Recently, Schwab notified us that they have received reports that scam callers have been impersonating Schwab by phone and requesting non-public client information, including Social Security numbers. In these calls, the caller ID displays the name “Charles Schwab”, and a Denver area code. If you receive suspicious calls posing as Schwab or any other trusted party, hang up immediately, and then call Schwab at 1-800-435-4000 (or the other organization on their listed phone number) to discuss the situation as soon as possible.
Note: Except in very specific circumstances, Schwab will generally not call to ask for personal information. The exception to this rule would involve a request that was already initiated by you or your Deerfield team.
The term for this scam is “vishing”—essentially phishing, but via the phone. These callers will use “social engineering”—that is, playing on human trust and emotions—to attempt to trick you into providing private information over the phone that the scammer can then use to illegally acquire further private information or assets.
Unfortunately, making a phone number appear to be associated with an individual or association that it’s not (also known as “spoofing”) is a very easy thing for scammers to do. No matter where the caller is located, they can appear to be calling from a local area code, or from the same area code as a trusted institution like Schwab, or even a government agency like the Social Security Administration. Often, if you don’t answer, they will leave a message asking you to call them back. Sometimes these kinds of scams will employ an answering service or even a call center where the employees are unaware of the crime being perpetrated.
As phishing attempts continue to evolve and find new attack vectors, we must all be vigilant.
To help protect against this, please keep in mind the following.
- Be mindful of such attacks and be suspicious of unexpected requests for sensitive information over the phone.
- Take time to think through the situation before reacting.
- Do not give out your SSN, bank account number, or any personally identifiable information over the phone unless you’re the one who initiated the call—for example, if you have called a phone number associated with a documented customer service line.
- Remember that companies—including Schwab—generally do not call to request your personal information.
For additional tips, best practices and steps you can take to protect your data, information and assets, please download our document, Tips for Preventing Fraud.
If you know or suspect that you have been a victim of a cyberattack, including Social Security fraud and identity theft, please contact your Deerfield team immediately and download our document, How to Respond to a Data Breach.
If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact your Deerfield team.