Cell Phone SIM Swap Scam

Just when we thought we were safe by setting up two-step authentication on our accounts, hackers are getting smarter and scamming us in a different way. The new scam is when a hacker calls your cell phone service provider, pretends to be you and says that you lost your phone and need to activate the new one. They do this by having enough personal information about you to convince the cell phone provider that it is really you. Once they have this information all your texts, phone calls and anything else you receive on your phone will be transferred to their phone and yours will be deactivated. So, all those text messages you receive when logging into your accounts will go directly to the new phone and right into the hacker's hands. This is scary stuff. Please read the following article with the detailed information on the scam and ways to protect yourself from having it happen to you.

How To Prevent and Respond to a SIM Swap Scan

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What Happens to Your Social Media & Online Accounts When You Die?

Until very recently there was really no estate planning direction on how your social media and online accounts should be handled after you pass away. If you're like me, I have multiple social media accounts and have opted to go paperless on every account that I can. Though this is the most convenient option for us now it may pose a problem when you pass away and there are no instructions or information left for your loved ones. I recently listened to a webinar hosted by TLD Law that gave out some great information and tips on how these digital assets should be handled.

First, we'll talk about what digital assets really are. Digital assets are considered any electronic record that is stored in an online account, not the online account itself. For example: You have a Gmail account, the Gmail account and address are not considered a digital asset. The digital assets would be any emails, pictures or other files in the email account.

Here are some other examples of digital assets:

Airplane Miles, Social Media, Software Licenses, Websites, Cryptocurrencies and any other digital file stored with in an online account or your computer; think Shutterfly, iCloud etc.

One quick way to ensure that your digital assets are taken care of after you die is buy completing a Power of Attorney specifically for those digital assets. The Power of Attorney should have a digital assets provision in it.

If you have a trust in place you should check it to see if there is a provision for digital assets. If the trust document was drafted before 2017 it likely does not, and you will need to amend the trust accordingly.

In the trust and power of attorney documents you should give clear instructions on how you would like your digital assets taken care of when you pass away.

By law, anyone you give this responsibility to will have a fiduciary duty of care, loyalty and confidentiality to uphold. What that means is that they are not allowed to share any personal information that has not already been made public.

A lot of online sites have either legacy contact information or inactive user account manager options that you can set up in your account profiles. Whoever you designate will be contacted after a certain length of time, usually chosen by you, where your account has not been active.

It's important to note that by giving some power of attorney over your digital assets, the companies that hold that information are not legally required to give them access to the online accounts. It is very important to compile an ongoing list of all of your online accounts as well as passwords and keep it in a safe place that your trusted person knows about. Downloading this information onto a hard drive and keeping it in a safety deposit box or fireproof safe are a couple of options. If you simply just give someone this information without the proper legal documents their attempt to log into your account may be misconstrued as computer fraud and may be prosecuted. Especially in the case of elderly parents or grandparents, because there is a heightened awareness of elderly abuse.

There is a ton more information and tips online. I highly encourage you to do some research and get these provisions in place.

 

 

 

 

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Insurance Coverage Check Up

Watching the news coverage of Hurricane Dorian this past week as well as the fire in Murrieta, had us sympathizing for the people in their path, what they were going through and how their lives would be affected by these natural disasters. Naturally, this also made us start thinking of our own preparedness for a natural disaster. We recently posted about creating your own emergency kits for your homes. Another thing to think of is what happens to your home and other belongings that were damaged during one of these incidents. It's important to periodically review your insurance policies to make sure that your coverage is sufficient. Our lives are constantly changing, which means you could have recently done a remodel to your home or purchased a brand-new computer. Will your homeowner's insurance cover these new and improved items? One way to make sure is to keep an updated inventory of your personal belongings as well as any documentation for upgrades you have done to your home. Without this documentation your homeowner's insurance may just pay you the basic value of these items and you will not recoup the increased value. One tip I read about, and which seems like the easiest way to inventory your property is to walk around your home with your phone and take a video of each room with its contents. In the video you would show the items of most value and explain what they are. Not only will this prove the items existence, but most phones are hooked up to a cloud-based recovery system. So even if you lose or damage your phone in a disaster the video will be saved to the cloud. Obviously, you would not want to share this video with anyone and should keep it private. No posting to social media sites like FB or Instagram as this could make you a target for break ins. Even if you "know" everyone on your friend lists. We still recommend keeping physical documentation either in a fireproof box, safety deposit box or a flash drive but it never hurts to have more proof. You may also want to look into additional flood and earthquake policies.  Maybe you decided to skip these policies when you first bought your home because they can be pricey, or you went with a higher deductible. Now would be the time to get a check up to see if these supplemental policies are right for you.

