Monument Resource Center
Our clients hire us because they recognize the value of our Team’s unique, straight-forward, unfiltered opinion and our tailored advice designed to answer their questions, not everyone else’s. Below, you’ll find some of the most important questions we have been asked over the years to help you better understand the role we play and the advice we give.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in 2021, there was an identity theft or fraud report filed every six seconds! That’s only counting people who filed a report with the FTC so the real incidence is even higher. And while your identity could be stolen by a lone hacker, cybercrime is increasingly enacted by organized international groups with increasingly sophisticated technology. It feels like an arms race.
Even with our many organizational precautions, we need you to be our partner in keeping your data secure. Here are nine steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft fraud…
Steps to Protect Your Personal Information
1. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on your email, financial accounts, social media accounts and anywhere else that offers this security feature. Two-factor authentication requires a second layer of authentication in addition to your password to complete your log in, such as entering an SMS code sent to your phone or approving a push notification. This is the single most important step in protecting your accounts.
2. Freeze your credit at all three credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and Transunion – to keep new credit files from being opened. Credit freeze services are mandated by law and are free; the credit bureaus have other products to sell you, but you don’t need to buy them to freeze your credit.
3. Monitor your financial accounts by signing up for Card Not Present alerts with your financial institution so you find out about suspicious activity as soon as it happens. Also be sure to review your statements regularly and shred all your mail when done.
4. Don’t use unencrypted email to send or store sensitive information like usernames, passwords, PINs, account numbers and personal identification. Instead, we can send each other this kind of information via your eMoney data vault, a SECURE encrypted email, or over the phone.
5. Don’t use your debit card to make purchases online. Always use a credit card. With debit card fraud, money actually leaves your account right away. With credit card fraud, you haven’t lost actual cash. It’s easier to reverse a charge on a credit card than to repay lost cash, so debit card fraud is more complicated and time consuming to resolve.
6. Use a secure network. Have a strong password on your home network and do not use public Wi-Fi at the airport, a hotel or anywhere else for any financial transactions. You can secure a public network connection with a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service or by using the Wi-Fi hotspot feature on your phone.
7. Use an encrypted password manager to make it easy to set different and complex passwords for all your accounts. The best passwords are long (the longer the better!), include upper and lower case letters and symbols, are not related to your personal information (sorry, pet names are not a good idea), and do not include any dictionary words. Your password manager can automatically generate long, complicated passwords for you and then remember them when it’s time to log in.
8. Beware of phishing and spoofing. Emails, texts, and phone calls may appear to be from someone they are not. NEVER provide log in information, social security numbers, account numbers or other personally identifiable information through a link in an email or text, or an unsolicited phone call. In fact, NEVER click on a link from an unknown person, especially in a text. Neither government agencies nor Monument will ever contact you by phone or text demanding personal information.
9. Have a backup plan. Use an online backup service or external hard drive, in case your computer is hit with ransomware or destructive malware, and make sure you know how to restore files from your backup if and when needed.
If You Are a Victim of Identity Theft
The crooks are smart and very persistent! If your identity is stolen despite your best efforts, immediately take these steps:
- Report identity theft to local authorities and at identitytheft.gov.
- Contact your Monument Wealth Team on the private client line or at firstname.lastname@example.org to report suspicious activities related to your personal and financial account information. We will work with TD Ameritrade to monitor your accounts.
- And if you haven’t already done steps 1 and 2 in the list here, DO THEM NOW.
Identity theft is no joke—it’s upsetting, time-consuming, and can be expensive to fix. Prevention is key so let’s work together and use all the tools we have to protect your data.
We are on your team!
Recent “Off the Wall” Blog Posts
By Nate Tonsager
IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION
Please remember that past performance is no guarantee of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Monument Capital Management, LLC [“Monument”]), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Monument. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. No amount of prior experience or success should be construed that a certain level of results or satisfaction will be achieved if Monument is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide investment advisory services. Monument is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.
A copy of the Monument’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request or at www.monumentwealthmanagement.com/disclosures. Please Note: Monument does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to Monument’s website or blog or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility for any such content. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.
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Please Remember: If you are a Monument client, please contact Monument, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services, or if you would like to impose, add, or to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services. Unless, and until, you notify us, in writing, to the contrary, we shall continue to provide services as we do currently. Please Also Remember to advise us if you have not been receiving account statements (at least quarterly) from the account custodian.