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Protect Yourself Online, Learn From My Mistake

My identity has been stolen twice.  One time, someone used my personal information to order custom business suits as well as $10,000 of merchandise from five different stores miles away from my home using same day credit approval.  Another time, someone stole my information from a closed car dealership at which an employee sold off customer financial data including mine.  Thankfully, I was not personally responsible for any of the purchases, but I spent a lot of time getting everything cleaned up.

As a Registered Investment Advisor, BetterWealth has a duty to diligently protect our clients’ privacy and guard against identity theft.  We are committed to keeping your information secure.  While we take many internal measures to protect your information, there are also measures you can take to help protect yourself and your financial accounts.  There are really three levels of security working on your side: our measures, your custodian’s efforts, and regulations set for the industry. Here’s a quick look at each:

  • BetterWealth – Whenever we receive an email from a client requesting a money transfer, IRA distribution, change of address, etc., it’s our practice to call and verify the request directly with the client. Additionally, we monitor cash movements into, out of, and between client accounts on a daily basis. If anything looks new or out of the ordinary, we’ll pick up the phone and call the client to discuss. History has taught us that client contact goes a long way in preventing fraudulent behavior.
  • Custodian Level Security – TD Ameritrade is the custodian for most of our client's accounts. They are in charge of safekeeping your assets, collecting dividends and interest, settling trades, and issuing you monthly account statements. BetterWealth does not benefit from any of this account activity; we have the same relationship with TD Ameritrade that we have with the Starbucks store down the street. Our clients pay TD Ameritrade through trading commissions and benefit from the many processes and safeguards they have put in place to protect your assets. 
  • Regulatory Level Security – BetterWealth is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). Since our client assets are over $100 million, we are regulated at the federal level by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  The mission of the SEC is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation.  The SEC works on a national level, as well as a firm level, to establish the best practices and guidelines to better protect individual investors identity.  Disclosure: registration with the SEC does not imply a certain level of skill or training. 

Here are some key things you can do every day to protect your data: 

  • Closely monitor personal accounts and credit reports
  • Frequently review online records, credit profiles, and account statements to be better aware of any potential identity theft problems
  • In the event of any suspicious activity, notify financial institutions and credit agencies immediately.
  • Understand the steps to take in the event that personal information is compromised

Below are some important resources that you may find helpful:

Identity theft, stolen credit card numbers, and other financial frauds seem to be commonplace in today’s news. Awareness is key to preventing breaches of personal information and quickly regaining control of accounts in the event of a fraudulent attempt.

We ask that you notify us immediately if you change any of your contact information or suspect that your email account or financial account has been compromised. Please call (408) 659-2390 and we will assist you with this matter.