Sophisticated New Tech Support Scam Targets Schwab Clients

Wooster Corthell |

To our clients and associates,

Unfortunately, fraudsters seem to always invent a new way to scam people out of their money. We were notified by Schwab of the following and I wouldn't be surprised if it is affecting other custodians as well. While none of our clients have reported to us that they have experienced the following, we want to be sure to inform you of this very sophisticated scam.

A new scam campaign combining computer pop-up messages and phone calls is now threatening Schwab clients. This advanced scheme combines elements of electronic tech support scams with impersonations of real personnel at the Federal Reserve and Schwab to attempt to obtain your assets and sensitive data.

The scam works as follows:

Clients receive a pop-up message appearing to be from either Microsoft or Apple warning that their computers have been compromised.

The popup instructs clients to call a provided "tech support" number that of course connects them to a fraudster.

After speaking with the fraudsters, they will be contacted by someone claiming to work for Schwab as a "security officer", who informs them their Schwab account is "compromised." In order to protect them, the Schwab employee impersonator tells the client they must transfer their funds into an account in "federal custody," and their money will be returned in three business days, once their account has been "encrypted" for safety.

Once the client follows these instructions, their money disappears.

To make the story believable, clients are receiving personalized paper letters in the mail that purport to be from the Federal Reserve, referencing the real name and titles of genuine Schwab personnel, tech company employees, and FDIC analysts who are supposedly the individuals contacting them by phone. The letter encourages clients to verify each person's identity through their LinkedIn profiles, making the scam even more convincing. 

Steps you can take to protect yourself:

In the face of this intense threat landscape, please review what you can do to help below.

  • Do not click on links or make a call based on instructions from a computer pop-up.
  • Always verify the phone numbers for tech support providers independently.
  • Never grant remote access to their Schwab accounts to anyone.
  • Verbally verify all requests for funds with your advisor. For your protection, Wooster Corthell policies prohibit us from processing any money requests unless we have verbal verification.

If you receive anything suspicious regarding your Schwab accounts, or if you have any questions, please contact your advisor as soon as possible.

Wishing you well,

Lynn Corthell

Past performance is not indicative of future performance. Loss of principal and/or loss of portfolio value are possible.