Charles Schwab has informed us about a sophisticated new tech support scam targeting clients of Schwab. Our clients’ security and well-being are important to us, and we want to ensure you are aware of this potential threat and the resources available to you.
This scam operates by combining computer pop-up messages with phone calls. Here’s how the scam operates:
- You may receive a pop-up message appearing to be from either Microsoft or Apple, alerting you that your computer has been compromised.
- The pop-up instructs you to call a provided “tech support” number, which connects you to a fraudster.
- After speaking with the fraudsters, you will be contacted by someone impersonating a Schwab “security officer.” They will inform you that your Schwab account has been compromised and, to safeguard your funds, instruct you to transfer them into an account under “federal custody.” They assure you that your money will be returned in three business days, once your account has been “encrypted” for added safety.
- Unfortunately, if you were to follow these instructions, your funds would be gone.
To add credibility to their scheme, the scammers are sending personalized paper letters via mail, purporting to be from the Federal Reserve. These letters reference the real names and titles of actual Schwab personnel, tech company employees and FDIC analysts who supposedly contact you by phone. The letter encourages you to verify each person’s identity through their LinkedIn profiles, making the scam even more convincing.
If you are a target of this scam, here are steps to take:
- Do not click on links or call any phone numbers listed in the computer pop-up.
- Always verify the phone numbers for tech providers or Schwab independently.
- Never grant remote access to your personal devices or to any websites with sensitive information, including your Schwab accounts.
- Check with your Investment Advisor or Client Service Associate. They can assist in determining if the requests from Schwab are legitimate and can help if your accounts have been compromised.
Our clients’ trust and safety are important to us. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our dedicated Client Services team. They can assist with further guidance on how to protect your accounts in the event of identity theft or a fraud attempt.
Together, we can navigate this challenging landscape and protect your financial well-being.