Last month, we shared measures you can take to help protect yourself from identity theft, such as implementing a credit freeze, creating unique and complex passwords, and using two-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access to your accounts.
Because identity theft is a serious and pervasive threat, this month we continue the conversation about the steps we take to protect clients and what to do if you find yourself a victim of identity theft.
How Vista Keeps Your Information Safe
We have previously written on this topic, and take maximum care to ensure the safety of all client information:
- We provide ongoing education, training, and awareness to all employees on cyber-related issues, often leveraging outside resources and experts.
- We use multi-factor authentication on all critical and client-related systems to reduce risk of a breach.
- We’ve set up a secure transport layer between our firm and Schwab. All messages sent back and forth are encrypted.
- We engage the services of an outsourced IT provider to set up and monitor Vista’s network and infrastructure.
- We conduct a thorough due diligence process for all vendors we engage to understand what information they collect, what they do with the information, and how they secure it.
- We verbally verify all money movement requests with a known phone number on file.
- We periodically engage the services of outside resources to conduct a thorough cybersecurity assessment on Vista’s internal processes and procedures.
What if I Become a Victim of Identity Theft?
If you fall victim to identity theft, you’ll want to take quick action.
- Immediately report the fraud or identity theft to your financial institution and follow any instructions they provide regarding your account.
- Contact the fraud department of your creditors, such as credit card issuers, phone companies, utilities, banks, and lenders to dispute unauthorized charges.
- Report the crime to your local police. Even though the incident may cross multiple jurisdictions, your local police will file a formal report and refer you to additional resources and agencies that can help.
- Contact the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—to request a fraud alert on your account and a freeze on your credit report. Dispute any fraudulent activity on your credit report.
- You’ll also want to take steps to secure your systems.
- Check your computer for malware by performing a full anti-virus and anti-spyware scan if you suspect a possible compromise.
- Change account passwords after you’ve ensured your computer is not infected with a virus, malware, or spyware. Make each password unique and strong, and use two-step verification when available.
- Review account activity at your other financial institutions and report any problems.
- Work with your financial institution to add safeguards to the account.
Sidestep the Scammers
Fraudsters are incredibly creative and their tactics change constantly.
From robocalls about extended warranties on your car to phishing emails designed to mimic those from your trusted bank, it’s easier than ever to fall victim to their traps.
To sidestep those traps, stay aware, stay informed, be cautious, and take preventive steps.