Q4 Thrive Newsletter

Protecting & Preventing Fraud

Year-End Financal Checklist


Protecting & Preventing FraudFraud Alert stock image. Image of objects, black, dangerous - 33343525

There’s so secret you must be mindful of your personal information in today’s day and age. In fact, fraud has always been a concern remember Charles Ponzi create the original “Ponzi Scheme” in the 1920’s. The difference today of course is the sophistication and automation fraudulent activities have morphed into much in part to technological advances with computers and phone systems. Most people are now exposed to fraudulent activities EVERY DAY! I personally receive spam phone calls, texts, emails among other things daily. The internet continues to spawn more sophisticated viruses and Malware all with the goal of getting your personal information.

In addition, there have been numerous alerts by the U.S. government to be aware there will more than likely be even more fraudulent activities activity from Russia due to the war in Ukraine. We have a website for our seminars and had to substantially “beef” up the security on the site as every morning I would come into hundreds of new registrants from abroad. So how does one properly protect themselves in this environment?

Credit Freeze/Credit Monitoring

Most people are aware of credit monitoring from companies like LifeLock which can certainly help in alerting you to fraudulent activity on your credit. To take it one step further, we recommend visiting the three major credit reporting companies, Transunion, Experian, and Equifax to freeze your credit when you are not using it. This will not allow anyone to use your credit (even you) when the freeze is on. You have the ability to toggle it on and off when you want.

Virus Protection                                                                                                                   Be sure you have virus protection on your computer and do not necessarily rely on free virus software. Top rated anti-virus software includes McAfee, Norton and ESET. Be sure to run a scan on a regular basis.

Malware Protection                                                                                                           Run anti-malware software regularly to protect against tracking, phishing, and other malware. This is software that is intentionally designed to cause disruption to a computer and gain unauthorized access to information. Top rated Malware protection software includes Bitdefender, Avast, Norton, and Malwarebytes.

Email Spam & Phishing                                                                                                        A constant threat is emails that are sent with the intention of you clicking a link or providing some type of information that leads to fraudulent activity. Be sure you have a spam filter on your email, which most email provides have, and do not open or click links in emails that you do not know the sender or just don’t look right. These fraudulent emails have gotten better and better at mimicking other companies…like when I receive a Walmart receipt for a TV I never purchased. The only way I could tell it was NOT from Wal-Mart was a slight alteration to the logo on the email. Long story short when in doubt DELETE.

Using Strong Passwords                                                                                                      One of the biggest gaps in protection against fraud is using the same password strength. We all now have more log ins than we can count which leads to using the same one that we can remember the easiest which in most cases is not very secure. Basic tips include changing passwords on a regular basis, using passwords that have nothing to do with your personal information (DOB, name, etc.) and using phrases as passwords.

With so many avenues for fraudulent activity to occur you need to be vigilant in protecting yourself. If you are unsure if you’re properly protected or have causes for concern, contact a computer specialist to properly assess your situation and get you back in control.



Year-end Financial Wrap-up checklist

The Fundamental Checklist For Website Navigation Design & Architecture –  Part 1The end of the year is the perfect time to tie up any loose ends with your finances and get ready for the year ahead. To help, we thought we would provide a checklist to ensure you touch on the most important categories.

Work your way through it little by little, and give me a call if you have questions or feel any of these areas need more attention:

Personal finance

  • Review your budget and spending. Adjust as needed (especially with rising costs!)
  • Review outstanding debt if applicable.
  • Revisit savings goals and adjust as needed
    • too much cash in savings is a problem especially with high inflation
    • too little leaves you no buffer for larger onetime expenses
    • What amount makes you feel comfortable?


  • Review sales of any appreciated property.
  • Identify transactions that could improve your tax situation like charitable donations
  • Review potential deductions and credits.
  • Have your tax advisor prepare a year-end tax projection.


  • Analyze Roth IRA conversion scenarios…We’re taking of care of this for you!
  • Make Traditional IRA and/or Roth IRA contributions. (You have until the tax filing deadline on this one)
  • Make required minimum distributions…We will be in contact to take care of this for you!


  • Review HSA accounts.
  • Spend balances in flex spending accounts.
  • Review disability insurance if still working
  • Review your Medicare Supplement and Part D…. We will be in contact to take care of this for you!

Estate Planning

  • Review beneficiaries for your retirement accounts and life insurance
  • Review your estate documents (Trust, Will, Powers of Attorney) to ensure they still reflects your wishes.
  • Review the Social Security, Medicare and IRS power of attorney forms and keep on file

We will be in contact in the coming weeks to complete any of these areas that apply to your situation. In the meantime, do not hesitate to contact our office with questions.