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Identity Theft Update

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Take a glance through recent headlines and chances are you will find that yet another large corporation has been the victim of a cyber attack. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center (, through mid-July of this year alone there have been 424 data breaches compromising more than 129 million consumer records! Whether it is high-tech, large-scale attacks on Fortune 500 companies, email phishing, or low-tech phone fraud schemes, it is more important than ever to be vigilant in monitoring and protecting your credit and personal information.

At Foster & Motley, we take your personal information seriously. All employees vigilantly monitor for suspicious email or account activity.  We communicate sensitive information through our encrypted online client vault.  Schwab, our trusted custodian partner, has created SchwabSafe™ which is a collection of additional security measures designed to keep your personal and financial information safe.   

Consider the following practical steps to protect yourself against identity theft:  

Be wary of emails or phone calls requesting personal information: The IRS and financial institutions will never request sensitive personal information via email. If you receive a suspicious email, do not respond to it or click on any link. If you receive a suspicious phone call, hang up and call the financial institution in question directly.

Review your free credit report annually: Federal law requires the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies-Equifax, Experian and TransUnion - to provide you with a free credit report every 12 months. Take advantage of this! If you find something inaccurate, contact the credit agency and the provider for the account in question immediately.

Never carry your social security number with you: Keep your social security card locked in a secure location. Shred documents with sensitive information. Do not leave documents with personal information in open areas at home or at work. Secure documents you wish to maintain, and shred the rest. We can even shred documents on your behalf.

Create a strong password for your online accounts: Include a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Use a unique password for each financial institution.  Consider using a password manager program such as 1Password or Keeper.

Secure your wireless network: An open network is an easy path for thieves to gain entry to personal information on your computer and devices connected to your home network. Enable your wireless router’s security function and choose a strong password to grant access to trusted users.

If you think you may be a victim of identity fraud, act quickly! Call your Foster & Motley team as well as your bank, credit card companies, and Schwab.

Additional identity theft resources:

FTC Consumer Privacy website( and the Identity Theft Resource Center (