Chicago-based Stoltmann Law Offices offers nationwide representation to investors who’ve suffered losses from brokerage accounts that have been hacked or otherwise compromised. In a world in which most brokerage accounts can be accessed online or through smart phones, cybersecurity has become a paramount issue. Log-in information is being stolen by cyberthieves, who then gain access to account information. FINRA, the primary U.S. securities regulator, recently noted that “cybercriminals are perfecting their methods of taking over customer accounts,” according to Financial Advisor Magazine.
“Account takeovers involve bad actors using compromised customer information, such as customers’ log-in credentials, to gain unauthorized entry to their online brokerage accounts,” Financial Advisor reported. “The methods of attack include phishing emails, fake websites, cell phone apps and fraudsters calling customers pretending to be registered reps from the customers’ firms to acquire personal information.”
One of the most common methods used by criminals to steal information is known as “phishing.” They will pose as a bank or brokerage firm to gain log-in or account numbers, then proceed to steal from the person whose account is compromised. Scam artists “aren’t just asking for usernames and log-ins, but are taking a more aggressive approach,” said Bob Colby, FINRA’s chief legal officer. “Once you pick up the phone or click on a link, they ask for names, phone numbers and your mother’s maiden names to mirror real interactions. They’re being super aggressive,” Colby added. Criminals may even be able to “take over” and control a brokerage account.