Third, when we send emails and store client data that contain secure information, we use only encrypted software — not Google, Skype or other popular programs that aren’t designed to transmit financial information securely.
What You Should Do
There are a number of basic tech tasks to help with security:
- Keep your computer antivirus protection up to date to keep as much malware off your system as possible. Make sure to install security patches on any software you run.
- Use unique and complicated passwords for your various accounts.
- Don’t just click! If you get forwards, spam, or any kind of email with links that are unfamiliar, refrain from clicking on them, as that often results in malware and “bots” getting access to your computer.
- Contact us if you receive an email that purports to come from Clean Yield but looks suspicious for any reason.
- Finally, beware of what you send over email and remember that, while our emails to you may be encrypted, yours to us are not. It is better to phone, fax, snail mail, or at least password protect any attachments that you send back to us.
Also, please check your credit card, bank, and brokerage account statements regularly to pick up on any fraudulent charges, small or large. We reconcile your accounts against our systems, but our software isn’t designed to look for unauthorized charges. Occasionally, we may check with you if we see unusual activity in your account, but particularly in accounts that are used regularly, we may not be able to tell if something is unauthorized. And finally, please contact us if you are ever a subject of hacking or if there have been any problems in your account(s).
Have you requested a wire recently? If so, you’ve probably noticed, and perhaps been irritated by, a more elaborate procedure for completing the wire. Over the past year or so, many of the custodians we work with have started requiring oral confirmation of wire requests for all wires – even more so for foreign or potentially suspicious wires.
Fraudsters and hackers have gotten more sophisticated in their techniques. If they somehow get access to your email account through a computer virus or security breach, they may go through old emails to determine your investment advisor, your broker, and even study your emails’ tone to better impersonate you. One scheme is to send an email from your account requesting a wire transaction and request that we email them back the form to sign. If everything takes place over email, there is no way to tell if it is truly you making the request or someone posing as you. This is where our (or your custodian’s) call to you becomes vital.
When we get a wire request in an email from you, we will call you on the phone number that we have in our files to confirm the request. For the time being, this is our best shot at ensuring that all wire requests are legitimate. For the sake of the security of your account(s), please bear with us in this process.
If you ever have an issue, would like to know more about our security and how we recommend that you stay secure, or would just like to chat about privacy and security in general, please feel free to contact us.