Identity theft, tax scams and ransomeware are on the rise. Here’s how to protect yourself and your company

Written by Firethorn Wealth Partners

July 21, 2021

We recently learned of a client who had a bank account fraudulently opened in their name at a local bank. Fortunately, they were notified quickly, and the account was closed before any harm could be done. Our client was both shocked and frightened at the perpetrator’s ability to both obtain personal data and open a local bank account. This episode provided the motivation to take prudent steps to protect against this and other types of fraud (to the extent possible).

The articles in this month’s newsletter reveal the tactics that thieves are using and the steps you should take to reduce your risk and exposure to such tactics. It seems that on a weekly basis we learn of massive hacks of personal data from some of our most trusted institutions. So, one should assume that your Social Security number and other personal and financial information is already readily available to online thieves. At the same time, the convenience, and savings available through online shopping and financial transactions make us increasingly and ever reliant on the internet.

What to do? Here is a list of recommendations:

  1. Freeze your credit report
  2. Use a credit monitoring service
  3. Open and read your mail
  4. Use credit cards for transactions
  5. Monitor you credit card and bank activity at least weekly
  6. Enable two-factor authentication on your accounts

These are your primary defenses, but there are other precautions highlighted below. The article “How Identity Thieves Took My Wife for a Ride” shows that identity thieves can still use your data even with prudent precautions. The primary takeaway is that we all need to heighten our awareness of our financial accounts and transactions. We must patiently learn to live with the added complexities and costs of securing our
accounts.

Firethorn has a checklist to help you identify and guard against cyber threats, scams, and other cyber issues. We will be happy to forward to anyone requesting a copy. Be safe out there!