The Scammers Never Give Up!

05/18/23 | Birchbrook Team | Boughs & Branches

Schwab has notified us that a new scam campaign has been launched against account holders. This one combines computer pop-up messages and phone calls. The scheme “combines elements of electronic tech support scams with impersonations of real personnel at the Federal Reserve and Schwab” with the objective of obtaining clients’ assets and sensitive information. From our Schwab notice:

The scam works as follows:

  1. Clients receive a pop-up message appearing to be from either Microsoft or Apple warning that their computers have been compromised.
  2. The popup instructs clients to call a provided "tech support" number that of course connects them to a fraudster.
  3. After speaking with the fraudsters, they will be contacted by someone claiming to work for Schwab as a "security officer", who informs them their Schwab account is "compromised". In order to protect them, the Schwab employee impersonator tells the client they must transfer their funds into an account in "federal custody", and their money will be returned in three business days, once their account has been "encrypted" for safety.
  4. Once the client follows these instructions, their money disappears.

To make the story believable, clients are receiving personalized paper letters in the mail that purport to be from the Federal Reserve, referencing the real name and titles of genuine Schwab personnel, tech company employees, and FDIC analysts who are supposedly the individuals contacting them by phone. The letter encourages clients to verify each person's identity through their LinkedIn profiles, making the scam even more convincing.

To protect yourself, please remember:

  • Do not click on links or call numbers based on directions from a computer pop-up.
  • If you receive direction to call a “tech support helpline” be sure to verify the phone number independently from the instruction received (we can help with that).
  • Never grant remote access to your Schwab accounts.

If you receive any contact or notice from unverified sources regarding your accounts with Birchbrook, please contact us immediately. We are here to help navigate all of your finance related concerns.