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TD Ameritrade's Data Breach Highlights Online Brokerage Security

I've written several posts about the missteps companies make after a data breach. Here is an example of one company communicating well with its customers to prevent data breaches.

This morning, I received an e-mail message from E-Trade titled "Tips to Protect your Identity." I was not surprised to receive this message, given E-Trades prior security e-mails and TD Ameritrade's recent data breach. E-trade's e-mail:

"Identity theft is a serious issue, no matter how it originates. The vast majority of online fraud is a result of a compromised personal computer - when a consumer knowingly or unknowingly discloses identifying information like their user name and password. By exercising caution and following some basic guidelines, you can reduce your chances of falling victim to online identity theft."

  1. Be suspicious of ANY email that asks for sensitive personal information, even if the sender seems to be familiar.
  2. Never open attachments or click links in spam or unsolicited emails.
  3. Avoid filling out forms contained in an email message or pop-ups, even if they appear to be from a legitimate company with whom you do business.
  4. Run the latest version of a proven anti-virus software program on your computer.
  5. If you have logged on to a Web site, log off when you are finished and close your browser completely.

"At E*TRADE FINANCIAL we protect every asset and transaction you make with our Complete Protection Guarantee, providing complete fraud coverage, payment and privacy protection. In addition, we've introduced the Digital Security ID(1) to help our customers protect their identities by making unauthorized account log on virtually impossible."

"Rest assured, E*TRADE deploys advanced protection solutions to ensure our systems are secure. Our strict physical, electronic and procedural safeguards are designed to exceed industry standards and safeguard customers' non-public information. We encourage you to take an active role in protecting your identity. Visit for more details on these services as well as additional security tips. If you suspect that you have received a fraudulent email from E*TRADE, please contact Customer Support at 1-800-838-0908.

Tom Roberts
Vice President,
E*TRADE Financial Corporate Services, Inc.

It's always a good business practice to issue prompt, timely communications that, a) remind your customers of good security habits, b) reinforce the company's e-mail and security policies, and c) provide customers with multiple channels of communication. I hope that TD Ameritrade customers receive something similar.


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