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.
Investment Key Takeaways—Year-End 2020
Very few (if any) market observers would have predicted a strong market outcome in early 2020, with pandemic fears rampant and the global economy falling off a cliff. But global stocks ended the year at all-time highs with a 16% gain. At Litman Gregory, we “stayed the course” during the volatility, and it proved prescient once again. In this post, we summarize key takeaways from our full year-end investment commentary, offering an overview of financial market performance and our outlook for the months ahead.
Commentary from Our CIO—Year-End 2020
In this year-end commentary, CIO Jeremy DeGroot reflects on the recent challenging and turbulent year and lays out our investment outlook for 2021 and beyond. The strong full-year market returns masked the incredible volatility and stress investors faced earlier in the year. While many risks remain, the early stages of vaccine distributions and economic stimulus are providing a light at the end of the tunnel.
Alice Lowenstein Earns CSRIC™, Sustainable, Responsible & Impact Investing Designation
We are pleased to share that Managing Director Alice Lowenstein has obtained the Chartered SRI Counselor designation, the first major financial credential dedicated specifically to sustainable, responsible and impact investing. This designation demonstrates Alice’s knowledge of SRI principles and best practices.