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Security and Fraud Around the Holidays

Updated: Apr 23

November marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. The National Retail Federation expects retail sales during November and December to hit around $728 billon. Of that staggering sum, around $163 billion will be spent online.

Holiday shopping accounts for about twenty percent of all retail spending. Stores are more crowded and more people search for deals across the internet, navigating to unfamiliar websites in search of the lowest cost. This makes the holiday season perfect for scams.

Protect yourself from fraud and scams by being aware and proactive. Next week we’ll dive into current scams to help you identify and avoid them. This week we’re going to recap some information and tips we’ve shared in the past.

Shred those documents

Back in 2016, we published this article about scrap scroungers.Trash thieves are hoping to score tax returns, credit card bills, bank statements, and any other documents that contain potentially sensitive information.

Remember to shred any documents that contain information such as: account numbers, balances, and personal information.

Calls and texts from unknown numbers

In 2014 we posted this video about a mysterious text from the bank. Unfortunately these scams are still alive and well. With cloned and spoofed phone numbers, these calls and texts can appear even more convincing.

If you receive a text or call from someone claiming to be your bank or credit card, the safest thing to do is call them back at a number you trust.

What are we doing to protect our clients with security and fraud year-round

There is more to our role than financial management. We have a legal and ethical responsibility to do what is prudent to protect your assets. One of your most valuable assets is your personal information. We see ourselves as custodians of your assets and information.

A Year Ago We Were a Typical Registered Investment Adviser

Like many small businesses we had our own computers and servers in-house and on premise. As we grew, we spent more and more of our resources and time managing our network and cybersecurity for our clients.

I remember when a client called to ask about the measures used for cybersecurity for our clients. We were already practicing many of the fundamental routines to protect client data. With this inquiry I decided to research our options. No one ever wants to experience identity theft. It is expensive, disruptive and stressful.

Everyday cybersecurity concerns seem to grow. Now more than ever we share a lot of our lives online. We hear the news of the high profile breaches of large companies like Target and Yahoo! Criminals are clamouring to get access to your personal information.

It is easy to take the security and safety of our information for granted. Our level of interconnectedness online requires we take a proper measures.

We have always been careful with our clients information. We saw an opportunity to reduce our clients’ cybersecurity risk.

Fiduciary Leadership and Ongoing Education

As part of my ongoing education and professional development I attend financial conferences. About a year ago, I came across RightSize Solutions, an American firm. They provide a 24/7 secure, virtual environment. For about the same costs, I saw an opportunity to super-size our cybersecurity for our clients. It was an easy decision.

Military Grade Encryption

Using RightSize Solutions, we increased the level of cybersecurity for our clients. We were able to outsource our privacy, security and compliance management. Plus RightSize is an all American firm based in Kansas.

Our goal is to not only protect your assets, also protect your information. Cybersecurity is a key component of our practice management. Gone are the hours of work and stress with managing our computers and data. We never worry about hardware upgrades, operating system patches or security configurations.

RightSize provides proactive management and security. RightSize monitors our systems for vulnerabilities, intrusion and penetration.

Cybersecurity for Our Clients

The 1929 stock market crash blamed Wall Street. The government brought in a series of rules and regulations to protect consumers. By partnering with RightSize, Halter Ferguson Financial gets compliance management tools. Our clients get secure data and privacy protection.

The compliance environment is always changing. In recent years, electronic communications compliance has changed. Registered Investment Adviser Firms must organize and maintain accurate electronic data. Including email, social media archives, secure email encryption. RightSize helps us with cybersecurity for our clients, archives and compliance audit checklists.

Multi-Factor Authorization

RightSize provides military grade encryption and multi-factor authorization. This helps protect our business and your information. Our multi-factor authorization has three levels of authorization. This helps to make it very difficult to thwart our security protocols. We feel that our business and our clients are well protected, we sleep well.

Back Up & Data Recovery

In recent years, electronic communications compliance have changed. Registered Investment Adviser Firms must organize and maintain accurate electronic data. Including email, social media archives, secure email encryption. RightSize helps us with the archives and compliance audit checklists.

Private Secure Cloud

With RightSize we have our own dedicated, secure private cloud. This means no onsite servers to manage and we can scale as our business grows. We use their hosting center in Kansas.

RightSize are Our IT Experts

They manage and optimize our infrastructure so we can concentrate on doing what we do best. Managing our clients’ assets and relationships.

Encrypted Document Sharing

The amount of data we have to share with any given client is significant. We use Share File to send confidential documents to our clients. It is an encrypted file sharing system that allows us to share files with our customers. Any device, anywhere.

It makes it easy to exchange sensitive data in a secure manner. We can get remote, secure electronic signatures. We exchange all files n our secure, virtual data room and ShareFile mobile app. This helps us to send and receive financial planning and asset management documents in a more secure way. We also maintain records that satisfy SEC record-keeping requirements.

Operating a Registered Investment Adviser firm is complex. Serving our clients is complex. Partnering with RightSize and ShareFile we have simplified our business. We have taken steps to help protect our clients and we can focus on what we do best.

We created this helpful guide with common threats, what to look for, and how to defend yourself. Grab it for free here.

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