In my weekly blog posts, I answer common questions and concerns that I hear from my individual company 401(k) investment advice clients.
This blog post is very different. Today I write about a personal experience in my own investment accounts.
In mid-May, I closed on the sale of a home. At closing, I deposited a large amount of money by check into my individual checking account at a large national bank. The next day, I transferred the same amount of money into one of my individual investment accounts at a large national investment services firm.
The names of the bank and investment services firm are not important. Let me just say that even casual investors and savers would recognize both names.
Within two weeks of the transfer of funds, my individual investment account was hacked.
The hacker accessed my individual investment account from the main .com web site of this national investment services firm. I have never accessed my individual accounts through that web site. I did not even have a password and log in set up on that web site.
As the investment advisor on my own individual accounts, I always access my investment accounts through a secured web site that I access my investment advisory client accounts.
Here is where it gets really weird.
The hacker set up an approved money transfer from my individual investment account at the national investment services firm to a local bank. In my adult lifetime, I have never had any kind of relationship with this bank.
To summarize, a six-figure amount of money was transferred from my individual investment account on a web site that I never had access. Even worse, the money was transferred to a local bank that does not know that I exist.
I had multiple conversations over the last two weeks with the Fraud Investment Department of the national investment services firm. These are the people that investigate online fraud on a daily basis.
“Mr. Lager, this happens all the time. This is the world that we live in today.” What shocked me is that they responded to these events as a normal course of their daily business.
I am sure that this situation will be resolved soon. On behalf of my investment advice clients, I have an excellent relationship with my investment services firm.
I have been an investment advisor for over 34 years and I take every precaution possible for the online safety of my investment advice clients. If one of my own online investment accounts was compromised, I believe that some of my clients need to take necessary precautions.
This week I will send an e-mail to each one of my individual company 401(k) retirement plan investment advice clients. I will urge them to update their log-in and password information as soon as possible.
Lager & Company, Inc.