Aug 28, 2020 Cybersecurity 101

More individuals each year are becoming the target of phishing scams. A phishing scam is where you get an email that appears to be from a company you recognize.  The email tries to get you to click on a link and directs you to a website that works to get you to share sensitive information or install malware on your computer.  They used to be easy to identify, but scammers and hackers have become more creative with their deceptive techniques.  Leonard Rickey Investment Advisors take cybersecurity issues seriously and employ multi-tiered practices to protect your data from phishing scams and other threats. 

It is more important than ever to review personal communications and look for tell-tale signs of fraud.  Below are some tips for early recognition of these threats: 

  • Be cautious about opening attachments or clicking on links in emails. Even your colleague or friends accounts could be hacked. Files and links can contain malware that can weaken your computers security. 
  • Make the call if youre not sure. Do not respond to any emails that request personal or financial information. Phishers use pressure tactics and prey on fear. If you think a company, friend, or family member needs personal information from you, pick up the phone and call them yourself using the number on their website or in your address book, not the one in the email.  
  • Turn on two-factor authentication. For accounts that support it, two-factor authentication requires both your password and an additional piece of information to log in to your account. The second piece could be a code sent to your phone or a random number generated by an app or a token. This may help to protect your account even if your password is compromised. You may want to choose more than one type of two-factor authentication (e.g., a PIN) in case your primary method (such as a phone) is unavailable.  
  • Do your typing. If a company or organization you know sends you a link or phone number, don’t click. Use your favorite search engine to look up the website or phone number yourself. Even though a link or phone number in an email may look legitimate, scammers can hide the correct destination.  
  • Back up your files to an external hard drive or cloud storage. Backup your data regularly to protect yourself against viruses that can destroy it or a ransomware attack that encrypts your information until you pay the hacker 
  • Keep your security up to date. Use security software you trust, and make sure you set it to update automatically. 
  • Report phishing emails and texts. 
  1. Forward phishing emails to spam@uce.gov and the organization impersonated. Your report is most effective when you include the full email header, but most email programs hide this information. If you need help finding your email header, search the name of your email service (Gmail, AOL, Charter) with full email header into your favorite search engine. 
  1. File a report with the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov/complaint. 
  1. Visit Identitytheft.gov. Victims of phishing could become victims of identity theft; there are steps you can take to minimize your risk. 
  1. You can also report phishing email to reportphishing@apwg.org. The Anti-Phishing Working Group – which includes ISPs, security vendors, financial institutions, and law enforcement agencies – uses these reports to fight phishing. 

If you think you may have been a victim of identity theft, here are a couple of options that may help prevent cyberhackers from wreaking havoc on your finances. 

Credit Freeze or Fraud Alert 

A credit freeze effectively locks down your credit report, which safeguards your personal information from being used by identity thieves. You can also institute a fraud alert if you think you have been a victim of fraud.  This will encourage lenders and creditors to take extra steps to verify that it is you requesting credit before giving it.  Keep in mind that these alerts can cause problems or delays when you attempt to gain access to loans or open new accounts. Here are the credit reporting agencies to place a freeze on your credit or add a fraud/active duty alert: 

Credit monitoring 

Credit monitoring watches activities on your credit report and notifies you when there is unusual activity. This unusual activity can be unusually high spending, sudden change of address, the opening of new credit card accounts.  Popular companies include LifeLock and EverSafe.  Many credit card companies include essential credit monitoring via a mobile app when you use their card. 

If you don’t need ongoing monitoring, you can also request your credit for free up to twice a year from each of the three credit reporting agencies.  You can do this through the FTC or by going to www.AnnualCreditReport.com. 

If you believe your information has been compromised, contact our office to discuss options to protect your investment accounts further.  We are here to help. 

As always, thank you for your trust. If you have any additional concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to your advisor directly. 

 

Disclosures:

Leonard Rickey Investment Advisors, PLLC (“LRIA”), is an SEC registered investment adviser located in the State of Washington. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. For information pertaining to the registration status of LRIA, please contact LRIA or refer to the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website (www.adviserinfo.sec.gov).This is provided for general information only and contains information that is not suitable for everyone. As such, nothing herein should be construed as the provision of specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual.  To determine which investments may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor.

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Important Disclosures

Leonard Rickey Investment Advisors, PLLC (“LRIA”), is an SEC registered investment adviser located in the State of Washington. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. For information pertaining to the registration status of LRIA, please contact LRIA or refer to the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website (www.adviserinfo.sec.gov).

This is provided for general information only and contains information that is not suitable for everyone. As such, nothing herein should be construed as the provision of specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investments may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. There is no guarantee that the views and opinions expressed herein will come to pass. This newsletter contains information derived from third party sources. Although we believe these third-party sources to be reliable, we make no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party incorporated herein and take no responsibility therefore.

Any projections, forecasts and estimates, including without limitation any statement using “expect” or “believe” or any variation of either term or a similar term, contained here are forward-looking statements and are based upon certain current assumptions, beliefs and expectations that LRIA considers reasonable or that the applicable third parties have identified as such. Forward-looking statements are necessarily speculative in nature, and it can be expected that some or all of the assumptions or beliefs underlying the forward-looking statements will not materialize or will vary significantly from actual results or outcomes. Some important factors that could cause actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those in any forward-looking statements include, among others, changes in interest rates and general economic conditions in the U.S. and globally, changes in the liquidity available in the market, change and volatility in the value of the U.S. dollar, market volatility and distressed credit markets, and other market, financial or legal uncertainties. Consequently, the inclusion of forward-looking statements herein should not be regarded as a representation by LRIA or any other person or entity of the outcomes or results that will be achieved by following any recommendations contained herein. While the forward-looking statements here reflect estimates, expectations and beliefs, they are not guarantees of future performance or outcomes. LRIA has no obligation to update or otherwise revise any forward-looking statements, including any revisions to reflect changes in economic conditions or other circumstances arising after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of events (whether anticipated or unanticipated), even if the underlying assumptions do not come to fruition. Opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice and do not necessarily take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situations, or particular needs of all investors.

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