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 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 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. Even if the name on the caller ID looks familiar, hang up and call back at a number you know.
- 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. Examples include: "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 requesting 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 upfront 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. Scammers make caller ID information appear legitimate.
- Watch out for emails containing spelling errors, poor 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. Scammers make caller ID information appear legitimate. 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 your identity has 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).