The cyber fraudsters devastate retirement accounts: how to protect yourself

Beth Bennett is not very often checked the balance in his pension account. But when in November she decided to do it, a woman expecting to see a balance more than $80,000. Instead, she found account for about $8000. About it writes USA Today.

Кибермошенники опустошают пенсионные счета: как себя защитить

Photo: Depositphotos

“I was very shocked by this. I thought it was some kind of mistake,” she said.

She soon learned that it wasn’t a mistake.

“Really, my money is systematically withdrawn over the last few months,” said Bennett. Learning of this, she contacted a consultant to the pension plan of his employer.

Someone stole her identity and gave himself up for her, changing mailing address Bennett. The Bank cashed the first two cheques, but when Bennett discovered the fraud, payment was stopped on the third check.

But another shock was waiting for the woman ahead.

When she contacted the representative in the company Fund, it became clear that there was no guarantee of the return of her money.

The attack on retirement accounts grow

Unlike scams with credit cards, the fraud loss on retirement investment accounts not protected by law, although companies usually claim that they will reimburse funds lost due to fraudulent activities.

This is a problem that should be aware of as cyber attacks on your retirement account grow.

“Hackers are becoming harder to hack Bank accounts and they have started the attack to the accounts of 401(k),” said ed Mierzwinski, senior Director, Federal programs for consumers in the United States.

On the forum of 2019 for institutions planning for retirement, industry expert Larry Goldblum told the participants that although the total number of cases of cybercrime and fraud on accounts declined from 2018 the number of cases of fraud with retirement accounts increased.

Today cyber criminals “looking for any possible way to financial transaction people,” said Stephen Silberstein, CEO of the Central exchange and analysis of information on financial services, industry consortium, whose goal is to reduce cyber risks in the global financial system.

“Compromise email phishing and the assignment of profiles in social networks are some of the key tactics that are used to target all types of assets, including retirement accounts,” said Zilberstein.

When cyber criminals send phishing emails supposedly from a known or trusted sender in the hope to convince potential victims to disclose sensitive financial information.

The good news in Bennett is that American Funds, the mutual Fund company that holds their pension savings agreed to restore the lost money, although at first Bennett said that representatives didn’t give her any guarantees about reimbursement.

However, what happened with Bennett serves as a warning that people with 401(k) accounts and other retirement savings accounts should be wary.

“Despite the fact that our nearly 7,000 financial institution members constantly develop their cyber defence, for consumers it is also important to observe the rules of good “tiberghien” and watch for suspicious activity,” said Zilberstein.

Beware of spam emails

When the scammers get access to consumer banking and retirement accounts, the entry point is often the email address of the victim, says Kevin Bong, Director of cybersecurity at the accounting and consulting firm Sikich.

Often the account passwords of the people obtained as a result of hacking the data and then sold in “dark web” cybercriminals use to hack accounts and email capture her without the victim’s knowledge.

Bennett is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin newspaper Association. Her pension plan is what is known as “basic plan” account with deferred tax treatment, employer-sponsored, with some similarities with the plans of the 401(k) and 403(b).

Responding to a question about the case of Bennett, the representative of the American Funds made a statement: “Our mission is to help people save for their retirement. When one of our clients is a victim of identity theft, we take responsibility immediately conduct a thorough study of the incident and take appropriate measures.”

According to experts, companies need to investigate fraud cases to ensure that law enforcement agencies are notified of the crime.

How to protect yourself

Experts on cyber security say that if you have access to their accounts online, one of the best decisions you can make is to complicate hackers taking over your accounts. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure that any computer or device used to access accounts protected by a firewall and have current antivirus and antispyware software.
  • Be careful answering questions, opening attachments or clicking on links in emails requesting your financial information.
  • One of the important ways to improve account security is a strong password that is not used for any other types of network accounts. Long passwords with phrases like “Dogcatfish22” better and are easier to remember than short. “The password is much longer, so people can’t hack it so easily,” said Bong.

Retirement accounts can be especially vulnerable because the account holders can neglect the viewing of your account.

Bennett said he wants to let people know that they need to regularly check their retirement savings.

“If this can happen to me it can happen to everybody,” she said.