Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Cruise
Posts: 401
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:17 pm

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Cruise » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:36 pm

OP: The financial institutions breached their duty to protect your father’s assets when they realeased them to a party who was not your father. You need to have him retain an attorney specializing in banking matters, and have the attorney file a claim for redress. All the other concerns about catching the bad guy are really “noise” with respect to making your father whole.

TropikThunder
Posts: 681
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2016 5:41 pm

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by TropikThunder » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:21 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:39 pm
DavidRoseMountain wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:43 pm
It's odd then because I've had a bank not make an external transfer to another bank for which I was the account holder on both, claiming there was a mismatch in the name, even though the routing and account numbers were entered correctly.
That just means you were dealing with an institution that decided the costs to implement more stringent verification processes were worth it to prevent fraud. It does not sound like Transamerica operates at that level of verification. Perhaps they should.
You're missing the point. The receiving bank, Regions, should never have allowed the incoming deposit to an account with a mismatch between the name and account number. This has nothing to do with what Transamerica did or did not do to verify the numbers.

mptfan
Posts: 4247
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:58 am

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by mptfan » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:35 pm

Cruise wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:36 pm
OP: The financial institutions breached their duty to protect your father’s assets when they realeased them to a party who was not your father. You need to have him retain an attorney specializing in banking matters, and have the attorney file a claim for redress. All the other concerns about catching the bad guy are really “noise” with respect to making your father whole.
In all likelihood, there is a mandatory arbitration clause in the contract between Transamerica and the OP's father, so the claim will not be able to proceed in a court of law, it will have to be decided by a private arbitrator selected by Transamerica.
I eat risk for breakfast. :)

soccerdad12
Posts: 357
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:52 am

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by soccerdad12 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:02 pm

I contacted Vanguard about securing my accounts and this is what my rep said:

Thank you for taking the time to contact us and for your concern about the
security of your personal information.

I have placed an alert on your account in reference to the Equifax security
breach. If you would like to take further steps to secure your Vanguard
account, you have the following options:

*Adding an enhanced security password for phone calls made to Vanguard
*Adding a transaction freeze on redemptions from your account
*Restricting account access from unrecognized computers
*Requiring a security code when logging into your online account
*Receiving alerts when account activity occurs

We have provided more information about each option below.

<>

You can add an enhanced security phone password to your account by
contacting me at the phone number below or by sending a signed letter of
instruction. Please note that the password will have to be verified exactly
each time that you contact us by phone. If the password cannot be verified
exactly, we will be unable to speak with you about any account-specific
information.

The letter of instruction should:

- Identify the name in which your account is registered.
- Identify the last four digits of your Social Security number.
- Clearly state your request.
- Have your original signature and date.

If you forget your enhanced security password and need to reset it, or
would like the password removed from your account, you will need to
complete a form with your notarized signature.

<>

You can request a redemption freeze on your accounts by contacting me at
the phone number below. Redemption freeze requests made over the phone are
temporary and are only valid for ten calendar days. No redemptions or
exchanges will be processed for the account while the freeze is active.
This includes any transactions placed on the same day the freeze is
initiated.

Please be aware that the freeze will be automatically removed after ten
days unless we receive a written request for a permanent freeze.

If you wish to make the account freeze permanent, please send a written
request to the following address:

Vanguard
Shareholder Compliance A-39
P.O. Box 1110
Valley Forge, PA 19482-1110

Be sure to include your name, address, account number, and dated signature
in the letter.

If you need to remove a freeze, you will need to send a written letter
stating your specific request and include the notarized signatures of all
account owners.

<>

You can activate this feature online by following these steps:

1. Log on to your account at vanguard.com.
2. From the "My Accounts" dropdown, select "Account maintenance."
3. Under "Security profile," select "Computer access restrictions."
4. Select "Restrict unrecognized computers, browsers, or mobile devices
from accessing my accounts," and then "Submit."

You can disable this feature at any time, from the same area of our
website, by answering two of your three web security questions and then by
selecting "Allow me to access my accounts from unrecognized or new
computers, browsers, or mobile devices."

<>

When you log into your account, you will receive a 6-digit security code
via either text or email. You will need this code, along with your username
and password to access your account. Each code can only be used once and
expires 10 minutes after it's sent.

