The Current Risk
You’ve likely read the news stories about the Capital One data breach that was detected last month. While this is not the first global company to have its data compromised, it is noteworthy in its scale: nearly 106 million of the bank’s customer and applicant accounts were affected. This recent incident comes about a week after Equifax announced a settlement over its 2017 data breach, which affected about 143 million people. While these occurrences are a constant risk in the current landscape, they remind us of the importance of taking proactive steps to safeguard our personal and financial information.
Whether or not you are a Capital One customer, here are some actions we advise you to consider taking to protect your personal data and accounts:
The Broader Issue: The Rise of Cybercrime and the Importance of Cybersecurity
The overarching issues raised by the Capital One data breach are the very real and growing threats of cybercrime and identity theft. Reported cybercrimes cost victims over $2.7 billion in monetary damages in 2018, according to the FBI.
As a registered investment advisor and fiduciary to our clients, Litman Gregory is bound by our fiduciary standard to put our clients’ needs first. Among other responsibilities, that means making sure our clients, and their confidential financial information that we hold, aren’t put at risk of scams, phishing, and a multitude of other techniques employed by cybercriminals.
In addition to regularly reviewing our cybersecurity policies and ensuring we are following best practices, we continue to work with a cybersecurity consultant to find new ways to protect our internal data as well as our clients’ privacy. If implemented correctly, proper controls can prevent 95% of external fraud. Some of the common tactics include:
In each instance, the fraudster attempts to impersonate someone electronically, thanks to the success of a “phishing” expedition into his or her personal emails and contacts. Sometimes this phishing is accomplished by luring someone into revealing personal information, either by email, through a copy-cat website, or over the phone.
We also suggest doing the following to help protect yourself against these and other fraudster tactics:
For many years at Litman Gregory, we have aided clients as they navigate the threats of cybercrime and protect themselves from attempted security breaches. Unfortunately, as the recent breaches indicate, cybercrime is on the rise and becoming more sophisticated. Looking ahead, we will continue to be on our guard and stay abreast of new ways that we, and our clients, can work to protect their identity and finances.
Do you have questions about how we protect client accounts or the steps you and your family can take to better protect yourselves and mitigate risk? Please call your Litman Gregory Advisor or contact us here.
Our Team is Prepared for the Gender Wealth Shift
Many leading companies have started to shift gears by offering new products, hiring more female advisors, and launching financial literacy and community outreach events. At Litman Gregory Wealth Management, we're ahead of the curve, with women making up 50% of our team.
Fourth Quarter 2023 Investment Commentary
As 2023 unfolded, global stock and bond markets ignored widespread expectations of a U.S. recession and surprised forecasters by shaking off a host of uncertainties to post strong gains for the year. This was a welcome rebound after a very difficult 2022, where high inflation made the Fed decide to raise interest rates sharply which led to negative returns for virtually all traditional investments. In this commentary we cover what led to the 2023 returns, as well as our outlook and strategy as we look ahead in 2024.
Year End Wishes from Litman Gregory Wealth Management
In reflecting on the events of 2023, we witnessed a positive turn in the financial markets as investors anticipated the possibility of a “soft landing” for the U.S. economy, but we were also disheartened by numerous worldwide conflicts. As we balance these experiences, we are grateful for our business and client relationships, and more than ever we are encouraged to be of service and give back to our community.