The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) and Division of Enforcement Retail Strategy Task Force are providing tips for investors in the Thrift Savings Plan to help protect against fraud.
Most federal government employees, including military service members, are eligible to participate in The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), a federal government-sponsored retirement savings and investment plan. The TSP offers the same type of savings and tax benefits that many private corporations offer their employees under 401(k) plans. The TSP website (TSP.gov) explains the benefits available to TSP participants.
If you have a TSP account, you should be aware of fraudulent schemes aimed at TSP investors.
Here are a few ways you can protect your account.
Be cautious if someone you do not know contacts you and tries to convince you to transfer money out of your TSP account.
Fraudsters may use scare tactics to convince TSP investors to transfer money out of their TSP accounts and into other accounts controlled by the fraudsters. In some cases, they may direct investors to transfer money from their TSP accounts into self-directed individual retirement accounts. To learn more about risks of investing through self-directed IRAs -- including fraudulent schemes -- read this Investor Alert.
Be suspicious if someone offering you an investment claims to be affiliated with the government, the TSP, or government retirement plans.
The TSP will not contact federal employees about investment opportunities and does not authorize third parties to provide counseling or investment-related services to anyone. You can confirm whether a seller is affiliated with a government agency by contacting the agency directly or calling the SEC’s toll-free investor assistance line at (800) 732-0330. To learn more about fraudsters targeting TSP investors while pretending to be affiliated with the federal government, read this Investor Alert.
Protect your TSP account (and personal information) from being compromised.
The TSP website describes the following three steps as well as other ways you can protect money you’ve invested in your TSP account from fraud:
- Make sure the contact information and mailing address on your account are correct.
- Protect your username, password, and ThriftLine PIN.
- Consider using the account lock feature for extra protection.
If you believe someone else has your My Account login information, you’ve experienced identity theft, or you receive any message about suspicious activity on your TSP account, contact the ThriftLine Service Center immediately.
If you suspect securities fraud in connection with your TSP investments, you can report it to the SEC using the SEC’s online TCR system.
Investor Alert: Fraudsters May Target Federal Government Employee Retirement Plan Participants
Investor Alert: Self-Directed IRAs and the Risk of Fraud
Military webpage on Investor.gov
Report possible securities fraud to the SEC online at www.sec.gov/tcr.
Protect your hard earned money – learn more tips on investing wisely and avoiding fraud at Investor.gov.
Call the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) at 1-800-732-0330, ask a question using this online form, or email OIEA at Help@SEC.gov. Receive Investor Alerts and Bulletins by email or RSS feed.
Follow OIEA on Twitter @SEC_Investor_Ed. Like OIEA on Facebook at facebook.com/secinvestoreducation.