Regarding Your Investments:
- We always call clients to verbally confirm when we receive an email or voicemail request for money. Since we work with a limited number of clients and have personal relationships with them all, we can easily sense if someone is an imposter and an email account is hacked, etc. Large financial institutions and call centers cannot say the same.
Money can only be transferred by mailed check to your home address on file (change of address requires a wet signature on a form) or to your linked bank account (linking requires a voided check and wet signature on a form).
We do not utilize wire transfers except in limited circumstances as requested by the client. In these instances, not only is True Wealth Design speaking directly with the client to confirm the request is legitimate but the custodian also calls the client in addition to verifying the signature.
Regarding Equifax and Your Credit:
Request your free credit report. Under federal law you’re allowed to request a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—at www.annualcreditreport.com. You can do this every 122 days by rotating among the agencies. Look for suspicious accounts or activity that you don’t recognize—such as someone trying to open a new credit card or apply for a loan in your name. If you do see something, visit www.Identitytheft.gov/databreach to find out how to mitigate the damage.
- Reissue cards. Call your existing credit card companies and say you lost your card. They’ll issue a new one with a new number for the same account. This way if the thieves have a credit card number, it’s an invalid one.
Monitor your bank and credit accounts. The credit report won’t tell you if there’s been money stolen from a bank account or suspicious activity on your credit card. Unfortunately, you’ll have to turn this into a habit. In most cases, theft happens over time, starting with small amounts stolen from across your accounts.
Place a fraud alert on your account. You can put a fraud alert, for free, by contacting one of the credit agencies, which is required to notify the other two. This will warn creditors that you may be an identity theft victim, and they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name is really you. The fraud alert will last for 90 days and can be renewed.
Consider putting a freeze on your credit. A freeze blocks anyone from accessing your credit reports without your permission—including you. This can usually be done online, and each bureau will provide a unique personal identification number that you can use to “thaw” your credit file in the event that you need to apply for new lines of credit sometime in the future. Fees to freeze your account vary by state, but commonly range from $0 to $15 per bureau. You can sometimes get this service for free if you supply a copy of a police report (which you can file and obtain online) or affidavit stating that you believe you are likely to be the victim of identity theft.
Consider a credit monitoring service. Many Americans have opted to sign up for a credit monitoring service, which won’t prevent fraud from happening, but WILL alert you when your personal information is being used or requested. In most cases, there is a cost involved, but Equifax is offering a free year of credit monitoring through its TrustedID Premier business, whether or not you’ve been affected by the hack. It includes identity theft insurance, and it will also scan the Internet for use of your Social Security number—assuming you trust Equifax with this information after the breach. (Note: Capital One credit cards provided a free service called Credit Tracker that you can use to monitor your accounts and any new credit inquiries. If an inquiry is made that you’re not aware of, contact the bureau’s to ensure it’s not fraud-related.)
Opt-out of credit offers sent via mail. ID thieves like to intercept offers of new credit sent via postal mail. If you don’t want to receive prescreened offers of credit and insurance, you have two choices: You can opt out of receiving them for five years by calling toll-free 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visiting www.optoutprescreen.com. You can also permanently opt-out by returning a signed Permanent Opt-Out Election form, which will be provided after you initiate your online request.
President & Senior Wealth Advisor