A Cyber Security Reminder

Almost every day we hear about financial fraud. Scam artists are getting more sophisticated and skilled at separating people from their money. The latest innovation stems from the rapid development and dissemination of AI human voice simulation software tools. With just a small digital sampling, scammers can now easily mimic your voice over the phone. At AIKAPA we are fortunate that we know you more deeply and as individuals. An AI voice tool could sound like you but wouldn’t know enough to bypass our verbal verification process. Together by following best practices, we can keep you and your hard-earned money away from scammers.

Best Practices

  • Be suspicious of unexpected or unsolicited phone calls, emails, and texts asking you to send money or disclose personal information. If you receive a suspicious call, hang up, then call the firm or organization back using a contact number such as the one provided on the back of your client card or official statement.
  • Phone numbers and email addresses can easily be spoofed to imitate legitimate organizations. Be cautious with email communications because your email can be compromised and used to facilitate identity theft.
  • Do not disclose on social media personal or sensitive information, such as your birth date, contact information, and mother’s maiden name.
  • Be extremely cautious when receiving money movement instructions via email. Call the sender at a known or verifiable contact number (not the number provided in the email or solicited over the phone) to verbally validate all instruction details before executing a transfer or providing your approval.
  • Do not click on hidden email links or on unknown attachments – Malicious links provided in emails can introduce damaging spyware or ransomware into your computer system. Hover over the link and scrutinize the file path name to identify the source. If it appears at all suspicious (e.g., contains grammatical errors, typos, or personal names), do not click on the link. Verify an attachment before opening it.
  • Check your email and account statements regularly for suspicious activity. Suspicious activity includes email communications you don’t recognize or verification of a request for changes.
  • Do not verbally disclose or enter confidential information on a laptop or mobile device in public areas where someone could potentially see, hear, or access your information. This is particularly important if you are using the electronic device for financial transactions.
  • For all money transactions, prepare ahead – you are most vulnerable when in a rush and more likely to click on a link or accept a phone number in an email.
  • Verify payment requests you receive by phone or email. Requests for payment using gift cards, prepaid debit cards, or digital currency are frequently associated with fraud or scams.

Finally, you should request and review your credit history report annually (not your credit score). The credit history report from all three credit agencies should only show accounts and addresses that belong to you. Immediately report any new addresses or accounts that you don’t own.

Edi Alvarez, CFP®