Cybersecurity Awareness

Nothing is more important to Charles Schwab than the trust our clients have in us—not only to manage their money and financial information safely, but also to protect their futures. From banking to social media accounts, more and more of our information is online and at risk. To meet this challenge, we infuse security into every layer of our business—from technology to strategy to culture.


Scams are on the rise, so it's more important than ever to stay vigilant and take extra steps to protect your accounts.

In 2018 alone, victims of imposters scams lost $488 million, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Awareness is one of the most valuable tools that may help prevent you from becoming a victim. Click here to learn more about the different types of scams, how to protect yourself, and who to contact if you suspect a scam.

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Investment Scam

Scam #1: Investment Scam

At Schwab, we’re committed to helping you grow your wealth. But some people want to take advantage of your interest in investing with “get rich quick” schemes. Learn about the “Investment Scam” here.

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Cyber-Savvy Tips from Schwab

Take a pass on the Investment Scam

An animated illustration of an older woman and her adult daughter appears. The mother sits on a bench in a room with a bookshelf and some plants. Her daughter stands to her right.

Mother: Fraudsters think older people like me have lots of money lying around.

Daughter: So they try to scam our older loved ones like my mom with phony investments.

A computer window with an email inbox appears; then an opened email addressed to the mother fades in.

Mother: It could be a phone call or an email with a “great” proposal.

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From: Bank of Northwest

To: Beth Smith




Daughter: They make big promises and pressure you to invest right away.

Mother: It sounds good, but I know how to deal with these scammers.

As the mother is talking, a delete button appears on the email. The mother makes a fist and punches the delete button, which sends the email text flying off the screen.

The email fades, and the room with the bookshelf and plants reappears. The mother and daughter are standing together; the daughter has her hand protectively on her mother’s back. A padlock floats in on the left side of the screen and transforms into the SchwabSafe® icon.

Daughter: We all need to help keep our older loved ones safe online. So when scammers give them the hard sell...

Mother: ...tell them to say, “it’s a hard NO!”

As the mother speaks, she raises her right arm, makes a fist, and smacks the palm of her left hand as she says “NO.”

Voice over: Learn more at

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Own your tomorrow®


©2021 Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. All rights reserved. Member SIPC.


Scam #2: Person in Need Scam

Elderly people are common targets for cybercriminals. One popular tactic is the “Person in Need Scam.” Watch to learn more about this—and how to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Person in Need Scam

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Cyber-Savvy Tips from Schwab

Protect yourself from the Person in Need Scam

A young woman in a green skirt and yellow top is standing near an older woman in a blue skirt and green top, who’s sitting.

Young woman: There’s this really awful scam going around where someone calls up an older person...

Older woman: ...and pretends they’re a grandkid and they’re in trouble.

An image of a smartphone pops into view. The two women look at it and listen, each with a skeptical look on her face.

Voice of young man [off-screen] on the phone: Grandma, I’m in trouble, and I need money. But don’t tell my mom. She’ll be so mad at me.

The older woman is now holding the smartphone.

Older woman: Any grandparent would want to help out immediately.

The view shifts to the young woman and then expands to show both women.

Young woman: But before your older loved one sends money, they should call the kid’s parents to check on the story. So Mom, you’d call me first.

The older woman speaks into the phone.

Older woman: Sorry, I’ve got to let your mom know first.

Voice of young man [off-screen] on the phone: Hmmm, never mind.

The older woman holds the phone away from her and looks disappointed. “Call ended” flashes on the smartphone screen. The young woman then leans toward the older woman and puts her arm around her supportively.

Young woman: Everyone wants to help their family.

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Older woman: But you don’t want to help a scammer to your bank account.

Voice over: Learn more at

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Own your tomorrow®

©2021 Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. All rights reserved. Member SIPC.


Romance Scam

Scam #3: Romance Scam

If you or a loved one is dating online, you’ll need to know about the “Romance Scam.” Watch to find out what to look for and what to do if you come across it.

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Cyber-Savvy Tips from Schwab

Break up with the Romance Scam

A young woman in a green skirt and yellow top is standing and gestures toward an older woman in a blue skirt and green top, who is sitting.

Young woman: Online scammers are constantly trying to take advantage of people like my mom.

Older woman: But we’re too smart for that.

The younger woman now appears within a frame representing a computer screen. On the screen is a chat window labeled “Senior Dating.” A small picture of the mom is labeled “SassyGranny,” while a larger picture of an older, bald man in glasses is labeled “Fred Realman.” In the chat area, SassyGranny has entered “Want to meet for coffee?”

Young woman: One of the most common is the Romance Scam. Older people can get roped in by chatting online if they’re looking for companionship.

In the frame, the mom takes the place of the young woman, and in the chat window, Fred responds, “I’d love to!”

Older woman: At first, it’s all lovey-dovey.

The mom drops away and the young woman pops into view. In the chat window, Fred adds, “But I can’t, I’m overseas.”

Young woman: They want to meet up. But if they have an excuse or need money to meet, that’s the first red flag.

