The phone rings. For Janice, it’s a welcome sound after being cooped up all day due to the pandemic. On the other end is a friendly DirectTV representative letting her know about a new promotion they have with Walmart that will save her 25% if she pays her bill using gift cards. Always on the look-out for a good deal, especially around the holidays, she drives to her local store, purchases the cards, and calls DirectTV back so they can enter them in their system. The accounting department informs Janice that, unfortunately, a couple of the gift cards aren’t working and advises her to go back to the store to purchase new cards. Janice purchases multiple gift cards and gives the codes to DirectTV. She looks forward to her discounted bill.
Fast forward a few days later when she checks her bill and notices that the phone number is different than the one she had called. Janice soon learns that no such gift card promotion exists at DirectTV and that she has been a victim of a phone scam. But, by that point, Janice has lost over $1000.
This is a story that actually happened to someone in the Modera community and is not an isolated incident. In a similar situation, someone received a call from Apple Support saying she’d been hacked and needed to scrub her iPad. Because the caller was able to relay some personal information about her, it seemed legitimate. Within minutes, she inadvertently forfeited $300 and allowed the caller to access sensitive information from her device.
So, with many of us holiday shopping or needing to check online accounts as we take care of year-end to-do items, here are some important tips to remember:
As always, please reach out to us with any questions. To learn more about what Modera Wealth Management is doing to protect your financial and personal affairs, read our attached brochure titled Protecting Investors from Cybercrime or our recent article Covid-19 and Cyber Health: “Think Before You Click.”
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