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The prevalence of identity theft has been in the news lately. We, at TradeStation, would like to help you avoid becoming a victim of this. As such, we have included some helpful information with respect to online identity theft and security reminders.
How Online Identity Theft Can Happen
Many identity thieves use malicious software programs to attack vulnerable computers of online users. These software programs can monitor your computer activity and send information back to the thief's computer. Sometimes, these programs will log your key strokes, which allows identity thieves to easily obtain username and password information for any of your online accounts, including your brokerage account.
Other identity thieves "phish" for your personal information. "Phishing" involves the use of fraudulent emails and copy-cat websites to trick you into revealing valuable personal information - such as your account number, your social security number, and the username and password information you use when accessing your account. Sometimes fraudsters will use phishing scams to try to get you to download keystroke logging or other malicious software programs unsuspectingly.
But not all identity thieves have gone "high tech." Many still use less sophisticated ways of stealing your personal information, such as looking over your shoulder when you're typing sensitive information or searching through your trash for confidential account information.
How to Protect Yourself Online
You'll need to protect yourself against identity thieves, whether hackers, phishers, or snoops, when you use your online brokerage account. Here are a few suggestions on ways to keep your personal information and money more secure when you go online:
Beef Up Your Security. Personal firewalls and security software packages (with anti-virus, anti-spam, and spyware detection features) are a must-have for those who engage in online financial transactions. Make sure your computer has the latest security patches, and make sure that you access your online brokerage account only on a secure web page using encryption. The website address of a secure website connection starts with "https" instead of just "http" and has a key or closed padlock in the status bar (which typically appears in the lower right-hand corner of your screen).
Security Tip: Even if a web page starts with "https" and contains a key or closed padlock, it's still possible that it may not be secure. Some phishers, for example, make spoofed websites which appear to have padlocks. To double-check, click on the padlock icon on the status bar to see the security certificate for the site. Following the "Issued to" in the pop-up window you should see the name matching the site you think you're on. If the name differs, you are probably on a spoofed site.
Be Careful What You Download. When you download a program or file from an unknown source, you risk loading malicious software programs on your computer. Fraudsters often hide these programs within seemingly benign applications. Think twice before you click on a pop-up advertisement or download a "free" game or gadget.
Use Your Own Computer. It's generally safer to access your online brokerage account from your own computer than from other computers. If you use a computer other than your own, for example, you won't know if it contains viruses or spyware. If you do use another computer, be sure to delete all of the your "Temporary Internet Files" and clear all of your "History" after you log off your account.
Don't Respond to Emails Requesting Personal Information. TradeStation and any other legitimate entity will not ask you to provide or verify sensitive information through a non-secure means, such as email. If you have reason to believe that your TradeStation or any other financial institution actually does need personal information from you, pick up the phone and call the company yourself - using the number in your rolodex, not the one the email provides!
Security Tip: Even though a web address in an email may look legitimate, fraudsters can mask the true destination. Rather than merely clicking on a link provided in an email, type the web address into your browser yourself (or use a bookmark you previously created).
Be Smart About Your Password. The best passwords are ones that are difficult to guess. Try using a password that consists of a combination of numbers, letters (both upper case and lower case), punctuation, and special characters. You should change your password regularly and use a different password for each of your accounts. Don't share your password with others and never reply to phishing emails with your password or other sensitive information. You also should not store your password on your computer. If you need to write down your password, store it in a secure, private place.
Use Extra Caution with Wireless Connections. Wireless networks may not provide as much security as wired Internet connections. In fact, many "hotspots" - wireless networks in public areas like airports, hotels and restaurants - reduce their security so it's easier for individuals to access and use these wireless networks. Unless you use a security token, you may decide that accessing your online brokerage account through a wireless connection isn't worth the security risk.
Log Out Completely. Closing or minimizing your browser or typing in a new web address when you are done using your online account may not be enough to prevent others from gaining access to your account information. Instead, click on the "log out" button to terminate your online session. In addition, you should not permit your browser to "remember" your username and password information. If this browser feature is active, anyone using your computer will have access to your brokerage account information.