She holds up a small red flag.

The older woman replaces the young woman in the frame, and additional chat from Fred appears: “I need funds... Can you send money for a ticket?”

Older woman: Next thing you know, they’re asking for money for “travel expenses.”

She makes “air quotes” with her fingers.

Young woman: That’s the second red flag.

She holds up another red flag.

The frame goes away and the two women are standing next to each other.

Older woman: And that’s when it’s time break up your online romance.

The frame briefly reappears, and a large red “X” is drawn over the picture of Fred Realman. Then the two women are back.

Young woman: If they ask for money...

The older woman waves goodbye.

Older woman: ...It’s time to say, “Bye-bye, honey.”

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Voiceover: Learn more at

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Onscreen text: Charles Schwab logo

Own your tomorrow®

©2021 Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. All rights reserved. Member SIPC.

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Protect yourself against financial criminals

It's important that anyone who conducts their finances online or over the phone take advantage of ways to protect themselves from financial crimes. Here are a few resources to get you started.

Types of Cybercrimes and Tips for Protecting Your Digital House
More Tips for Protecting Yourself
Identifying and Avoiding Fraudulent Pop-Ups
Online Security Checklist


How to handle fraud or identity theft

If you suspect you’ve been the victim of identity theft or fraud, taking immediate action may help limit the impact.  Consult this checklist for steps regarding reporting, securing your systems, and more.

Woman looking at her phone while having a cup of coffee.

Beware of common security myths

If you think cybersecurity is just a technology problem, you are at risk. From securing passwords to adoption of the right tools, we all have a role to play in safeguarding our privacy. Here are some common myths that many people incorrectly view as fact.

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James Lyne


Cybersecurity: We are all in this together

Renowned cybersecurity expert, James Lyne, stopped by Schwab’s headquarters to share his unique perspective on cybersecurity and to answer questions.

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[TITLE SLIDE]     Cybersecurity:  We’re all in this together 
James Lyne – Global Research Advisor at Sophos – Cyber security expert

1.    [TEXT SLIDE] Over the last 15 years, what have been the biggest changes in how cyber criminals carry out their attacks?  

2.    [JAMES LYNE SPEAKING] I remember in the kind of early days of malicious code how cybercriminals would handcraft their viruses. And I think the biggest change in the past 15 years is that now cybercriminals build products and services that they sell to other cybercriminals that generate the malicious code instead. That means so much more malware out there and a much greater chance, sadly, one of us is going to run into it.

3.    [TEXT SLIDE] How do you expect cyber criminals’ methods to evolve over the next five years and beyond? 

[JAMES LYNE SPEAKING] I think the one thing that you got to recognize about cybercriminals is that they’re masters of innovation. They’re constantly finding new ways to attack us and to make money from our data. We’ve… we’ve seen them evolve from selling information, to stealing financial data, through to ransomware, which is brilliant in its ubiquitous [?] of application, so to absolutely everyone. So I think increased scale, increased creativity in making money from our data, and probably targeting a wealth of new devices are the themes we’ll see in the coming year.

4.    [TEXT SLIDE] As internet connectivity finds its way into more devices, will that only increase the risks we face from cyber criminals? 

[JAMES LYNE SPEAKING] As a society, we’re in a place right now where we’re connecting literally everything around us at every moment.  Whether we’re at home or at work we’re constantly surrounded by new devices, mini-computers, that present an opportunity for cybercriminals to get unparelled influence over the physical world from the digital. And that’s a really scary trend when you look at the average level of security of these devices.  They’re quite deficient. That being said, I’m a fan of all this new technology. I don’t think there is too much Internet connectivity. I think it’s about doing it purposely and making sure that the safety and security standards are where they need to be.

5.    [TEXT SLIDE] How would you raise awareness with someone responsible for teenage children or elderly parents who are more vulnerable to attacks? 

[JAMES LYNE SPEAKING] Well, this is illusion that cybercrime is predominantly driven by super unblockable uber viruses, where the government or big security teams are going to deal with the threat. And well some of that is true. In reality, it’s down to each and every one of us to exhibit some simple behavior to keep ourselves safe online. So if it’s one thing that everyone can do is to spread the word to our colleagues, our friends, our families. You are a target. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking cybercriminals aren’t interested in you. If you have an Internet connection, they want your data and they want your device.

6.    [TEXT SLIDE] What are the best practices you would suggest to help keep data safe from cyber criminals? 

[JAMES LYNE SPEAKING] One of the questions I’m constantly asked by people is ‘How do I limit my exposure of my… of my data online when I’m sharing it with so many parties?’ And there’s really two specific things I’d call out.  Firstly, limit your service area of data.  If you don’t need to provide information to an organization for service don’t do it. The other one that really is extremely helpful is using a password manager. A lot of breaches where data is lost is often due to people recycling passwords or using a weak password. A password manager makes it much easier to have a higher level of data security online.



For more information on how we protect client accounts, visit our SchwabSafe page. 

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