December 14, 2023
The holidays provide a great opportunity for fraudsters to unleash their schemes, knowing that we are busy traveling, shopping, and spending time with friends and families, all the while using technology that gives them an opportunity to attack.
The latest threat that's come to the attention of the Schwab fraud prevention team are reports of imposters posing as Schwab employees, contacting advisors and their clients via phone and other channels, including email and text messages.
- First, the fraudster gains access to your personal information, like first and last name, phone number, and home address, potentially from the dark web or a hacked website, for example, social media.
- The imposter may spoof a Schwab phone number to call you and then identify themselves as an employee in the fraud department.
- The fraudster alleges that a suspicious charge has been found in your Schwab account and makes you aware that the charges will need to be reversed.
- The fraudster will use social engineering to get you to provide your Schwab Alliance username, then when the system sends an automated SMS for verification, the fraudster requests the code from you.
- Once the fraudster has the SMS code, they will update your Schwab Alliance password, log into your account, and initiate unauthorized transactions.
- These criminals know that worries about account breaches are heightened during the holidays, when increased spending can provide more opportunities for key information to fall into the wrong hands.
Tips to Avoid Fraud
- You should avoid supplying any personal identifying information in an email or over the phone, even if you think you are talking to Schwab. Note: If you are unsure, you can verify that you are speaking with Schwab by ending the call and then calling Schwab Alliance directly at 800-515-2157.
- If Schwab sends you an SMS text code to verify account access, do not share this with anyone, as legitimate Schwab representatives will never ask for this information.
- Please contact Schwab immediately to report all suspicious or fraudulent activity. Both successful and prevented fraud attempts should be reported immediately to us and to Schwab by calling Schwab Alliance at 800-515-2157.