How to protect yourself
- Review your Edward Jones accounts on a regular basis. You can do this anytime through Online Access.
- If you're enrolled in Online Access and suspect your information has been compromised, promptly change your Edward Jones user name and password. Do not sign on with your Social Security number.
- Periodically inspect your credit report. For more information, visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call (877) 322-8228.
- Never pay money in order to get money.
- Never lend money or purchase with cash without getting a receipt.
- Do not donate cash to a charity, and always ask for a donation receipt. Before you donate, visit www.guidestar.org to confirm if a charity is legitimate.
- Research a business before signing a contract or making a payment of any amount. (The Better Business Bureau is a good source of information.) Then pay the company only after services have been completed to your satisfaction.
- Know before you buy: Check an online seller’s payment options and return policy.
Your personal information
- Carry only necessary personal information with you, and do not share your Social Security number.
- Keep your computer security and anti-virus software up-to-date.
- Do not share confidential information over the Internet or telephone.
- Be skeptical of a new "friend" who asks for funds to be wired to an unknown third party or to a country other than where the friend is located.
- An urgent or outrageous reason for needing cash is usually a red flag – for example, "I need money to get gold or my inheritance through customs" or "pay for a broken part on an oil rig".
- Make sure you research a business or nonprofit whenever you receive a request for cash-only donations or unfamiliar charities that spring up after a natural disaster.
- Be cautious of any request to pay for anything via bitcoin or gift cards.
- Do not readily trust a check made out for more than you were expecting, especially if the payer then asks you to wire back a portion of the proceeds.
- Be skeptical of a request to pay money to get money or a required upfront payment of fees or maintenance costs, including when selling a timeshare.
- Do not send money or personal information to a request claiming to be from high paying work from home jobs that require up-front payment for a computer, software or training.
- A letter indicating you're a "winner" of a sweepstakes when you didn’t enter a contest is typically a scam.
- Do not provide financial information if you receive a notification from an overseas bank or law firm of an inheritance from an unknown relative.
- Be highly suspect of any telephone calls from the IRS or other government agencies requesting a payment — do not provide financial information over the phone
- Watch out for emails containing spelling errors, bad grammar or a link that appears unrelated to the sender — these are typically red flags.
- Do not respond to or provide personal information when you receive calls from purported computer technicians alleging they’ve detected a virus or other problems on your home computer. These notifications could also include emails, attachments or pop-up screens on your computer.
- Keep an eye out for statements that don’t arrive as expected.
- Be skeptical if the Social Security Administration (SSA) contacts you to advise your Social Security number was used in a crime, has been frozen, or will be deleted. The real SSA will not call and ask for your Social Security number or threaten your benefits.
- You should look into any unexpected credit cards or account statements, or collection calls or letters about purchases you didn’t make, and compare to your records if possible.
- Denials of credit for no apparent reason or significant, unexplained changes in your credit score may be a sign of your identity having been compromised.
- Be wary of requests for personal information in a situation that usually wouldn’t require this disclosure
For older adults
- Concern or confusion about missing funds from an account may be a red flag.
- Keep an eye out if they mention unexplained changes in beneficiary designations.
- Pay careful attention if a caregiver is isolating the older person from family, friends, community and other stable relationships.
- Be suspicious of any acquaintances or family members who seem overly interested in the older adult’s finances.
- Be wary of new “friends” who suddenly need money.
- Never give power of attorney to someone you don’t know well.
- Never sign a contract that includes blank lines.
Contact your financial advisor
If you’ve been victimized by a scam involving your Edward Jones account, contact your local financial advisor for further guidance. You should also report the crime to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).