Protecting your Identity

34526916_sAnthem, the nation’s largest health insurer was recently victim to cyber attacks where approximately 80 million records were stolen. Prior to Anthem other large business including Sony Pictures, Home Depot, JP Morgan, Target, etc. were also targets of cyber attacks.

Anthem Situation

Regarding Anthem, it is understood the thieves received information from current and former customers’ names, birthdays, member health ID numbers, Social Security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information, including income data. All very sensitive information so Anthem has announced that all impacted members will be enrolled in identity repair services. In addition, impacted members will be provided information on how to enroll in free credit monitoring. If you are impacted by the Anthem data breach, it is a very good idea to accept enrollment in the free credit monitoring services which will alert you if new credit is opened in your name.

Furthermore, we understand that hackers are sending out emails offering credit protection, but it’s a phishing scam to probably install malware. Before signing up for anything related to Anthem please confirm the source.

How to protect yourself in the future?

It’s important to understand that it is impossible to be 100% protected and there are many benefits to being part of a connected society.

Banks and credit card companies have actually been doing a pretty good job with certain areas of cyber security. For example, they often know about and correct fraudulent charges before customers recognize them.

It is a never ending battle to stay ahead of thieves and financial institutions will continue to work on improving security, but they will never stop all fraud. We do end up paying for those losses primarily though slightly higher prices as merchants pass through credit and debit card transaction fees that they pay.

There are a few steps you should take to limit your risk.

  • Update your password so it is difficult to hack. NY Daily News found the top ten worst passwords to include: 123456, password, baseball, football, etc. Others have started to use password managers where you enter one login/password and they manage all your other passwords for you.
  • Monitor your credit report to look out for new accounts. You are allowed a free credit report annually (https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action) from the major reporting agencies including Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can also sign up for credit monitoring which will notify you when new accounts are opened.
  • Review your bank transactions online or on your statements to look for transactions you didn’t make.

How are Financial Symmetry clients protected?

Withdrawing funds from Pershing accounts is not possible with our clients’ login, which provides higher security than a retail bank or brokerage account where a thief could hack your username/password and access your funds.

Without signed documentation, funds withdrawn from Pershing accounts can only be sent via check to the address on the account, or via an electronic transfer to a bank account that has been authorized with previously signed documentation.

All withdrawals from Pershing accounts are seen on the next business day by your FSI team so we can be on the lookout for unusual activity.

Please contact a financial planner at Financial Symmetry if you have any further questions regarding this topic.

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