Scam Alert – Sophisticated New Tech Support Scam Targets Charles Schwab Clients
May 19, 2023
Allied Investment Advisors became aware of a new scam campaign combining computer pop-up messages and phone calls to some Charles Schwab clients. This advanced scheme combines elements of electronic tech support scams with impersonations of real personnel at the Federal Reserve and Charles Schwab to attempt to obtain clients' assets and sensitive data.
The scam works as follows:
- A client receives a pop-up message on their computer appearing to be from either Microsoft or Apple warning that their computer has been compromised.
- The pop-up message instructs the client to call a provided "tech support" number that of course connects them to a fraudster.
- After speaking with the fraudsters, the client is contacted by someone claiming to work for Charles Schwab as a "security officer", who informs them their Charles Schwab account is "compromised". In order to protect the client, the Schwab employee impersonator tells the client they must transfer their funds into an account in "federal custody", and their money will be returned in three business days, once their account has been "encrypted" for safety.
- Once the client follows these instructions, their money disappears.
To make the story believable, Charles Schwab clients are receiving personalized paper letters in the mail that purport to be from the Federal Reserve, referencing the real name and titles of genuine Charles Schwab personnel, tech company employees, and FDIC analysts who are supposedly the individuals contacting them by phone. The letter encourages clients to verify each person's identity through their LinkedIn profiles, making the scam even more convincing.
What steps can you take to protect yourself?
- Do not click on links or call based on instructions from a computer pop-up.
- Always verify the phone numbers for tech support providers independently.
- Never grant remote access to your Charles Schwab account or any other financial account to anyone.
- Enroll in Charles Schwab’s advanced account authentication with two-step account verification.
- Sign up for Charles Schwab’s Voice ID that requires using a passphrase over the phone anytime you call into Schwab’s customer service line.
What steps does Allied Investment Advisors take to protect our clients?
- Any time Allied receives a move money request via email or text, an Allied employee calls the client, using the phone number we have on file, and gets a verbal confirmation on all move money transactions.
- Allied uses a secure email system anytime we are sending personal identifiable information such as an account number or social security number.
- Allied conducts ongoing employee education aimed at identifying and stopping fraud attempts.
Stay ALERT and stay VIGILANT!
If you suspect a scam or if you have fallen victim to a scam, please call our office immediately at 406-839-2037 or contact Schwab Alliance customer service at 800-515-2157.
For additional information or to log onto your Charles Schwab account go to www.schwab.com