To sign up for security codes, please follow the steps below:

1. Log on to your account at vanguard.com.
2. From the "My Accounts" dropdown, select "Account maintenance."
3. Under "Security profile," select "Security code" and follow the prompts.

Please note, you may experience issues using financial aggregation tools
such as Mint.com, CashEdge, or Yodlee if you sign up to receive security
codes. You may not be able to view your accounts through these tools. Also,
you may receive a security code when the aggregation tool attempts to log
on to your accounts.

<>

Enabling these alerts will allow you to receive immediate updates on your
accounts via text message or email.

To sign up for these alerts, please follow the steps below:

1. Log on to your account at vanguard.com.
2. From the "My Accounts" dropdown, select "Account maintenance."
3. Under "Alerts," select "Account activity alerts" and follow the prompts.

Please note, the following transactions will not trigger an alert:

*Transactions placed in managed accounts, 529s, and Annuities.
*Employer contributions and salary deferrals
*Automatic transactions, including: Automatic Investment Plan (AIP),
Automatic Withdrawal Plan (AWP), Automatic Exchange Service (AES), Required
Minimum Distribution service (RMD), Checkwriting checks that have been
presented for payment, Direct Deposit, Dividend & Capital Gain
transactions.

Here are additional actions you may take externally from your Vanguard
account to protect your information:

* Run anti-virus software and ensure that your computer is clean before
making any changes to passwords, security questions, etc.

* Review your transaction and clerical history to confirm that no
unauthorized activity has taken place at Vanguard and at your other
financial institutions.

* We strongly encourage you to open all of your mail, even if you think
that it's junk mail. It may be a notice thanking you for opening up a new
account or credit card.

* Shred all unwanted documents that contain any personal information.

* You can consider requesting a free credit report. You are allowed one
every year from the three credit reporting agencies.

* You may be able to add a security freeze to your credit report. A
security freeze prevents any new credit from being opened, under your
social security number, without authorization first. It does not affect
existing credit. This freeze is good for seven years.

* There is also an option of a 90-day fraud alert which will add an alert
to your credit. It does not stop any new credit from being opened.

* You should never provide any personal information to unknown callers who
contact you. Equifax should be communicating with consumers who have been
compromised by mail. Tell the caller that you will call back. Never use a
phone number provided by the caller.

* Never click on any links that are suspicious. Do not provide any personal
information over the internet unless you are sure that you are on a secure
and reputable company website (there are scams using UPS, IRS, etc.). If
you aren't expecting a package, do not click on the link, call the company
directly instead.

* Contact all of your financial institutions to inform them of the
situation and see what extra measures each company may provide.

Credit Reporting Agencies Contact Information:
* Equifax: 888-766-0008 www.equifax.com
* Experian: 888-397-3742 www.experian.com
* TransUnion: 800-916-8800 www.transunion.com

For more information please visit our website:

https://investor.vanguard.com/security/fraud

If you have further questions, please call or email me directly using the
information provided below. You can also schedule an appointment for me to
call you. To do so, under the "My Accounts" drop down menu select "Account
overview." Then select "Create/edit appointment" on the right side of the
page to view my calendar to choose a date and time for me to call you. be
sure to include the phone number I should use at the time of our call.

brak
Posts: 369
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:00 am

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by brak » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:10 pm

From what I can tell from looking at Trans America's website, it appears that the mandatory arbitration does not apply aa my father did not use their website to either open or transact business in the IRA, nor has it been used to deal with Transamerica in any other way other than their sending me forms they wanted filled out. There also seems to be the option of opting out of the arbitration process.

brak
Posts: 369
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:00 am

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by brak » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:12 pm

If anyone would like to double-check me by going to the Transamerica website to check out disputed claims, I would consider it a favor.

