It’s a pretty common occurrence to hear someone has had their identity stolen, or credit cards duplicated, or bank account compromised. Despite the security industry’s best efforts, there are still weak links in the chain when it comes to our financial information and access. The best time to add additional security to your online or phone access is BEFORE someone tries to log in or call in as you. Because Cadence Wealth custodies most of its client assets at Charles Schwab, we are able to pass along the various ways to increase the security on Schwab accounts, but we encourage you to explore how to increase the security on all your financial accounts, regardless of the institution. It does not take that long to add additional security, and as secure as you may feel your current level of access is, it’s not as secure as it could be if you haven’t taken these steps.
For your Schwab accounts, verify that the mobile phone number and email address attached to your accounts are correct. For many of these steps, and any time you try to access Schwab from a device for the first time, you will need to be emailed or texted a passcode.
To prevent someone from logging into your Schwab accounts via the Internet – Including if you’ve never logged in and never intend to do so!
Most of us have already had to receive a text from our wireless service provider or any other number of companies with which we do business to verify who we are when trying to access information or perform a task, even when we already have a username and password established. Schwab offers a similar level of additional security every time you log in to your accounts via the Schwab Alliance website or via the Schwab mobile application. Anyone trying to log in as you would also need to have physical possession of your phone, or to whichever device you have your secure code sent.
You have two options with Schwab: load a security code application on one of your devices, or have a text sent to you any time you want to log in. Either method will get you a six digit code you add to the end of your password when logging in. It’s a different number every time you access your accounts. We at Cadence use the security application on our phones and are very comfortable using that method. One head’s up: If you go that route instead of receiving a text from Schwab and you replace whatever device you load the application on, you will have to disable the two-factor verification on your account before you re-load the application; if you choose the texting option, you will not have to contend with that.
To establish the two-factor verification for using the Schwab website or Schwab mobile application, you have to log into your account via the website in order to turn the feature on – even for the mobile application. After that you can use the mobile application with the security code or text message addition and not have to go back into the website.
Here are the steps. If you’re going to use the security token option, you will first need to load the VIP Access from Symantec application onto a device via your device’s application store. It is free. You only load it onto one device.
1. Log into Schwab. If you haven’t yet created a Schwab account, you will need to do that first.
2. Select “Service” toward the top of the page.
3. Select “Security Center”.
4. Go to 2-step Verification.
5. Select “Always at Login”.
6. Choose between text and security token.
7. Whichever you choose, follow the steps that appear on the screen.
2. Security Alerts
While establishing your two-factor authentication, you will see there are additional security options. One is the ability to receive a text message any time changes occur to your login ID, password, email address, or phone number. All you have to do is put a check in the box to select that feature. We recommend that as well. Inside the Schwab mobile application, you would go into the “Alert Settings” to enable this functionality.
3. Extra Mobile Device Protections.
Just like phones and tablets can be passcode-enabled in order to access them, you can establish a passcode for just the Schwab mobile application. After you choose the six digit passcode, it’s the same every time. Two-factor authentication protects you from someone who doesn’t have access to your phone or tablet; the mobile application passcode protects you against someone who can get into your phone or tablet from also being able to get into your Schwab accounts. You just need to get into the Security Settings in the mobile application to enable that.
Additionally, for devices that allow you to log into password protected accounts via a thumb scan or facial recognition, you can also enable that with your Schwab mobile application. You can either select those toggle switches when you log into your Schwab mobile application, or you can go into the Security Settings in the Schwab mobile app to enable that.
4. Completely Disabling Online/Mobile Access.
If you do not use online access at all to view your Schwab accounts, or if you would like to temporarily suspend it, you can have online access completely disabled for you and anyone else who may try to log in as you. You would just have to call Schwab at 800-515-2157 to get your online access completely locked up, and also opened up again if you change your mind. Even if you’ve never accessed your Schwab accounts via the Schwab Internet site or a mobile application, you can have it locked up so no one else could try to create a username and password to try to gain access.
TO INCREASE SECURITY WHEN YOU CALL SCHWAB:
To prevent someone from calling Schwab and posing as you to gain information or remove funds.
1. Adding a Password.
Someone cannot just call Schwab and pose as you; they would need additional information about you and your Schwab accounts. However, that may be more possible than we think, so you can add a verbal password or passphrase for phone access. Nothing can be done over the phone without that word or phrase. If you enable this level of security, you really, really do not want to forget the password as it’s a real pain to re-establish access if you forget the password. That is not meant to discourage you; protecting phone access to your accounts SHOULD be a serious matter, so re-establishing or changing the password should not be easy once you have it enabled.
2. Adding Voice ID.
You can also add a voice ID, whereby Schwab records your voice and that becomes the security token. According to Schwab, it’s virtually impossible for someone to fool the technology. You would call Schwab and tell them you want to enable this feature. You will then repeat the phrase “at Schwab, my voice is my password” as many times as prompted, and that is that.
3. You could do both #1 and #2 if you want to lock phone access up as tightly as possible.
TO SUMMARIZE ALL YOUR SECURITY OPTIONS:
1. Use two-factor verification to prevent someone who does not have access to your mobile phone (or similar device) from being able to log into your Schwab accounts.
2. Use mobile device safeguards like an additional Schwab passcode, thumb scan, or facial recognition to protect against someone who may have access to your mobile devices from logging in to your Schwab accounts.
3. Enable security alerts to let you know if the username, password, email address or phone number associated with your accounts change.
4. Use 1, 2, and 3 together.
5. If you are never going to use the Internet to access your Schwab accounts, call Schwab to have that access completely locked down.
6. Add a password or phrase to your phone access to prevent someone from posing as you on the phone. If you do, make sure you write that information in a secure place where you can remember where it is.
7. Add voice recognition to prevent someone from calling in and posing as you.
8. Use 6 and 7 together!
9. If you have any other security needs, or would like help with any of this, call Schwab at 800-515-2157.
It would be great if we didn’t need these security enhancements, and it would also be great if Monopoly money was real, but that’s the world we all live in. The amount of time it takes to add these security measures pales in comparison to the amount of time it takes to get money added back into an account, and for fraudulent activities to be investigated. We are not able to catalog every single kind of device our clients use, and every last bit of device security they may experience as they access their Schwab accounts, so if you experience anything different from what is described above as you take action on these items, please call Charles Schwab at 800-515-2157. We do appreciate their willingness to keep our clients’ assets secure.
We cannot urge you enough to take action on these items; protect what you’ve worked so hard to accumulate!
Editors Note: This article was originally published in the March 2021 edition of our “Cadence Clips” newsletter.
This blog is provided for informational purposes and is not to be considered investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell securities. Cadence Wealth Management, LLC, a registered investment advisor, may only provide advice after entering into an advisory agreement and obtaining all relevant information from a client. The investment strategies mentioned here may not be suitable for everyone. Each investor needs to review an investment strategy for his or her own particular situation before making any investment decision.
Past performance is not indicative of future results. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. Index performance does not reflect charges and expenses and is not based on actual advisory client assets. Index performance does include the reinvestment of dividends and other distributions
The views expressed in the referenced materials are subject to change based on market and other conditions. These documents may contain certain statements that may be deemed forward‐looking statements. Please note that any such statements are not guarantees of any future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected. Any projections, market outlooks, or estimates are based upon certain assumptions and should not be construed as indicative of actual events that will occur. Data contained herein from third party providers is obtained from what are considered reliable sources. However, its accuracy, completeness or reliability cannot be guaranteed.
Examples provided are for illustrative purposes only and not intended to be reflective of results you can expect to achieve.