FINRA warns investors of email hackers

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority issued an investor alert about notifying brokerage firms and other financial institutions if someone hacks into your email account.

FINRA has received an increasing number of reports involving investor funds being stolen by individuals who first gain access to the investor’s email account and then email instructions to the firm to transfer money out of the brokerage account. The investor alert warns investors about the potential financial consequences of a compromised email account and provides tips for safeguarding your assets.

“Investors who suspect that their email account has been hacked should immediately notify their brokerage firm and other financial institutions, and anyone who suspects they have been defrauded should file a complaint with FINRA,” said Gerri Walsh, FINRA’s vice president for investor education.

FINRA also issued a Regulatory Notice highlighting some of the risks associated with accepting instructions to transmit or withdraw funds via email and recommending that firms reassess their policies and procedures to ensure they are adequate to protect customer assets from such risks.

The investor alert teaches investors how to tell when their email account has been hacked and informs them of the steps they should take if their personal financial information has been stolen. The Investor Alert also links to a joint fraud alert issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center and Internet Crime Complaint Center that describes a similar trend in which hacked email accounts are being used to facilitate wire transfers.

FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is the largest independent regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States.

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