Are Your Retirement Savings Protected Against Cyber Theft?

  • Elder Law
Are Your Retirement Savings Protected Against Cyber Theft?

Cyber theft, scams and online fraud are an increasing threat to retiree’s savings accounts:

Stimulus check scams targeting retirees and senior citizens

Retirement scams that involve imposters calling individuals and posing as Social Security officials and demand money or sensitive data

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story on court cases involving hundreds of thousands of dollars allegedly stolen from three people in separate 401(k) plans. There are laws protecting consumers against theft from their savings account and credit card fraud – but there is no law to protect 401(k) and similar retirement accounts against theft and fraud.

In March the Government Accountability Office (GAO) asked the Labor Department to take additional steps to address cybersecurity risks for retirement plans.

“Cyber theft from retirement accounts is a growing concern”

Steve Silberstein
Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC)

What You Can Do To Prevent Retirement Account Cyber Theft

Cyber thieves are smart and know exactly what information they need to access your online retirement account – and are very experienced in convincing people to share sensitive information over the phone. Steve Silberstein recommends these ten precautions consumers can take to protect their retirement accounts from cyber theft:

1. Be cautious sharing data electronically, including your:

1. Social Security Number

2. address

3. birth date

2. Use different password on each account

1. If a thief gets one password, don’t let them get access to all your accounts

3. Download online banking forms from the bank’s website, not open forums

4. Carefully check emails for signs of “phishing” – scam emails looking for sensitive, private data:

1. Incorrect website URLs and company names

2. Suspicious looking letterheads and logos

3. Poor grammar and misspellings

5. Install security updates on your computer, devices and apps

6. Set up 2-factor logins for online accounts

1. Yes, it takes longer to log in – but it is much more secure

7. Be suspicious of texts or chat messages from your financial account holders

8. Report suspicious activity to the institution

9. Update your contact information on your financial accounts so you are notified if suspicious activity is suspected

10. Monitor your financial accounts monthly to look for suspicious activity

DuPage County Elder Law Attorney

Older adults are more vulnerable to scams and cyber theft. An experienced Illinois elder law attorney can explain applicable laws and advise you on the best options to protect the interests of senior citizens. Contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-864-5835.