Cruise
Posts: 401
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:17 pm

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Cruise » Thu Oct 19, 2017 4:20 pm

mptfan wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:35 pm
Cruise wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:36 pm
OP: The financial institutions breached their duty to protect your father’s assets when they realeased them to a party who was not your father. You need to have him retain an attorney specializing in banking matters, and have the attorney file a claim for redress. All the other concerns about catching the bad guy are really “noise” with respect to making your father whole.
In all likelihood, there is a mandatory arbitration clause in the contract between Transamerica and the OP's father, so the claim will not be able to proceed in a court of law, it will have to be decided by a private arbitrator selected by Transamerica.
Mandatory arbitration clause or not, the OP should have an attorney file a claim for redress. Worrying about who was the thief, if he can be caught, and other matters are really just peripheral to staking a claim for redress.

retiredjg
Posts: 31136
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:56 pm

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by retiredjg » Thu Oct 19, 2017 4:32 pm

brak wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:33 am
I will also give the police until next Monday to determine who is investigating this case and then start to create a fuss if I get no response. What do you think??
I don't think it is ever good to "create a fuss" with people who are going to be doing their civic duty by serving you.

Investigation can be a very slow process. It's not like TV. It will not move at the speed you want. Your investigator may have 10 or 20 or more open cases, several of which are more important than yours.

If you do anything on Monday, it should be to ask "when can I expect this case to be assigned to someone? When should I expect to hear from that person?

brak
Posts: 369
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:00 am

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by brak » Thu Oct 19, 2017 5:00 pm

I was just notified that the case was assigned to a detective on our city's police force. I was given no indication of when I might hear from him or anything else, but I ws given his email address and told that if I have any further further information I should email him.

retiredjg
Posts: 31136
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:56 pm

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by retiredjg » Thu Oct 19, 2017 5:06 pm

This is a good thing. :D

NotWhoYouThink
Posts: 1465
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:19 pm

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Thu Oct 19, 2017 5:07 pm

Sounds like things are moving along, and that you are using the right level of polite persistence to ensure that they continue to move.

Maybe the attorneys can chime in, but I suspect that if you hire an attorney that Transamerica will immediately stop communicating with you, and will only communicate with your attorney. So any information you get on the progress of the situation will come at the attorney's rate times two - once for the attorney's call to TA, and again for the update to you. Times three if you initiate the inquiry with a call to the attorney asking for status.

As long as you are able and willing to follow up yourself, and as long as you feel you are not getting stonewalled, you can make progress representing your father. Not how you expected to spend your autumn, but that's life.

EHEngineer
Posts: 657
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2015 4:35 pm

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by EHEngineer » Thu Oct 19, 2017 5:40 pm

brak wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:33 am
I'm not ready to assume that Transamerica will not make good on this. Here's why...and if you disagree with me please let me know. Up until last week, Transamerica was saying that I did not need to send them any documentation regarding this case, and one representative went so far as to tell me that the investigation had started. Then last week when I called them to get an update, I was told that the investigation had not started and will not start until I send them an Affidavit of Fraud and a Statement of Fact. This is frustrating but I have now gotten these statements notarized and they are sent off, and have been received as of yesterday by JP Morgan, who does the fraud investigation for Transamerica. So I am thinking I will now give them a week and then call them. I will also give the police until next Monday to determine who is investigating this case and then start to create a fuss if I get no response. What do you think??
It's about persistence, not anger or threats. You seem persistent. but you are way more patient than I am. I would be expecting daily updates, and I would put everything in writing. At the very least in your own detailed notes. Document all the details, who what when where why, every time you're in contact with them. I don't know what rules, policies or legal statues of limitations which are at play, but the longer things go, the more chance you have of breaching one of those unknowingly. If you do this verbally it will be your problem to prove you notified them, etc, etc. salt on a wound.

For my money, I would start investigating every lever I could pull to make things happen. Then when you get frustrated with their slow response, I suspect you likely will, you will know exactly what you can do about it. That means start contacting the press and anyone else you might need eventually, like a lawyer. Then you'll know what tools you have if you need them. Clark howard is agood place to start. They will give you contact info for everyone they think might be helpful.

My opinion / assumption is this will be an uphill battle all the way.

I'll add one more opinion. Transamerica should fix this. The police catching the culprit is a less important / less urgent result for your Dad.
Or, you can ... decline to let me, a stranger on the Internet, egg you on to an exercise in time-wasting, and you could say "I'm probably OK and I don't care about it that much." -Nisiprius

likegarden
Posts: 2454
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 5:33 pm

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by likegarden » Thu Oct 19, 2017 5:56 pm

It seems that identity theft can happen anytime. Our data are in many places, not only Equifax. My wife and I went last Saturday for flue shots, went to the medical office we also go for physicals for many years, they should have already our data. We were asked to fill out a sheet requesting insurance ID, Medicare number which includes SS number, address, birth date, medical information. We had to give them our credit card and drivers license of which they made a picture of. We refused the Medicare number.

