Cybercrime and fraud are serious threats and constant vigilance is key. While Vogel Consulting plays an important role in helping protect your assets, you can also take action to protect yourself and help secure your information.

Cyber criminals exploit our increasing reliance on technology. Methods used to compromise a victim’s identity or login credentials, such as malware, phishing, and social engineering, are increasingly sophisticated and difficult to spot. A fraudster’s goal is to obtain information to access to your account and assets or sell your information for this purpose. Fortunately, criminals often take the path of least resistance. Following best practices and applying caution when sharing information or executing transactions makes a big difference.

This checklist summarizes common cyber fraud tactics, along with tips and best practices. Many suggestions may be things you’re doing now, while others may be new. We also cover actions to take if you suspect that your personal information has been compromised. If you have questions, we’re here to help.

Be Guarded

  • Be aware of suspicious phone calls, emails, and texts asking you to send money or disclose personal information. If a service rep calls you, hang up and call back using a known phone number.
  • Never share sensitive information or conduct business via email, as accounts are often compromised.
  • Beware of phishing and malicious links. Urgent-sounding, legitimate-looking emails are intended to tempt
    you to accidentally disclose personal information or install malware.
  • Don’t open links or attachments from unknown sources. Enter the web address in your browser.
  • Check your email and account statements regularly for suspicious activity.
  • Never enter confidential information in public areas. Assume someone is always watching.

Exercise Caution When Moving Money

  • Leverage electronic authorization tools to verify requests. Featuring built-in safeguards, this is the fastest and most secure way to move money.
  • Review and verbally confirm all disbursement request details thoroughly before providing your approval, especially when sending funds to another country. Never trust wire instructions received via email.

Adhere to Strong Password Principles

  • Don’t use personal information as part of your login ID or password and don’t share login credentials.
  • Create a unique, complex password for each website, Change it every six months. Consider using a password manager to simplify this process.

Maintain Updated Technology

  • Keep your web browser, operating system, antivirus, and anti-spyware updated, and activate the firewall.
  • Do not use free/found USB devices. They may be infected with malware.
  • Check security settings on your applications and web browser. Make sure they’re strong.
  • Turn off Bluetooth when it’s not needed.
  • Dispose of old hardware safely by performing a factory reset or removing and destroying all storage data devices.

Use Caution on Websites & Social Media

  • Do not visit websites you don’t know, (e.g., advertised on pop-up ads and banners).
  • Log out completely to terminate access when exiting all websites.
  • Don’t use public computers or free Wi-Fi. Use a personal Wi-Fi hotspot or a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
  • Hover over questionable links to reveal the URL before clicking. Secure websites start with “https,” not “http.”
  • Be cautious when accepting “friend” requests on social media, liking posts, or following links.
  • Limit sharing information on social media sites. Assume fraudsters can see everything, even if you have safeguards.
  • Don’t use personal information as part of your login ID or password and don’t share login credentials.
  • Create a unique, complex password for each website, and change it every six months. Consider using a password manager to simplify this process.

What to do if you suspect a breach:

  • Call the Social Security Administration’s fraud hotline at 800-269-0271 if you suspect your Social Security number has been compromised.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), either at, by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT (TTY 1-866-653-4261), or by visiting Click on Report Identity Theft to access the Identity Theft Recovery Steps.
  • Visit the IRS website if you’re the victim of tax fraud.
  • Run reputable anti-virus/anti-malware/anti-spyware software to clean your computer. Once you’ve ensured your computer is virus/malware/spyware free, you should change passwords on your accounts.
  • Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A Credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open new accounts in your name. Credit freezes may involve fees, based on state law, but in most states they are free for identity theft victims.
  • If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your accounts that warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim.
  • Check your credit reports. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion allow consumers to request one free credit report per year. See for details.
  • Monitor your existing credit cards and bank accounts closely. If you see a charge you do not recognize, report the transaction to the credit card company or the bank as soon as possible.



To ensure compliance with Treasury Circular 230, we are required to inform you that any advice concerning tax issues contained in this communication (including any attachments) was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding any penalties that may be imposed by any governmental taxing authority or agency.