Fraudsters don't take holidays

Fraudsters Holiday

Criminals know we're all busy with year-end deadlines and the holidays—making it the perfect time to strike. Recent events such as the Capital One data breach reminds us that any client's information may be compromised at any time. Take a conservative stance and consider all your clients to be potentially at risk. Below are some recent fraud trends and ways you can help protect your clients and firm. Visit our  for additional information on each of these schemes.

Recent fraud schemes


How does it typically happen?

Email account breach

  • Hackers gain email access looking for information to sell or to use themselves.
  • They monitor the account and insert a seemingly legitimate email into a conversation to entice the recipient to release assets or information.
  • The email is often paired with a forged distribution Letter of Authority (LOA) and counterfeit documents (e.g., voided check for Schwab MoneyLink®).

Real estate

  • Fraudsters use malware laced phishing emails to gain access to a client or an escrow company’s email and send false wire instructions to a client or an advisor.

Tech support

  • A scammer will contact a business posing as a technician from a well-known software provider attempting to infiltrate their systems to gain access to sensitive personal and financial data.

Distraction tactics

  • Fraudsters add irrelevant information, for instance, attaching an invoice, asking questions, or including details like indicating they’ll replace the funds in 30, 60, or 90 days.

Like-registration requests

  • Fraudsters send requests using an account that appears to be registered in a client's name. The account may actually be in the client's name, but is controlled by a fraudster or a money mule. These requests are meant to increase the appearance of legitimacy of the transaction, providing a false sense of security when transactions are being reviewed.
Online account takeover
  • Criminals gain access to a client's account using stolen credentials, malware, or breached information.

Resources to protect you and your clients

  • Educate your clients: Help your clients understand the various safeguards Schwab has in place to protect their data with this . If an existing or potential client asks you to dive deeper on this topic, you can use this  to learn more.
  • Verbally verify all disbursements, without exception: Confirming your client's identity and transaction details via phone or video chat continues to be one of your strongest fraud prevention weapons. 
  • Consider using eAuthorization tools to quickly and securely process money movements.
  • Monitor your clients account activity to uncover suspicious activity: Watch Schwab Advisor Center® Alerts for unusual requests, which could include phone number/email address changes, online user ID activations, Transfer of Assets, and client-initiated money movements. Call your client immediately if you see anything unusual.
  • Customize the Tips for Preventing Fraud checklist and share it with your clients to provide best practices to help them protect their data, information, and assets. The checklist also provides suggestions for what to do if a breach is suspected.

Visit our for more resources and insights on how you can prevent fraud.

If you're thinking about becoming an independent advisor, consider a custodian that invests in your success. Contact us to learn more about the benefits of a custodial relationship with Schwab.