You may consider yourself too savvy to fall for a phishing scam (a ploy using a legitimate-looking email to trick you into sharing sensitive personal or financial information). However, such cons remain remarkably effective: In 2016, more than 19,000 people reported losing almost $32 million in phishing scams in the United States alone.1
Part of the problem is that hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their attacks. For example, one such scam used what appeared to be an authentic email from an online shopping site to lure users to a fake site where they were asked to update their account information.
As phishing emails become more persuasive, consumers should take extra care when conducting business online, says Tonia Dudley, incident commander and director of security awareness at Schwab. “Be wary of any email asking for personal information—regardless of its source,” she says.
Many financial firms, including Schwab, use a secure message center when requesting sensitive data. If you receive such an inquiry via an unsecure channel, there’s a simple safety measure: Call the company in question. “When in doubt,” Tonia says, “just pick up the phone.”
The bottom line: If you receive a request for personal information, verify the source before you respond.
12016 Internet Crime Report, Federal Bureau of Investigation.
What you can do next
- Learn more about how Schwab protects client data and what you can do to strengthen your defenses.