2021 Asset Protection Lessons in the News, Part Two

Asset protection, insurance, compliance, and risk management.

Part two of our look at stories from current headlines puts abstract conversations about asset protection, insurance, compliance, and risk management issues into the real-life context of current national headlines.

Our last discussion featured stories about threats we have previously advised you to manage proactively including social media, employment law and the COVID-19 vaccine. The headlines of the last few weeks are no less varied in the lessons they can provide.

Identity Theft Is Spiking – And Now They Probably Have Your Cell Number

We’ve discussed that both medical practices and their physician owners are popular and frequent targets for cybercriminals and some of the basic cyber and identity risk management protecting yourself requires. Things got a little harder this year as the identifying details of hundreds of millions of Facebook users was made available for free. As Forbes explains in their recent coverage:

Over the weekend, news broke that a hacker had published online a database containing the personal information of 533 million Facebook users, including email and physical addresses, phone numbers, birthdates and more. While the data was stolen in a 2019 breach and Facebook long ago plugged that hole, it’s the first time this huge trove was made available for free.

What this means for consumers is that you will need to be extra vigilant about monitoring your accounts, using two factor authentication and carefully screening any unsolicited calls or text messages as likely phishing attempts, which are already increasing by using this information. Be extra leery of anything with a link or an attachment and look out for common scams including fake package and Amazon delivery updates.

Reconsider Business, Personal Security, and Your Need for Privacy

Physical security issues that can pose a risk to life and business takes many forms and we’ve examined the need for your practice to consider defensive measures including basic security precautions, a gun policy and heavy levels of several kinds of insurance in areas including active shooter insurance. There has been a public shooting reported in different parts of the country nearly every day for over a week, including the murder of a physician and his family by a patient. In this case, unlike the majority of other incidents involving medical professionals that are usually workplace violence, the attack took place at the physician’s home and spilled over to other family members. This tragedy highlights the need for situational awareness and security precautions at all times as well as the need for physicians to take efforts to keep their residential addresses private by using trusts and other legal devices to legally keep their names out of public records. Having something like, “Dr. Sheila Smith and husband Bill Smith Just purchased this lovely contemporary home in located at 2345 East. Mountain Top Lane for $2.5MM” published in your local paper on the internet is a bad idea for many reasons. Think about your need for privacy and security well before closing on any real estate purchase.

Due Diligence in All Things Financial is Still Vital

You may have noticed a spike in reporting on investment fraud cases—it’s real and it affects a variety of industries and types of investment opportunities. Pushed by fears about the economy and uncertainty about taxes, investors are looking for opportunities and scammers are taking advantage of that in many ways.

All the basics of due diligence still apply from checking your investment advisor’s record and background to being conscious of the risks of private placements and investments, especially those that don’t use third-party custodians or who promise outsize returns that other alternatives can’t match. One recent scam involved a Hollywood actor pushing a movie distribution deal that dropped big names like Netflix. It can also be a much smaller front-end scam that leads to a huge exposure, like paying for insurance and discovering your agent wasn’t actually using your premiums to insure you, leaving you uninsured.

Private Planes and Summer Travel

Doctors have always loved private aircraft, but we’ve seen a big increase in the number of clients interested in buying a private plane, spurred at least partially by COVID. Owning or flying an airplane carries significant personal liability that can be fatal to you or others. Make sure you have professional help in how to own and insure the plane and that your personal planning, including life insurance, estate planning and asset protection in solidly place before you are wheels up.

About the Author

Ike Devji, JD, has practiced law exclusively in the areas of asset protection, risk management and wealth preservation for the last 16 years. He helps protect a national client base with more than $5 billion in personal assets, including several thousand physicians. He is a contributing author to multiple books for physicians and a frequent medical conference speaker and CME presenter. Learn more at www.ProAssetProtection.com.