The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has issued a warning about phishing scams that can put personal information and assets at risk, ThinkAdvisor reports.
In its alert, FINRA noted that these schemes often start with an email, text or encrypted message that falsely claims to be from a financial institution, credit card company, electronic payment service, mail delivery company or another familiar organization, including government or regulatory agencies.
Victims can be lured into providing sensitive personal information when they are asked to reply to the sender or click on a link that seems to be from a legitimate web site. The scams can also encourage their targets to click on a link or download software that then secretly installs malicious software on computers or other devices.
The phishing pitches often attempt to seem legitimate by using the names of real people or organizations, legitimate-looking addresses, authentic-looking logos, links to seemingly credible websites, and official-looking fine print.
FINRA stressed the importance of recognizing and avoiding these phishing scams in order to protect your identity and assets. “It’s important to stay vigilant online and to be skeptical of unexpected messages, as cybercrime changes at a rapid pace,” the authority stated. “For example, misspelled company names and jumbled website URLs were a clear tipoff to phishing ploys in the past. But scammers have evolved their tactics, and now seemingly legitimate links can hijack users to a fraudulent site through technical code buried behind the message.”
The FINRA warning outlined a number of steps that can be taken to protect personal information. For example, do not reply to or click on a link in an unsolicited message, even if it appears to be from someone you know or an institution you do business with.
Other protective measures are as follows:
1: Verify claims by independently logging onto the company’s main website or call using a phone number obtained from a separate source.
2. Check whether an email address or text might be mimicking a legitimate sender in a phishing attempt.
3. Use only secure networks to access your financial accounts, consider enabling multi-factor authentication if available, and be sure to create strong passwords for your accounts and financial apps.
4. Before opening an account with a brokerage firm or financial professional, usse FINRA BrokerCheck to ensure the firm and financial professional are properly registered and to verify their phone and address.
5. Regularly review your account statements and activity for any unrecognized transactions, and immediately report any suspicious activity to your financial institution.
Securities and investment fraud takes on many forms. The attorneys at Lewitas Hyman have decades of experience dealing with securities fraud cases and have a deep understanding of how capital markets and financial service firms are intended to work to protect investors. If you think your financial professional or firm engaged in misconduct that caused you investment losses, contact Lewitas Hyman at (888) 655-6002 or through our online contact form for a no-cost evaluation of your matter.