That medical office probably has our Social Security numbers, they are now fully computerized. This office is part of a regional medical group which includes several hospitals. Identity theft could happen there. Similar questionnaires could exist when you get a flue shot at Walmart or drugstores- how is their security? Good luck. I wish the best for brak.

brak
Posts: 369
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:00 am

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by brak » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:07 pm

You folks are giving me both great input and support - I really appreciate it. At this point I have briefed an attorney on the case. The recommendation is that next week I call Transamerica, ask them for an update on the investigation, and inform them that it is my expectation that they make this whole as they did in fact release the money without my father's authorization. As long as I am not stonewalled by Transamerica and I feel like progress is being made, I'll keep the attorney on the sidelines, but will not hesitate to involve him should Transamerica stonewall the case. Interestingly, in my last contact with the police, the same approach was recommended to me, in that I was told that I should now focus my energies into getting the money back, let the police deal with the crime and be aware of the fact that these financial crimes are oftentimes impossible to solve. Hopefully I will hear from the police i the next week and I will be able to diplomatically make sure that they are or intend to investigate all the leads that I have given them. 'Onward and upward!

stan1
Posts: 5143
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by stan1 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:15 pm

Be firm but persistent and polite. What you've experienced is fortunately still pretty rare. John Hancock is not setup to handle this situation in an efficient manner because it doesn't happen all the time. It's a criminal investigation not an error.

I still think given the value of the account and your father's age he'll eventually be reimbursed on the condition that you and he sign a non-disclosure agreement about the settlement. If your dad had millions of dollars in the account or if the investigation eventually determined that the money went to an ex-spouse or other relative they might not do anything. That's not your father's situation.

rgs92
Posts: 1524
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:00 pm

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by rgs92 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:48 pm

It's hard to believe that a financial institution would allow an account to be open with transactions of any kind (at least withdrawals) without an associated email address.

I mean, could you open a credit card or Paypal account without email? Does anyone have an old credit card account without email?

And if there was such an account (because it had been in existence for eons), then it should be subject to extremely special high security, especially for unusual transactions. Only one in a million accounts would be so isolated. How could it be ignored? It's so vulnerable.

I would think an account without email could only be used for withdrawals by in-person transactions with lots of IDs, like they do at State Motor Vehicles offices. And showing up in person would (I reckon) deter a criminal.

Could someone activate someone else's Social Security like this?

I theorize that the fraudsters somehow were looking for just this sort of account without associated email.

Anything less diligent on the part of the custodian seems to me almost like malpractice. Just my non-professional opinion.
Last edited by rgs92 on Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

radiowave
Posts: 1373
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by radiowave » Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:11 pm

PaddyMac wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:40 pm
ResearchMed wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:51 pm

As for withdrawals/distributions, perhaps that could function (hypothetical here, obviously) with some threshold, such as "more than 10% of account" or such.

RM
For credit cards, you need to set it to any amount from $0.01 on up. The reason is that fraud often starts with a 99 cents charge on Apple Store or whatever, just to test the account is valid. If it goes through, the next day there is a major shopping spree.

I created a new email account that is only used for financial accounts. I set up all credit cards and bank accounts to tell me about virtually everything that happens. So each day I get a number of emails saying that X amount was charged, deposited, withdrawn, paid, etc. In just the year or two that I set this up I stopped two credit cards frauds within minutes, once because I knew that I was not "pumping gas in Ohio" while I was also sitting at my computer at home...