Once again, we hope that you will find this information helpful. Please feel free to contact our Client Service department should you have any additional questions.
Note: Trading products are independent, unaffiliated software programs that contain objective rules to enter and exit the market. No customized or other trading advice or recommendations are made by these products.
HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS HAVE MANY INHERENT LIMITATIONS, SOME OF WHICH ARE DESCRIBED BELOW. NO REPRESENTATION IS BEING MADE THAT ANY ACCOUNT WILL OR IS LIKELY TO ACHIEVE PROFITS OR LOSSES SIMILAR TO THOSE SHOWN. IN FACT, THERE ARE FREQUENTLY SHARP DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS AND THE ACTUAL RESULTS SUBSEQUENTLY ACHIEVED BY ANY PARTICULAR TRADING PROGRAM.
ONE OF THE LIMITATIONS OF HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS IS THAT THEY ARE GENERALLY PREPARED WITH THE BENEFIT OF HINDSIGHT. IN ADDITION, HYPOTHETICAL TRADING DOES NOT INVOLVE FINANCIAL RISK, AND NO HYPOTHETICAL TRADING RECORD CAN COMPLETELY ACCOUNT FOR THE IMPACT OF FINANCIAL RISK IN ACTUAL TRADING. FOR EXAMPLE, THE ABILITY TO WITHSTAND LOSSES OR TO ADHERE TO A PARTICULAR TRADING PROGRAM IN SPITE OF TRADING LOSSES ARE MATERIAL POINTS WHICH CAN ALSO ADVERSELY AFFECT ACTUAL TRADING RESULTS. THERE ARE NUMEROUS OTHER FACTORS RELATED TO THE MARKETS IN GENERAL OR TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ANY SPECIFIC TRADING PROGRAM WHICH CANNOT BE FULLY ACCOUNTED FOR IN THE PREPARATION OF HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS AND ALL OF WHICH CAN ADVERSELY AFFECT ACTUAL TRADING RESULTS.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: TradeStation TradingApp Store is hosted and operated by TradeStation Technologies, Inc. ("TTI"), a software development company which owns all technology and other intellectual property used by its affiliates, to provide a brokerage trading platform to active traders. TradeStation TradingApp Store is being made available exclusively to brokerage customers of TradeStation Securities ("TSI"). "TradeStation," as used in this document and product/service offering, should be read and understood in that context. TradeStation TradingApp Store is a trademark of TTI. Developers who offer products or other trading software tools on TradeStation TradingApp Store are independent persons or companies that are in no manner affiliated with TTI or any of its affiliates. TTI and its affiliates do not endorse, recommend or approve any such developer, or any developer's product or trading software tool, or receive any compensation, direct or indirect, relating to the sale or use of any such product or trading software tool. No offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities, securities derivatives or futures products of any kind, or any type of trading or investment advice, recommendation or strategy, is made, given or in any manner endorsed by TTI or any of its affiliates, and no specific trading recommendation or advice is or will be given to any individual by or through TradeStation TradingApp Store. All descriptions of products and the strategies they are designed to run, and the profiles of the developers who created the products, are provided by the developers, not TTI or any of its affiliates. Customers interested in learning more about, or investigating the quality of, any such product must contact the provider or seller of such product – no person employed by, or associated with, TTI or any of its affiliates is authorized to provide any information about any such product. To the extent that TTI or the developers who offer products or other trading software tools on TradeStation TradingApp Store offer performance reports and rankings of their respective products, it should be remembered that they are hypothetical, based upon hypothetical back-testing using the trading symbol and time intervals that the product developer has provided as examples and that TTI and its affiliates have not endorsed or approved any such hypothetical results and/or rankings. Any such reports and rankings must contain the clear and prominent additional disclosure required by FINRA Rule 2214(c) and/or NFA Rule 2-29(c).
Equities, equities options, and commodity futures products and services are offered by TSI (Member NYSE, FINRA, CME and SIPC). TradeStation Securities, Inc.’s SIPC coverage is available only for equities and equities options accounts. Copyright 2017 TradeStation. All rights reserved.