Ways to Safeguard Against Financial Exploitation for All Ages

Financial fraud can have devastating consequences for all ages, often leading to irreparable harm to an individual’s overall financial stability. While older clients may be particularly vulnerable due to their limited awareness of online security complexities and the latest scam tactics, young people are also at risk because of their trust in the internet. Regardless of your age, it’s crucial to proactively protect yourself against fraud.

At Apella, safeguarding your Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is of utmost importance. We diligently uphold stringent policies and procedures to ensure the safety and security of your sensitive data. In this blog post, we’ll explore practical strategies to protect young to old from financial fraud and outline preventive measures to safeguard your financial well-being. 

Verify Identity and Credentials: 

  • Never click on links without verifying their authenticity. An easy way to validate a link is for you to hover your mouse over the link, you can then see the URL address linked in the bottom left of your screen. Make sure this is the expected URL and does not look suspicious. 
  • Independently verify messages from banks or friends, this is especially crucial for financial transactions or sensitive information. Double check the email address that sent the message and don’t rely on the caller ID. Instead, take the extra step in ensuring the phone number is the correct one.  
  • Beware of Phishing when using Google, Microsoft Edge, Safari, and other browsers. Don’t just click the top result from your search because many ads will appear at the top of your search mimicking the real site and take you to a fraudulent site.  

Use Strong Passwords and Security Measures: 

  • Create unique passwords for each online account. The most secure passwords should be long and around 16-20 characters in length and contain a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. There are even password manager programs that help you track your various passwords in a “vault” which you can access by remembering just one password (Ex. 1Password, Dashlane, LastPass, Keeper).  
  • Consider two-factor authentication for added protection. 
  • Consider using a safe word over the phone for family and close friends so that you can always verify it is them you are talking to, a scammer would not know that answer.  

Be Skeptical: 

  • Always approach unsolicited emails, phone calls, or offers with skepticism. Look for typos, bad formatting, or poor grammar. If an offer or opportunity seems too good to be true, it probably is.  
  • Don’t rely on the name on the caller ID. Many scammers can mimic a name on caller ID. 
  • Reject demands for immediate action or threating language. (Example: You will never be asked by the gas company to pay your bill with a Visa gift card to keep your service on). 
  • Before making any decisions, research thoroughly. Seek references and reviews to ensure legitimacy. 

Protect Private Information: 

  • Guard your PII such as Social Security numbers, bank account info, PIN numbers and passwords.  
  • Never share sensitive details via email or text, especially with someone you don’t know. Legitimate organizations will never request sensitive information via email or text messages. Your Apella advisor and team members have procedures in place to transmit PII such as a secure message portal. Many advisors will have a link in their email signature where you can securely upload documents to them.  

Use Secure Communication Channels: 

  • Avoid sharing personal or financial details over unsecured networks or channels (Example: public wi-fi or unencrypted web sites).  
  • When in doubt call back the person on the phone with a known verified number if you are questioning the motives of the caller. If the bank called you, they will have no problem if you call them back on their verified number for added security.   

Analyze Your Statements: 

  • Carefully check financial transactions, account statements, Social Security statements and medical records regularly for any unknown services or charges.  
  • Always report any unauthorized or suspicious activity. 

Rely on Your Intuitions: 

  • Stop communication or delete anything that feels off. 
  • Caution is better than falling victim to a scam. 

Taking proactive steps to prevent financial fraud is a collaborative endeavor and can affect people of all ages. If you ever encounter something that seems suspicious or doesn’t feel right, don’t hesitate to contact your Apella Wealth Advisor’s office. We’re here to utilize our expertise and assist you in navigating any uncertainties. 

 Apella Capital, LLC (“Apella”), DBA Apella Wealth is an investment advisory firm registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm only transacts business in states where it is properly registered or excluded or exempt from registration requirements. Registration of an investment adviser does not imply any specific level of skill or training and does not constitute an endorsement of the firm by the Commission. Apella Wealth provides this communication as a matter of general information. Any data or statistics quoted are from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed or warranted. 

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