Padlock on laptop keyboard attached to computer by chains

Recognizing & Protecting Your Data from Ransomware & Cyber Scams

LPL Financial encourages users to be mindful and aware of ransomware attacks, and other scams that cyber-criminals may use to collect their user data. Learn about the goals behind cyber-criminals’ ransomware threats, how to recognize common scams and what to do if you suspect an attack.

If remote access is gained, the cybercriminal will search for personal or financial information to commit fraud.

Ransomware is an increasing threat and anyone could be a potential target to these attacks. This form of malware is a malicious software that blocks access to files on the impacted network, computer, or device. Once ransomware is deployed, cybercriminals contact their victim to alert them to make an electronic payment to restore their access. The cybercriminals will threaten to corrupt or leak data if the ransom payment isn’t made.

Stay proactive to protect yourself by doing the following:

Tips for Protecting Yourself from Ransomware Attacks

  • Use anti-virus software.
  • Keep device up to date with security patches.
  • Regularly scan your device with anti-virus software.
  • Limit the amount of sensitive data on your device.
  • Enable your firewall.
  • Back up your files on a regular basis.
  • Proceed with caution when interacting with suspicious emails.

What to do if you suspect a ransomware attack

If you’ve been the victim of a ransomware attack, immediately turn off your device and contact an experienced IT professional. These experts are aware of cybersecurity threats and can offer guidance on the appropriate next steps.

  • LPL clients should contact their affiliated financial professional to notify them of the incident.
  • LPL financial professionals should immediately report ransomware incidents to LPL.  Our teams will provide assistance throughout the process.

Types of Ransomware Attacks

Beware of “Tech Support” scams

Cybercriminals will impersonate employees from reputable IT companies in an attempt to commit fraud. The goal of these scams are to sell useless software or to gain remote access to the victim’s computer. If remote access is gained, the cybercriminal will search for personal or financial information to commit fraud.

Beware of “Romance” scams

Romance scams are a popular way for cybercriminals to exploit individuals to commit financial fraud. These scams are also referred to as online dating scams and they affect individuals of all ages. The scams start with the bad actor creating a fake online profile for dating apps or for social media.

 They will meet a person online and then trick that person into thinking that they’re in a romantic relationship by communicating regularly to gain a level of trust. Once trust is gained, the bad actor asks their victim for money to complete the scam. The request for money could be via cryptocurrency, gift cards, or wire transfer.

Protecting Your Information

As more of our interactions take place online, there are more opportunities than ever for users to access their accounts from multiple locations putting personally identifiable information at risk.

Keeping Your Password Safe

Your passwords are the “keys to your kingdom” and all of your information, regardless of what device you’re on. Learn the importance of strong passwords and password security.

Keeping Your Computer Safe

Learn the first steps to take if you suspect that your personally identifiable information (PII) has been compromised through credit access, and how to stay secure while traveling.