Because the stream of emails don't interrupt my regular email address, I don't find the emails an issue. So highly recommend a separate account.
Many if not most credit care companies will also text message. Some will do it when the charge is made, e.g. you will get a text in a restaurant when the waiter/waitress goes back to charge the bill. The brick and mortar bank cc I have will not send an instantaneous text if you used the card, instantaneous only with online purchases. I'm digressing a bit from the OP, my apologies, just wanted to add further info how to protect yourself.

brak I hope things work out well.
Bogleheads Wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page

Mudpuppy
Posts: 5576
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:26 am
Location: Sunny California

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Mudpuppy » Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:40 pm

TropikThunder wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:21 pm
Mudpuppy wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:39 pm
DavidRoseMountain wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:43 pm
It's odd then because I've had a bank not make an external transfer to another bank for which I was the account holder on both, claiming there was a mismatch in the name, even though the routing and account numbers were entered correctly.
That just means you were dealing with an institution that decided the costs to implement more stringent verification processes were worth it to prevent fraud. It does not sound like Transamerica operates at that level of verification. Perhaps they should.
You're missing the point. The receiving bank, Regions, should never have allowed the incoming deposit to an account with a mismatch between the name and account number. This has nothing to do with what Transamerica did or did not do to verify the numbers.
Verification of the account holder's name is only required if the originator is the federal government, in which case the receiving bank can be held liable for the fraudulent transaction if they do not either return the payment to the federal agency or notify the federal agency of the name mismatch (from Title 31 CFR 210.8).

NACHA Operating Rules for ACH transfers do not require account holder name verification for non-governmental transactions. When there is a name mismatch, the receiving institution can opt to post based solely on the account number, reject the transaction with the invalid account code, or communicate with the originator about the issue (see II.A.10 of https://www.federalregister.gov/documen ... ring-house).

Wire transfers can also be posted solely by account number according to Regulation J, although if the receiving institution opts to do name verification, it should reject the wire transfer in the case of a mismatch. There is a snag in the language of Regulation J that if the receiving institution becomes aware of a possible name mismatch and still posts the funds, it could potentially be liable for erroneous transactions. But if the receiving institution opts to post transactions solely by account number, it cannot be held liable for erroneous transactions. Take a quick guess at what most institutions opt to do for wire transfers given this.

So Regions Bank would be operating within regulations to accept a transaction based solely on the account number. It would be great if all receiving institutions did name verification, but it is not a requirement. The OP needs to pursue this through the original custodian, not through the receiving institution. The receiving institution might be able to claw back some of the funds, but it is the original custodian that fell for the social engineering scam.

And OP, I would say your next step is to consult an attorney if you do not make any headway with TransAmerica soon. Perhaps there is a binding arbitration clause, but the few hundred it would take to consult an attorney may be well worth it at this point. Edit: I see you did consult with an attorney.
Last edited by Mudpuppy on Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

Mudpuppy
Posts: 5576
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:26 am
Location: Sunny California

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Mudpuppy » Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:17 am

rgs92 wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:48 pm
It's hard to believe that a financial institution would allow an account to be open with transactions of any kind (at least withdrawals) without an associated email address.

I mean, could you open a credit card or Paypal account without email? Does anyone have an old credit card account without email?

And if there was such an account (because it had been in existence for eons), than it should be subject to extremely special high security, especially for unusual transactions. Only one in a million accounts would be so isolated. How could it be ignored? It's so vulnerable.
It doesn't take eons to find accounts without email addresses. It doesn't even take decades. ARPANET and NSFNET, the precursors to today's Internet, did not allow commercial traffic. It was not until the 1990s that NSFNET was transitioned to a commercial network that eventually became today's Internet. So having online accounts and email addresses for commercial purposes didn't even become a thing until the 1990s and didn't really become prevalent until the past decade or so.

Given that the OP's father retired three decades ago and this account was tied to his place of employment, it was established well before the Internet era. While there are many older people who are tech-savvy, including many on this forum, that doesn't mean everyone is. Requiring email address or online accounts for all of their clients might not be the best approach for custodians to take.

