A Worthy Reminder: Keep Your Plan Assets Safe!

You work hard for your money. You wisely choose to defer a portion of your salary for your interests in your retirement years.  Your organization’s retirement plan is designed to help you grow your savings to an appropriate amount of money to support you once you reach your retirement years. So wouldn’t you want to protect the fruits of your labor?

As you are aware, the plan is only as effective as you make it. If you save too little, or make unwise investment decisions, there is a chance that you will not reach your goals. Similarly, if you drain your plan balance over the years, you understand you will find a shortfall in retirement. What many individuals do not think about is being responsible for the security of their savings as well.

Cyber fraud has been a growing concern globally for years.

Individuals are typically very careful to keep their security measures (passwords, authentication codes, etc.) private with regards to their banking and electronic mail accounts. However, in the past few years there have been breaches of major companies containing personal information of individuals. And, unfortunately, much of the personal information has become accessible by bad actors on the dark web.

Participants need to be vigilant with their retirement savings accounts as well. In the past 12 months there have been a slew of cases of attempted fraud, some successful, enacted on retirement savings plan participants. These attempts have occurred across a multitude of recordkeepers. The good news is that virtually all recordkeepers have security as a prominent priority and spend big dollars on safeguarding data. They are constantly updating their security technology and protocols. But their security can only go so far if you are not being equally vigilant.

The following are a few prudent tips for participants in ensuring the security of their retirement savings accounts:

  • Use multiple levels of security and authentication – if your plan’s recordkeeper comes out with a new level/type of authentication, engage it immediately.
  • If you frequent a website, or have an account with a company, whose website and information has been compromised, change all your passwords. For example, Yahoo recently had a large breach – a breach containing passwords – if you ever had a Yahoo account you should change your password.
  • Make sure your password is strong – utilize letters, capitalization, numbers, and symbols. Don’t use recognizable words. Don’t use the same password for multiple purposes. Have the password be at least 14 characters in length. Consider changing your password on a frequent basis.
  • Never send your authentication to anyone requesting it. It should be limited to use on sites on which you navigated to independently of any outside request.
  • Check your account on a semi-regular basis for any irregularities.
  • Immediately contact your plan administrator and/or the recordkeeper if you receive any update that sparks your concern – do not wait, the money could leave the U.S. quickly.

Although your employer is generally looking out for your wellbeing and should be reviewing your plan recordkeeper’s security protocals and technology, it is still a worth reminder that your involvement is crucial in maintaining the security of your account too.

Securities and investment advisory services are offered solely through registered representatives and investment advisor representatives of Ameritas Investment Corp. (AIC), a registered Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC and a registered investment advisor. AIC is not affiliated with Summit Group of Virginia LLP. Additional products and services may be available through Summit Group of Virginia LLP that are not offered through AIC. Representatives of AIC do not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax advisor or attorney regarding your situation.

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