Fueled by the explosive growth of online information, identity theft is on the rise. In fact, law enforcement agencies are reporting that this type of criminal activity is becoming increasingly organized and sophisticated.
Much of this private information is readily available in the public domain. Other information may be simply stolen from an unsecured mailbox, or obtained through fraudulent means such as “phishing,” in which false account notices are emailed with links to phony versions of well-known websites (such as banks or shopping sites).
Still other thefts involve tricking computer users to unwittingly download viruses or spyware by pretending to offer free software that will improve their computer’s security. Once installed, these programs secretly transmit data (such as usernames and passwords) to the thieves, who are often overseas.
The ease and speed with which identify theft can be accomplished, the losses that result, and the complexity and time required to stop the activity, are costly and nerve-wracking. Actual losses are seldom recoverable; furthermore, they are greatly exacerbated by the huge ongoing stress and hassle.
At Truepoint, we take security very seriously and use a variety of measures to protect client personal information and accounts.
We restrict access to private records to Truepoint employees who need the information in order to provide advisory services. We employ extensive data protection controls to maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to protect personal information at all times. We maintain a secure office to ensure that non-public information is not placed at risk. Additionally, we will be implementing electronic delivery of our quarterly investment report in the next few months, thereby eliminating the possibility of mail fraud and the need to maintain or shred paper documents.
While Truepoint, as well as other institutions, can help ensure the security of non-public data, you play a vital role in preventing and reporting unauthorized account activity. Here are some important steps that you must take:
- Frequently check your account and actively monitor your transaction history including promptly reviewing correspondence, notices and account statements, or confirmations from us or your custodian.
- Use a cross-cut type, paper shredder to shred all personal documents before throwing them away, including the pre-approved junk mail you receive. Where available, register for electronic notification of statement delivery, thereby eliminating the physical mail.
- Take precautions to safeguard your account information, including your PIN and password. Select complex passwords including alpha and numeric combinations, lower and upper case letters.
- Secure your computer with routine maintenance, including the use of anti-virus software and personal firewalls.
- Never respond to “phishing.” Neither your custodian nor Truepoint will contact you via email requesting your social security number or birthdate. If you ever have a question about the authenticity of an inquiry, please contact us directly.
Protect yourself from identity theft by safely managing your personal information. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. If you’re not currently a client, but would like to schedule an appointment, please contact Lisa Reynolds at (513) 792-6648 or firstname.lastname@example.org.