On the flip side, behavioral analytic algorithms such as those used to detect credit card fraud could have been employed to guard against an attack like this one. If a decades-old account that never had online access or email addresses associated with it suddenly requested it now, that would be abnormal. We can add this to the list of things the custodian could have done to have prevented this scam.

investorpeter
Posts: 62
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2016 5:46 pm

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft - follow-up

Post by investorpeter » Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:29 pm

brak wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:56 am
So here are the developments since last I posted. I called Regions Bank, the bank to which the money was supposedly wired. Regions Bank says they have no record of either the account number which is on the copy of the voided check sent to the custodian of the account (Transamerica), nor do they have any record of an account existing under my father's name if they plug in his SS#. So I am completely perplexed as to how to interpret this. We have now spoken to the police twice, and they are determining whether they will spearhead the investigation or turn it over to the FBI.They have asked me to not make any further calls to attempt to figure out what is going on with this case other than to get updates from the IRA account custodian (Transamerica). So that's the update.
Either Regions or Transamerica is giving you incorrect or incomplete information. Based on what is known so far: Transamerica transferred the money to a specific routing number to a specific account number that they believed was an account in your father's name at Region's bank. If that routing number indeed belongs to Region's bank, there was an account number at Regions to which it was transferred. Region's should be able to figure that out easily. But they are under no obligation, and probably would not legally be allowed to tell you what name that account number is associated with. They did tell you there is no account number under your father's name or social security number, and there is no reason to think they would have lied to you about that. So assuming the routing number belongs to Regions, the scam was to transfer the money to Regions under a different name than your father's (to facilitate the subsequent transfer out of Regions), but to make Transamerica think that the account number at Region's was associated with your father's name, so as to allow the transfer to occur (as there would be no forseeable reason to transfer almost the entire contents of one's IRA to a different person). In order to further reduce suspicion by Transamerica, a notarized document was provided. Whether that notarized document is authentic is unknown, but it seems unlikely to be authentic. The scammers were just assuming that Transamerica would not verify the authenticity of the notarized document. And to even further to reduce suspicion by Transamerica, some money was left behind in the Transamerica account to "pay for taxes." I really don't know how often that occurs and I could be way off, but to me, that last bit sounds extraordinary. Almost like the person(s) who executed this scam were intimately familiar with what would set off red flags at Transamerica. They would also have to know that your father had an idle account without internet access and would likely not discover the missing money until it was too late. Personally, given what we know, I think it is unlikely that your father was the only account that was fraudulently targeted at Transamerica. This may be an important thing to consider in deciding whether Transamerica will eventually make your father whole. I agree with others that it is time to talk to an attorney.

spencer99
Posts: 295
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2010 5:17 pm

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by spencer99 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:43 pm

tadamsmar wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:24 pm
TravelGeek wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:15 am

Right, live up to your responsibilities. Among them, as documented on the page you linked to:

"Never share your user name, password, or other account-related information with anyone."

Don't share your passwords with anyone includes your spouse or children (if elderly); you can give them access rights through their own login account, so Vanguard can track who is actually transacting or accessing data. I only learned that through a BH thread a couple years ago (thanks!); until then I was managing my wife's account by logging in as her.
And, all the custodians that provide any kind of reimbursement pledge require never sharing passwords, sharing appears to void the pledge. Lots of spouses share passwords. I suppose all the password sharers can hope that they will reimburse unless the password sharing caused the breach, but there is nothing in these pledges makes that anything more than a hope.
The implications of password sharing concern me. If one uses a password manager (such as Last Pass) would that constitute sharing?

AlphaLess
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:38 pm

Re: Re:UPDATE: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by AlphaLess » Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:54 pm

brak wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:47 pm
So for those of you who are interested, here is the latest installment of new information. The initial call to the custodian of the IRA (Transamerica), which both changed the email address and requested forms for withdrawal of funds, was made from a telephone located at the place my father worked, in New York, when he was contributing to this IRA. He retired thirty years ago. All we have is the general phone number of the institution, but not the specific phone from which the call was made. Transamerica has acknowledged that the voice on the phone is not my father's. We also know that the application to withdraw funds required a notary, and we have the seal and name of the notary, who is located in Los Angeles. We also have the name of the bank and the account number to which the funds from this IRA were wired = the account is in my father's name with his address. We have already filed a police incident report and we will be updating the police with this most recent information. Other than securing my father's other accounts, is there anything else we should be doing at this time? Any other thoughts? Thanks.
Two words: inside job.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by AlphaLess » Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:55 pm

Cruise wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:36 pm
OP: The financial institutions breached their duty to protect your father’s assets when they realeased them to a party who was not your father. You need to have him retain an attorney specializing in banking matters, and have the attorney file a claim for redress. All the other concerns about catching the bad guy are really “noise” with respect to making your father whole.
++++

Remember: the bad guy could be a 450 pound guy operating from his grandmothers basement in Romania.

