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Cyber criminals are getting more & more sophisticated when it comes to the tactics they deploy to steal sensitive information. One of the most common email scams, phishing, has become increasingly prevalent in the financial services realm.

We at Wealth Enhancement Group take several precautions to help protect your data. We’ve not only invested in several defensive technologies; we’ve also invested in educating our team to help ensure those systems are being properly employed.  

Educating our clients about cyber security is an extension of that protection plan. Read on to learn more about phishing and how to protect yourself against this alarming scam.

What is “phishing”?

Phishing is the practice of cyber criminals casting out thousands of emails that appear to come from a large/well-known company in the hopes that one of their targets will unwittingly divulge personal information.

Spear phishing is an even more specific version of phishing. It occurs when a particular group of people is targeted. Spear phishers thrive on familiarity, so a spear phishing email may appear to come from someone you know personally. It may also include quite a bit of personal information about you in order to convince you that it’s a real request.

A recent example of a well-disguised phishing email

Recently, one of our clients received an email that appeared to be from Charles Schwab, requesting they log into their account to review and verify recent activity. The email was very well-disguised and one of the only ways to tell it was a phishing attempt was by hovering over the login link. In the picture below, you can see that it shows a URL destination other than Charles Schwab. 

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In this case, the client recognized something was amiss and reached out to us to confirm its veracity. This was exactly the right thing to do.

What to look out for

  • Requests for critical/sensitive information such as user IDs, passwords and PINs.
  • Incorrect email addresses (even if the “From” name is accurate).
  • Unusual/different format.
  • Links to different domains than you are used to visiting.
  • Shortened links.
  • Rampant typos and/or impersonal greetings such as “Dear Sir/Madam.”

What to do if you suspect you’ve received a phishing email

  • DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS OR PROVIDE ANY PERSONAL DATA.
  • Notify your advisory team by immediately forwarding the email to us or calling us.
  • Delete it.

Please take note of the information above, and as always, please don’t hesitate to contact your advisory team if you have any questions.

Wealth Enhancement Group is a Greater Minneapolis-based independent wealth management firm offering comprehensive and customized financial planning and investment management services. Established in 1997, Wealth Enhancement Group uses a team approach with a focus on simplifying their clients’ financial lives and has offices nationwide.