Personal Security Insights: Proven Strategies for Safeguarding Wealth and Family

December 02, 2020

By Michael Morris

Once again EisnerAmper had the honor of sponsoring the LIDO Family Office Symposium, now taking place virtually. One panel I felt was very interesting was security to protect wealth for a family office and the family members. The speaker, Gary Rossi, couldn’t be better qualified to speak on this topic: Gary spent 14 years with the FBI, and was Chief of the FBI’s undercover and sensitive operations unit at FBI HQ in Washington DC. So he has my attention.

It starts like this: Criminals go phishing via emails and fake web sites. Once a victim clicks on a particular link, as so many do, the criminals work fast, gaining access to the victims’ accounts and personal information. Once this is accomplished, they move assets offshore as soon as possible.

Often, criminals cast as wide a net as possible on the internet; they call this ‘whaling.’ Setting traps through fake websites and links, they bait victims in, and then capture vital information.

Examples: Two days before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, 100 fake websites went up to help hurricane victims. When COVID-19 came to the USA, 1800 fake websites were set up. The scenario is: If you click on a malicious link, malware is placed on your system, and the criminals have entered the house, so to speak, with plans to rob you. They gain control of your accounts with passwords and personal information. They set up bank accounts in your name, and then transfer money to them in the U.S. Once that’s done they move the cash offshore; research indicates that it’s most common that it lands in Asia.

Rossi provided essential strategies that individuals and families should put into place to protect loved ones and businesses. These strategies include:

  1. Use two-factor authentication.
  2. If you feel you may have been exposed, immediately freeze your credit.
  3. Consider using a dedicated device to do all your banking and investment transactions.
  4. Use and update your antivirus software.

It’s always a good idea to talk to your professionals – accountants, attorneys. And for more information on safeguarding your wealth and family, visit: Identity Theft — FBI

About Michael Morris

Mr. Morris is a Director of Business Development, specializing in accounting, tax, and consulting services across a broad range of industries including financial services, real estate, and family offices.