Your online security and privacy are important to us. We want to remind you of an increasingly common form of cyber-attack — phishing. Phishing attacks are widespread in our industry, and we do not want you to be victimized.
Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails that appear to be from a reputable company to get you to share sensitive information. Often, the targeted information includes login credentials, credit card information, bank account details, or other personal information.
You may be less familiar with highly targeted forms of phishing. Unlike a general phishing attack that casts a wide net (sending generic, mass emails), a targeted attack is personalized with specific details about you, the recipient.
Attackers may gather personal information from your social media accounts or the dark web to create messages that appear to come from trusted sources—like companies or even individuals you know. They use these personal details to trick you into taking an action that could cause you to share even more personal information. The attacker frequently suggests clicking a link or downloading software containing malware or spyware, which could compromise your personal and account information, potentially including financial and banking accounts.
Here are some tips to check if an email or text is legitimate:
- Hover over the "from" address to see the full email address and make sure it is one you recognize and trust. Look for domain names that are slightly different or misspelled. For example, an attacker might send emails from domains like "bristlecone-vp.us," "bristleconevalue.com," or possibly a slight misspelling like "brisltecone-vp.com." Our email and web links will always be from the "bristlecone-vp.ccsend.com" or "bristlecone-vp.com" domains.
- We will never ask you to send sensitive information such as passwords, brokerage account information, social security numbers, or birth date in an email or text.
- We will never ask you to type your username or password into any website outside of the "bristlecone-vp.com" website (login page URL is "login.bdreporting.com/Auth/bristlecone/SignIn").
More ways to stay safe:
- Do not click on links or attachments in emails or text messages from senders that you do not recognize. If you hover over a link in an email, you will see the location where the link will take you. Often, a link is suspect if it is long, confusing, contains typos, or mentions domains you do not recognize.
- Be especially wary of attachments like .zip or .pdf, and particularly executable file types (like those that end in .EXE). If you do not know the sender personally, you should never download or click these attachments.
- Do not provide sensitive personal information (like usernames and passwords) over email.
- Do not fall for messages that claim to be "urgent" or "time-sensitive". Often, scammers will try to scare you into sharing your personal information. Always take time to verify the requester's identity and remember that Bristlecone and other reputable businesses will not ask you to provide sensitive information over email.
- Pay attention to even seemingly harmless requests. A common ploy scammers use is emailing you a link to do something like change your account password. The link will download malware or spyware instead.
- Do not open any document that you're not expecting to receive.
- If you can't tell if an email or text is legitimate, err on the side of caution and delete it. You can always call the business directly with any questions or concerns.
To learn more about phishing and keeping yourself safe:
How to Recognize and Avoid Phishing Scams (Federal Trade Commission): https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-recognize-and-avoid-phishing-scams
Protect yourself from Phishing (Microsoft): https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/protect-yourself-from-phishing-0c7ea947-ba98-3bd9-7184-430e1f860a44
Scams & Fraud: Phishing (AARP): https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2019/phishing.html
Your security is important to us.
One of Bristlecone Value Partners’ principles is to communicate frequently, openly and honestly. We believe that our clients benefit from understanding our investment philosophy and process. Our views and opinions regarding investment prospects are "forward looking statements," which may or may not be accurate over the long term. While we believe we have a reasonable basis for our appraisals, and we have confidence in our opinions, actual results may differ materially from those we anticipate. Information provided in this blog should not be considered as a recommendation to purchase or sell any particular security. You can identify forward looking statements by words like "believe," "expect," "anticipate," or similar expressions when discussing particular portfolio holdings. We cannot assure future results and achievements. You should not place undue reliance on forward looking statements, which speak only as of the date of the blog entry. We disclaim any obligation to update or alter any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Our comments are intended to reflect trading activity in a mature, unrestricted portfolio and might not be representative of actual activity in all portfolios. Portfolio holdings are subject to change without notice. Current and future performance may be lower or higher than the performance quoted in this blog.
References to indexes and benchmarks are hypothetical illustrations of aggregate returns and do not reflect the performance of any actual investment. Investors cannot invest in an index and returns do not reflect the deduction of advisory fees or other trading expenses. There can be no assurance that current investments will be profitable. Actual realized returns will depend on, among other factors, the value of assets and market conditions at the time of disposition, any related transaction costs, and the timing of the purchase.
Economic factors, market conditions, and investment strategies will affect the performance of any portfolio and there can be no assurance that a portfolio will match or outperform any particular index or benchmark. Past Performance is not indicative of future results. All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss; changes in investment strategies, contributions or withdrawals may materially alter the performance and results of a portfolio. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that any specific investment will be suitable or profitable for a client's investment portfolio.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and it may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.