One thing confirmed by the recent massive Equifax data breach is that we should all assume our Social Security Number and other personal data has been compromised and act accordingly. This may include adding credit freezes at each of the credit reporting bureaus, a credit monitoring program, regular reviews of asset and credit statements, and additional measures to safeguard your account login details.
We want to specifically address the assets that we manage for you that are in Schwab's custody. We want to make sure you're aware of the protections already in place and additional measures you might take to reduce the risk of unauthorized withdrawals from your accounts. First, note that Schwab offers a security guarantee that covers 100% of any losses in a Schwab account due to unauthorized activity. Please review the details of the Schwab Security Guarantee here.
If a member of the Summit Wealth Advocates team receives an unexpected withdrawal request, we are obligated to verify the request with our client by phone to confirm that it is legitimate. If someone were to call Schwab directly in an attempt to impersonate you and access your accounts, they would need to answer several verification questions (not including your Social Security Number).
The next level of security by phone is that the default methods for a withdrawal are to mail a check to the address on record or transfer it via ACH to a bank account on file. Any attempt at directing money elsewhere (different address, new bank account number, wire transfer, etc.) would require additional verification or paperwork, signed by the client, to authorize the withdrawal.
For the best online security, use unique usernames and passwords as often as possible. The risk is that a data breach somewhere else on the web could be used to hack multiple logins if, for example, you use the same password for all of your online accounts. In addition, do not click on email links to access your accounts, as they may be part of a phishing attempt. Instead, type the website address directly into your web browser.
Schwab also offers several optional security measures that we encourage you to consider. Call 1-800-435-4000 if you'd like to set up any of the following options or to get more information.
- Dual authentication – for online access, this requires a unique one-time code provided to you, in addition to your password, each time you log in to your accounts.
- Voice recognition – access to your accounts by phone will require a voice match to one you provide
- Verbal password – this is a password used to verify your identity by phone, separate from your online password.
For more information on Schwab's account security, review the SchwabSafe website or let us know what additional thoughts or questions you might have.