Advisers should aim to teach their clients good digital hygiene to stop hackers taking advantage of clients and advisers alike, AUSTRAC has said.
Speaking at the 40th AFA National Adviser Conference, AUSTRAC director of risk assessments David Hawkins said hacked email accounts were a big risk for the industry, with hackers taking control of client accounts to ask for transfers of money and make other illegitimate requests.
Mr Hawkins added that feedback AUSTRAC has received from the industry shows clients don’t mind being contacted to verify their requests were legitimate, or to be reminded to take precautions to protect their email address and data.
“The environment is quite ripe, and your clients are very aware this is going on and are very concerned about [it],” he said.
“Being hassled a little by an adviser asking ‘are you really requesting these transfers and these investments’ and giving them a little prod in terms of their own hygiene is a good idea.”
Colonial First State chief risk officer and fellow AFA conference speaker Anvij Saxena agreed with Mr Hawkins remarks, adding that teaching good digital hygiene is “a really good value add” for advisers.
“As advisers, we’re always looking for ways we can add value to clients, and in the current climate it kind of jumps out at you in an obvious way to add that value,” he said.
Mr Saxena noted that many fraudulent emails are sent by members of the victim’s family who have access to their passwords, highlighting the need for advisers to teach their clients of the risks and ways to avoid being hacked.
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