How Financial Advisors Can Help Clients with Cybersecurity
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How Financial Advisors Can Help Clients with Cybersecurity

By Matt Oechsli | @mattoechsli

What do Yahoo, Under Armor, and MySpace have in common? Here’s a hint, the same thing as Marriott and Equifax – they’ve all been hacked on a massive scale in the hundreds of millions. Whether it’s the wealthiest man in the world, the founder of Amazon – Jeff Bezos, or the Russians interfering with our elections, it seems that everywhere we turn we hear about another breach of cybersecurity.

And your clients are paying attention. However, paying attention and making certain the right steps are being taken are often worlds apart. Herein lies one of those perfect opportunities to add value to your top clients. How so? Well, there’s a strong probability that most haven’t taken even some of the most basic steps regarding cybersecurity. This is also an excellent way to work with the next generation of your wealthy families.

The following 12 Cybersecurity Tips could be the theme of a family meeting, or presented in a lunch-n-learn workshop…

Convince Them

They’re a target and you’re not being a fear monger because you are going to help them better protect themselves online. Most people don’t realize how vulnerable they really are, i.e. Jeff Bezos.

Review Their Password Protection Process

I include myself in this category (I’m in the process of upgrading), but most passwords are child’s play for anyone with good computer skills. If you doubt this, ask someone who’s computer savvy to try to figure out your password. The basic rule of thumb is that eight characters isn’t enough.

Explain RFID Protection

You probably know or have heard of someone who’s had their credit card information stolen while the card was in their possession. This theft is done electronically. There are a number of companies that have developed travel bags, wallets and credit card holders with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) protection – which protects that little chip on your card which houses your card number and expiration date from electronic theft. A timely and inexpensive “surprise & delight” is an RFID protected credit card sleeve, I purchased mine from ID Stronghold.

Email Scams

These scams have become commonplace because people are so gullible. As their financial advisor you want teach them the basics; give examples of attempts to pose as a reputable source, i.e. major bank, IRS, etc., and make certain they understand to never open an email attachment from an unknown or questionable sender.

Lock All Devices

This is basic rule of thumb. A simple walk through of your devices is all that’s required. People tend to skip this step because, well, it’s a step. Emphasize the importance.

Practice Safe Clicking

This should be standard operating procedure; never click on an email that is questionable and never open an email attachment from an unknown sender.

Physical Cyber Safety

Malware can spread through infected flash drives, external hard drives and even smart phones. Making clients aware of this will usually suffice.

Beware of Browsing

The more your client browses, the more they put their personal information at risk. Help your clients create guidelines for Google searches; only reputable companies, organizations, etc.

Back up Everything Important

Yes, we’ve got the cloud, but many clients are wanting hard copies, especially of their financial records. In fact, we’ve had an increased demand for our Financial Organizer (a 3-ring document binder). People don’t trust having all their important information stored only online.

Share Less Information

This goes hand-to-glove with “safe clicking” and “beware of browsing” – the idea is to be very careful with whom you share your information; remember Equifax and Marriott were both hacked.

Second Cell Phone Number

Google voice offers a second phone number that you can use when asked for a cell number, which you can set up to be forwarded to your actual cell phone. Hackers have found flaws in two-factor identification (2FA) that allow them to break into your phone.

Stay on Top of Your Accounts

Personal vigilance is the key. As their financial advisor, help create a process for systematically reviewing all accounts, and helping them to know what to look for.

This is real-time value add. Recently a financial advisor I know held a lunch-n-learn on RFID Protection. Clients and prospects attended, it was extremely well received, everyone received an RFID credit card sleeve, and word-of-mouth-influence began before the event was concluded.

Not only have you reinforced your value as their family’s personal financial advisor, you’ve further protected yourself from the Robo movement.

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  • You hold a review meeting… and your client understands your real value
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The Oechsli Learning Center is based on research of over 2,000 advisors. The courses are designed to provide easy to implement, practical advice.