Hacking thefts from 401K accounts are on the rise, according to Bob Sullivan at msnbc (In An Instant, Retirement Savings Vanish). Yikes! Here’s how to make sure nobody gets a five-finger discount on your hard-earned savings by hacking into your online 401K account.
Sign up for email account alerts
See if your broker offers automatic email alerts for account activity. You may be able to request specific alerts, such as when money has been withdrawn or transferred from your account. This can give you immediate notice when a hacker strikes. With fast action, you may be able to halt the transfer before it is completed,
Check your account balance often
Many people take a set-it-and-forget it approach to managing their 401K. This was good advice in the past, because it prevented people from becoming day traders with their retirement accounts. Today though, it is important to monitor your account balances regularly. Once a week is probably frequent enough to spot fraudulent activity. Although so far brokers have been refunding losses, they do require timely notice of the loss. This requirement is likely to get stricter in the future.
Review your broker’s site security features
Does your broker’s website have separate user name and password pages? Does it show you a secret security image when you login? Does it require you to provide additional verification informations when you use a different computer than usual? If not, consider switching to a broker that offers these standard protections.