Protecting ourselves from fraud, important since the early days of man’s transactions with one another, is increasingly critical given the ease with which modern commerce enables unscrupulous individuals to wreak havoc. As more and more of our jobs, finances, and relationships (our lives, really) transition online at an accelerated pace due to COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to understand how we can protect ourselves from fraud and identity theft. Given the broad range of tactics criminals use and their increasing sophistication, individual consumers and self-directed investors must adapt.
One of the most common types of fraud is financial identity theft. Financial identity theft occurs when someone uses another person's information for financial gain. For example, a fraudster may try to access your account numbers, usernames, or passwords to steal money or make unapproved purchases. As criminals become more sophisticated, it has become harder for many financial institutions to root out potentially fraudulent transactions or stop phishing schemes that put your personal information and account security at risk. Unfortunately, self-directed IRAs are not immune to this.
New Direction Trust Company, like other financial institutions, has an extensive fraud training program for our employees that includes understanding an account holder’s transaction profile and identifying potentially fraudulent transactions. This allows our staff to better identify out-of-the-ordinary transaction requests and implement appropriate procedures to protect your accounts and personal information before they are breached.
We have also implemented several procedures that make it harder for a fraudster to bypass our security controls, including verifying account holder requests, implementing multifactor verification via our online client portal, and using DocuSign Knowledge-Based Authentication for certain account-related requests.
Finally, our robust online portal makes it easy for you to access, review, and manage your account in real time to ensure your personal information is accurate and all transactions are approved.
As an account holder, there are steps you can take to protect your personal information and mitigate potential losses that may occur as a result of fraud. These include the following: