Fraudsters don’t take holidays

Submitted by Marc.Jones on November 12, 2018
Fraudsters Holiday

Fraudsters don't take holidays


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®).

High-dollar purchases

  • Using email account takeover tactics, fraudsters gain access to a client's or third-party's email account and send false wire instructions to the client or an advisor.
  • Recipients of the wire instructions do not verbally verify the instructions after receipt and process the request.


  • Fraudsters will send emails appearing to be from a trusted source, which are designed to lure individuals to click links leading to fake websites that look like those operated by their financial provider. Then, the clients are directed to provide their credentials on these sites, giving the criminals access to their accounts.
  • Similar to phishing emails, individuals will receive fraudulent text messages that appear to be from a legitimate source such as Schwab or another financial provider, which link to fake websites designed to acquire the clients' credentials.

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.

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.


  • Fraudsters will counterfeit checks for MoneyLink setup. These checks may have one bank's logo but another bank's name, account number, or ABA. Below is an example that has been seen on more than one occasion featuring the same Wells Fargo carriage logo and check number 2177.
    Voided Check
Online account takeover
  • Criminals gain access to a client's account using stolen credentials, malware, or breached information.
  • Criminals take over a victim's mobile phone by convincing the cellular carrier they are the account holder. The fraudster then requests to have the SIM card information moved to a new card in the fraudster's own phone, which also disables access for the victim.

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.