January 28, 2020 — Having tried to cheat you out of your money in dozens of other ways, hackers are now targeting retirement accounts. Unfortunately it can be very easy for them, and even worse than that, you might not get your money back if they steal it.
With retirement funds being one of their biggest assets, the stakes are huge for retirees. This article will review some of the best ideas for protecting your accounts.
Email is the way most hackers use to break into your accounts. The usual methods include tricking you into downloading something, asking you to provide personal information to “solve a problem” with your account, or leading you to a dangerous site. The email might seem real and alarming, telling you there is a problem with your account.
A big problems is that the scammer might already have some of your personal information, stolen from a compromised site and subsequently sold on the dark web. They probably already have your username, email and password for one site. Betting that you reuse the same password or a close variant of it , they can keep plugging in various combinations and sooner or later hit pay dirt.
4 things to protect your retirement account.
Rule #1: If an email even looks even faintly suspicious, don’t open it up. Never reply with any personal information or click on a suspicious link.
#2: Read all your statements every month. Look for unusual activity and amounts or transactions you don’t recognize. Call your provider immediately if you do.
#3: Have virus software on your computer. Inexpensive products such as those from Norton will alert you to suspicious web pages and block most malware and other dangers. Keep the software up to date.
#4: Use different passwords for different sites – never reuse the same one. That way if one of your accounts is compromised you can contain the damage. Use a password manager to generate and/or store your passwords – Roboform and Lastpass are two popular ones. The safest but also the clumsiest way is to write all of them down in a notebook that you hope doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. The worst plan is to try try to hide them somewhere on your computer. To simplify things you might combine nonsense words that you can remember easily, such as Catdogfish222. But you must mix things up or the hackers will figure out your system.
Comments? Have you been hacked ? If so, how bad was it, and what did you do to recover ? What systems do you use to stay safe ? Please share your experiences in the Comments section below.
For further reading: USA Today article by Paul Gores: “Cybercrooks Targeting Retirement Accounts”