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Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day

In observance of Labor Day, our office will be closed Monday, September 2nd. We will resume normal business hours on Tuesday, September 3rd.

Wishing all of our clients a happy and safe Labor Day weekend!

 

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Thank You! Thank you! Thank You!

Wow, is all we can say! We were blown away by how many clients were able to make it to our Ice Cream Social this year. This is truly one of our favorite events of the year because we get to see our clients out of the office in a fun atmosphere all while eating delicious ice cream. Here are some pictures from the Ice Cream Social. If you weren't able to make it this year, we hope to see you at the next one!

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Emergency Preparedness Kit

Considering the recent earthquakes we just had, we thought it was a good idea to send out a reminder about either updating or creating your home emergency kit. We know that this can be a time-consuming project and a lot of people put it off or don't don one altogether but this is something that can be a true lifesaver.

I found some really good checklists you can use as your starting pints. These checklists are not a one size fits all, so you should customize them for your family's specific needs. One of the checklists suggest updating your emergency kit each time we fall back or spring forward, I love this idea! Makes it really easy to remember.

Here are the checklists:

EEChecklist-Kits.pdf

stockpilingchecklist.pdf

The most common items that people forget to include in their kits are toilet paper and a bucket for peronal hygiene needs. Definitely two things you don't want to do without!

I was also able to find some premade kits on Amazon. I don't think that any of these kits will have everything that you need but it is an easy way to add necessary items to your kit without much work on your part.

Emergency Zone 4 Person Family Prep 72 Hour Survival Kit/Go-Bag

Rescue Guard First Aid Kit Hurricane Disaster or Earthquake Emergency Survival Bug Out Bag Supplies for Families

Mountain House Just In Case 14-Day Emergency Food Supply

Augason Farms 30-Day Emergency Food Storage Supply 29 lb 4.37 oz 8.5 Gallon Pail

 

 

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Keeping You Updated

As you know, all of us at Asset Planning put our clients personal and financial well-being as our number one priority. One of the ways we do this is by keeping you updated on any potential dangers when it comes to fraud and scams that we hear about. While doing research on a scam we were alerted to, I came across the Federal Trade Commission website. Along with many other self-help topics, there are two sections dedicated to privacy, identity & online security and scams. There you can find useful tips and recent information on scams going around. I found this website to be a useful tool in my research and I was even able to sign up for email notifications to alert me to any new scams they have been notified of. If you are interested in keeping up with the latest news on these sorts of things click on this link and sign up for email updates.

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Sandy is Quoted in Financial Planning Magazine

On June 7, 2019, Sandy was quoted in an article in Financial Planning Magazine about the habits of highly successful advisors.

Check it out here!

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More Scam Alerts and Security Tips

We've come across a few more scams that we thought you should be aware of...

The first one is a scam where an unknown number will call you and only ring once or twice and not leave a message. Your first instinct is to call them back to see who it is. It turns out that it is a 900 number you are calling back and you get charged for the call. The phone companies are not reversing the charges for these calls so be weary on calling back unusual numbers. My thought is if it's important whoever is calling you will leave a message.

Next, a client alerted us to a company that is offering free cell phones to seniors with low income. They ask for all your personal information such as social security numbers, drivers license numbers, etc. There are some legit companies out there that do offer these programs but there are also scammers out there trying to steal identities. Before giving out your personal information be sure to do your research on the company or person who you're dealing with. You don't want your information getting in the wrong hands.

Lastly, stay vigilant with people calling or emailing you and asking for your personal information. Legitimate companies will never call or email you to get passwords or social security numbers. One way to tell in an email is by looking at the grammar. More times than not on a scam email the grammar will be wrong. Also, NEVER click on a link sent to you in an email from someone you don't recognize. If you are in doubt about whether a request for information is legitimate or not, always call the company back on a number that you have looked up yourself, so you know that you're actually calling the right place.

If you have any scams that you would like to tell us about, so we can alert our clients, please email me at melani@assetplanninginc.com

We hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!

Melani

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Spam Calls

In an earlier blog post, we told you about an app called NomoRobo that blocks unwanted robotic and spam phone calls. I've been paying a monthly fee of $1.99 and it has been totally worth it. I just learned however, that cell phone carriers offer this service for free. For AT&T subscriber's, you can download an app called AT&T Call Protect. Verizon's app is called Verizon Call Filter and for T-Mobile customers there is no app. You just need to turn on the Scam ID and Scam Block Service.

Even though I feel like paying for NomoRobo has saved me from getting all of those annoying unwanted calls, I'm definitely going to try the service from my provider. Why pay for something if you can get it for free? Hopefully this helps some of you who didn't know about these blocking tools from getting unwanted phone calls.

Have a great weekend!

Melani

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