Last year, colleagues of ours were victims of cyber-fraud. More recently, we have been made aware of clients receiving fraudulent calls purporting to be from police or other authorities, asking them to transfer funds from their account to other financial institutions for security reasons.
I am writing this article so everyone we work with is aware of the risk of email and phone fraud, and how we protect you.
Firstly, the cyber-fraud scenario as described by our colleagues:
“It began with an email supposedly from a client, to the office requesting a transfer of $50,000 to a third-party bank account.
Thankfully the team is trained to spot irregularities so we foiled the hackers and stopped them in their tracks, but it is worth sharing how they managed to infiltrate Maggie’s email.
At some point in the past, Maggie had inadvertently opened a spam email and clicked on the spammers desired link, which enabled them to access her email account, search through her records and piece together her financial information to such an extent that these email hackers were able to send the Financial Adviser a bogus letter from a similar, but subtly different email address, requesting a cash transfer.”
In this highly connected world, here are some tips to stay ahead of hackers.
- Use a difficult password. – Using a simple password just makes life for the hackers too easy. Ideally use numbers, letters, capitals and symbols. For example “&james98sT!” is a much better password than say, “james98”.
- Be vigilant for spam. – Be wary of any unusual email and certainly delete any email asking you to enter your password. Legitimate organisations will never ask you to enter your password via an email so always be suspicious if someone is soliciting personal information in an email.
- Be careful what you write. – Never write passwords, credit card numbers or ccv codes in the body of an email. Any on line payments should always be made via a secure payment gateway like Pay Pal or a Bank.
- Read your emails carefully. – Careful reading of an email can often uncover poorly constructed sentences, spelling errors and other hints that will tip you off that an email is suspicious. Take your time to read emails, especially if they are not from a trusted source.
HOW WARR HUNT PROTECTS YOU
Since first hearing about email fraud, WARR HUNT has implemented new procedures and policies to minimise the possibility of you being caught up in this kind of activity.
An example is, any written request for a withdrawal to an account other than a pre-nominated personal account, by email or in writing, will be verified with a telephone call. This way we can confirm with you that the transfer is legitimate and that money is going to the correct account.
In this day and age we must be careful to protect our identity, our passwords and any other information that may be used against us. If you would like to understand more about our new policies, please contact our office on 99350970.
Natasha Bodek, Operations Manager | WARR HUNT