Undoubtedly, we’ve all received calls from scammers looking for us to send money or give over our credit card information. Recently, an advisor I know was nearly out-witted by one of these fraudsters. A client sent in an email requesting a partial surrender from their account. In the past, this client had used email to make such requests so the advisor thought nothing of it. The email had some personal details and an account number, so everything looked legit. When the advisor began to do the paperwork, they noticed the account number was for the client’s LIRA. The advisor contacted the client, via email, and they agreed to make the withdrawal from their RRSP instead. The advisor prepared the paperwork and asked for the signatures and a void cheque. The client requested the withdrawal be sent to a US bank account because they wanted to use the money in the US. The advisor let them know they couldn’t send the money to a US bank account, so then the advisor received a void cheque in the name of stranger, that’s when things came to a halt. The advisor called the client and the client had no idea of what was going on. Here’s what happened: the client’s email account had been hacked and the hackers had gone through the client’s emails, found the advisors email address, the account number and a prior surrender request. And, they also blocked the advisors emails back to the client, so the client was unaware of the email exchange. A police report was filed and the client’s accounts at the carrier were put on lock down so that any future requests will be triple checked before they are executed. Moral of the story, always call the client to get confirmation of withdrawal requests and any other material transactions. Thank you, Scott Edgington Regional Wealth Manager, Ontario Qualified Financial Services