having them call you. Have you recently met someone online and are they asking for money even though you have not met them in person? And, it could be also somebody that you personally know. There's been a lot of grandparent scams, you know, calling. If so, they may be trying to take advantage of you. This is known as a romance scam. Do not provide them with money. And, have you ever received phone calls from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration? This may be trying to convince you to provide you with a social security number and bank account information. This is a social security scam. Do not provide them with any information. Have you received calls or text messages from somebody from the IRS? This also may be a tax scam. We just completed our tax season and believe me we do find people fall prey to this – constantly – annually. We see this and we tell them, “The IRS will never call you.” And yet, they give out their information. Have you received a phone call from someone claiming to be from Medicare? They may be trying to convince you to provide them with your personal information including your Medicare number. Medicare scam, do not provide them with any information. Have you received a phone call claiming to be a grandchild asking for money? This may be a scam known as a grandparent scam contacting family members. Do not wire funds or otherwise transfer money without reliable confirmation that that is indeed your grandchild. Once that money is wired, it is gone. There is no way to retrieve that money back. Be cognizant and careful of that situation. Have you unexpectedly won a sweepstakes gift card or lottery? Boy, that's a nice call to get but sometimes it might not be true. It's a scam as a sweepstakes scam – say that five times fast and it may involve you paying a fee in order to receive the supposed winnings. Do not do that. Have you received an email with a username and or password that's in your subject line? Cybercriminals may have credentials from a single compromised website but claim to have access to all of your devices and accounts. This is known as spear phishing. So, phishing we are very familiar with it. This is spear phishing. So, they're trying to really target you. Again, that's why those password management software can be very important and very useful for you so you're not having the same password over and over again. I will tell you, I tried to help somebody with a password manager and their passwords and they had 49 websites with the same password. They were all fairly common websites too, so you want to make sure that you're changing your password around. For a further layer of security and privacy for your online activity, consider setting up a virtual private network or a VPN. There are some reliable providers out there. I have one personally and I love that we have that option. And, another added benefit is my daughter loves it because of the streaming videos that she wants to watch may be available in Ireland but that might not be available here, so we can use that VPN to kind of get around some of that. Do you need extra support in monitoring your cyber security? Consider identity theft protection services that can monitor your credit scores, new account openings, and suspicious activity. Some credit cards now actually offer this as a free service. For me, I log on monthly to my credit card just to review my statement, and then I can also look at my credit score and any changes in my credit that may be showing there. Do you need to review identity theft insurance policies? You may already have the coverage you need. So, maybe your property and casualty person already includes that or that company includes that as part of your policy. And, fraudulent expenses purchased on credit cards may be capped to you at $50 and sometimes even more. We had a client who had an airline ticket purchased for $850 that was taken care of on those fraudulent claims. But also, be mindful of not over-insuring yourself. So, make sure you're not paying a whole lot for extra insurance. And, have you been the victim of the above scams? How do we handle these? Immediately contact the affected financial institution to report the fraud. And, that will help stop any further exposure for you. And, if you lost money in a scam or are a victim of identity theft, file a police report and the federal trade commission. File them both. You will need that further down the line in recouping your identity and also to report the crime. And also, notify your credit bureaus and other relevant agencies that you may need. Boy, this is a good video just to talk about some things that – we live our lives, we go on, and we don't think about all the bad things that can happen to us and we hope they never do, but ultimately, these are big issues that can affect you and when you know somebody who has been the victim of identity theft, they will tell you how crippling it can be to their life, how much time is involved, and how long that takes. And also, the emotional and mental damage of somebody pretending to be you out there. So, make sure you're ahead of the problem, don't play catchup, and don't wait for the emergency to happen before you take care of these things. We're all online now, we've all got these smartphones, we're all connected to the internet and these issues do become very apparent. And, make sure you're working with somebody who takes these things very diligently and looks at having bank-level security on access to software like we do. And, look for companies that aren't sharing your information with others and selling it to third parties as we do. I think that's very important. So, again, just want to say thanks again for coming back. We love our subscribers. Those thumbs-ups are really appreciated. Thanks for sharing our videos and we appreciate you being out there. We'll keep bringing you more videos and thanks for the suggestion from our subscribers about having this checklist about this issue of cyber security and fraud and identity theft. We appreciate it and we'll keep bringing you more. Thanks, and have a great day.

#Cybercrime #Fraud #passwords #scams

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