On September 7, 2017, the credit monitoring company Equifax announced a “cybersecurity incident” involving unauthorized access to consumer information affecting up to 143 million customers. According to an Equifax statement, the unauthorized access occurred from mid-May through July 2017. Information accessed primarily included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some instances, driver’s license numbers. Equifax has stated that they will NOT be sending out emails to possible victims, so do not click on any emails from Equifax. More information on the breach can be found at https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.
We want to reassure you that this in an Equifax incident and is not related in any way to Schwab data or systems.
It can be unnerving to hear about so many information breaches, and you may be wondering how you can protect your data. We want you to know that Schwab goes to great lengths to protect your information, and has many safeguards in place to guard against identity theft. You can also add optional security measures by contacting Schwab. These options include:
- Setting up optional Voice ID Authentication and verbal passwords when you call into Schwab Alliance. When you call in and ask to set up Voice ID, Schwab has you repeat a phrase (“At Schwab, my voice is my password”) three times. They record your voice, and have special technology that matches your unique voice patterns to the recording to verify your identity. You can also set a verbal password (a code word) that only you know. Once these safeguards are set up, no one can get any information over the phone without the verbal password or the voice ID.
- Optional 2-Factor Authentication Tokens are available. The token is a small keychain that provides a unique 6-digit numeric code that is added to your password when logging into www.Schwab.com. For example, if your password is GoBuckeyes2017!, your password with the token would become GoBuckeyes2017!123456, and that 6-digit number on the end would change every time you log in. Without the code from your token, no one can log in, even if someone has your password.
- You can set up Voice ID/Verbal Passwords or request a 2-Factor Authentication token for your account by calling Schwab Alliance at 1-800-515-2157.
PLUS—and most importantly for your peace of mind—Schwab offers the Schwab Security Guarantee, which is automatically provided to all Schwab clients. This guarantee states: Schwab will cover 100% of any losses in any of your Schwab accounts due to unauthorized activity. You can read more about the Schwab Security Guarantee at www.schwab.com.
As always, we at Whitcomb & Hess are here to help. If you suspect that you have been the target of identity theft of ANY kind, not just related to Schwab, please call our office and request a copy of Schwab’s Identity Theft Checklist, “How to Respond to a Data Breach”. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us at 419-289-7007.