Wha+ 1S Your Passw@rd?

A couple of weeks ago, I told the story of how I was victimized by a thief. Thankfully, I’ve been made whole by my financial institution, but I’m not particularly satisfied with some of the answers I received regarding how the crook convinced the bank they were me.

As it turns out, the bad guy didn’t convince the bank they were me. Rather, they convinced the bank that they were my wife! They spoofed my home phone, which made it appear that they were calling in from my number. With that, they were able to convince the bank to allow access by providing a minimal amount of personal information that could have been obtained anywhere, such as a Facebook profile.

Frankly, the bank in question probably didn’t follow their own security procedures. But if I had taken all of the advice I offered up in “5 Tips to Avoid Being Ripped Off”, it likely would have thwarted the crooks. One of the tips was to use randomly generated passwords that you can store securely in a password management application such as LastPass. I've found that using a tool such as this has  other benefits, as well.

"No" is Always an Alternative

Depending on who you talk with, alternative investments include, but are not limited to, different types of hedge fund and private equity strategies. Even commodities, which we allocate small portions of our Accountable Portfolios into, are considered alternative in some circles. All of these investments are often marketed as having greater return potential than traditional stocks or bonds or low correlations with other asset classes.

In recent years, “liquid alternatives” have increased in popularity considerably. This sub-category of alternatives consists of mutual funds that may start from the same building blocks as the global stock and bond market but then select, weight, and even short securities in an attempt to deliver positive returns that differ from the stock and bond markets. Are they able to do what they set out to do?

5 Tips to Avoid Being Ripped Off

I was ripped off this week. 

I won’t mention any names of the financial institutions involved, as there are investigations currently ongoing and I don’t wish to unfairly blame anyone. I'm angry, worried, and even fearful that if someone can get past what I feel are pretty good security precautions (random passwords, secondary PINs, security questions, etc.), how can I ever be sure I'm completely safe? In short, I don't think any of us can ever be totally sure of anything, but perhaps my tale will offer some insight into how you can avoid becoming a victim.