It’s become an increasingly important task for wealth managers and financial advisors to remind their clients of the importance of personal data protection. So last week the Minneapolis office of Evercore Wealth Management held an informational lunch at the Minneapolis Club for 40 of its guests and clients on data breaches, identity theft, hacks and scams as a reminder of how easy it can be to become a victim of identity theft.
Guest speakers for the event were Deborah Pierce and Patti Weber two former senior United States law enforcement and intelligence officials with more than 50 years of combined experience. Weber is a retired CIA agent and Pierce a retired FBI agent.
They are a complementary pair. Pierce jokes that her speaking partner was trained in the arts of lying, cheating and stealing and she was trained to catch the liars, cheats and thieves. Jokes aside Pierce believes theirs is the only partnership of retired women who once held senior roles at those agencies.
They never crossed paths in their illustrious government careers but met after each had retired at the Minneapolis Woman’s Club and formed Pierce-Weber Partnership. Now they are small business owners who give presentations on security and personal safety – both physical and financial; leadership lessons from their careers in male-dominated government agencies and the history and differences between the FBI and CIA.
The pair stress that identity theft has gone global so everyone needs to be aware and take their own personal protections. “Security is never convenient,” Weber said.
Their presentation focused on three things: physical theft, electronic theft and scams.
The duo also urge people to report suspicious activity, challenge those small credit card charges you don’t recognize and make use of your three free credit reports. “If you see something, say something,” Weber urges.
Prevention is always preferable. The odds of recovering your financial assets should your identity be stolen are slim. “You can rebuild your identity (and it might take years) , but to actually recover is nearly impossible,” Pierce said.