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Spotting an imposter – how to reduce the risk of someone hacking into your email

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Yesterday was a routine, run of the mill day.  A client meeting first thing and then a few tasks to complete in the afternoon. We didn’t think much when a client emailed in to ask for a valuation, via their Gmail account.

Can I withdraw some funds please?

What did immediately catch our attention was that the email asked for an immediate withdrawal.  We know the client well and there was no reason we knew of as to why they would need to disinvest, let alone without a chat first.

It was indeed a dodgy request

Suspicions duly raised we called our client and quickly established this was indeed some sort of attempted fraud.

You can reduce the risk of someone hacking your Hotmail or Gmail (and others no doubt) password by switching on two stage verification.  Basically whenever you log on you’ll need your phone handy to generate a code without which you can’t log on.

Naturally you can switch this off for your main computer or tablet otherwise it’d be a pain but basically if you use a different computer, your email provider can tell and will ask for verification.

Happy ending

The diligence of our staff meant we were able to quickly warn our client that something was up.  To misquote the tele a little bit ‘no funds were harmed in the writing of this blog’.

The moral of the tale though is as advisers we have to be very alert to unusual activity, especially anyone changing their bank and then asking for money (which wasn’t the case here, it was just the latter).

Take care of your data and take a moment to set up your two stage verification.