An advisor should talk with clients before disbursing any money on their behalf and should not take instructions by e-mail, warns Jim Holtzman, personal CFO at Legend Financial Advisors Inc., an investment advisory firm based in Pittsburgh.

Holtzman issued the warning during a webinar on identity theft sponsored by Legend Financial Advisors Wednesday. One way financial advisors’ clients can protect their identity and prevent a loss is to make sure the advisor talks to them before taking action on an account.

Identify thieves are becoming adept at mimicking people in e-mail and other communications in order to steal their money, Holtzman says.

“There is no foolproof way to protect yourself from identity theft, but you can diminish the chances by taking certain actions,” he says.

Protecting the identity of a child is something many parents do not think of, but it should be considered, says Holtzman. A child’s identity can be stolen and credit cards taken out in his or her name in a scheme that can go on for years before it is discovered. Legend advisors tell their clients to be aware of any unusual solicitations a child receives in the mail, which could be a tip off that a thief is racking up debt in the child’s name.

In addition to shredding bills and credit card information before disposing of it, Holtzman says, people should open items that appear to be junk mail to make sure it is not a credit card notice or some other information that indicates there may be a problem with an account.