Not your job to catch him.

Just try to make yourself whole.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Mordoch » Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:27 pm

spencer99 wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:43 pm
The implications of password sharing concern me. If one uses a password manager (such as Last Pass) would that constitute sharing?
The answer is it would not, or at least not in any way that would hold up in court. Using a password manager is actually clearly recognized as basically the gold standard in terms of securing your account. The only exception might be if you used some sort of really obscure (and it turns out flawed) or sketchy password manager and your password gets specifically compromised by you doing so. (Its really more like writing down your password and putting it in a very well secured safe deposit box in a bank with 24/7 manned security with the way the best password managers are set up.)

(Even with arbitration, particularly legally absurd and ridiculous results could be successfully challenged. It should also be noted that arbitration is not quite as stacked in favor of the company as you might think, at least which the legal facts sufficiently favor the investor/victim, so the results are very likely to be in favor of the investor in the first place in certain scenarios.)

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by jabberwockOG » Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:55 pm

I'd look at this issue as a crime committed against Transamerica and not your father. Some crook fraudulently tricked Transamerica into emptying one of their customers accounts. Regardless of how it was done or the process used or where the funds went, the bottom line is that the bank was tricked by a crook into emptying the funds from a customer's account without proper authorization from the actual rightful account holder. This means the bank's existing security process and procedures used to verify identity and proper authorization were inadequate/faulty and failed and therefore it is 100% the bank's responsibility to reimburse the customer for his funds.

Investigating the crime and catching the criminal is Transameric's job from my viewpoint.

Personally I'd retain an attorney right now to formally demand that the funds that the bank transferred out without the actual account owner's authorization be put back in his account immediately.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Call_Me_Op » Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:49 am

jabberwockOG wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:55 pm
I'd look at this issue as a crime committed against Transamerica and not your father. Some crook fraudulently tricked Transamerica into emptying one of their customers accounts. Regardless of how it was done or the process used or where the funds went, the bottom line is that the bank was tricked by a crook into emptying the funds from a customer's account without proper authorization from the actual rightful account holder. This means the bank's existing security process and procedures used to verify identity and proper authorization were inadequate/faulty and failed and therefore it is 100% the bank's responsibility to reimburse the customer for his funds.
You are calling Transamerica a "bank." It is not. If it were a bank, there would be no worries, as it would be governed by federal (and perhaps also state) regulations and would need to make the customer (more or less) whole.
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by mptfan » Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:29 am

Mordoch wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:27 pm
It should also be noted that arbitration is not quite as stacked in favor of the company as you might think...
It should be noted that mandatory binding arbitration is very much stacked in favor of the company and against the consumer.

"A 2007 Public Citizen report claimed that arbitrators working for the National Arbitration Forum, at the time one of the largest U.S. administrators of consumer arbitrations, had ruled against consumers 94 percent of the time."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business ... 5b880f285f
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Mordoch » Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:40 pm

mptfan wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:29 am
Mordoch wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:27 pm
It should also be noted that arbitration is not quite as stacked in favor of the company as you might think...
It should be noted that mandatory binding arbitration is very much stacked in favor of the company and against the consumer.

"A 2007 Public Citizen report claimed that arbitrators working for the National Arbitration Forum, at the time one of the largest U.S. administrators of consumer arbitrations, had ruled against consumers 94 percent of the time."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business ... 5b880f285f
While I probably could have phrased that differently, the key to understand is when the lawyers tell the company the legal facts/ details of the case are very clearly against them and they are going to lose if they take it to arbitration, the company generally is going to just pay up rather than actually go to arbitration if they know there is no way they are going to win this particular dispute. Why arbitration in many of these cases may end up reliably favoring the company in close cases, the company generally does not take it to arbitration when the relevant facts/legal issues obviously are entirely in favor of the consumer. (For that matter if an arbitrator comes to a truly legally ridiculous ruling, I am talking in a legal sense rather than just what someone might think of it, it is certainly absolutely possible to get overturned in a court.)

It should also be noted by the way that the particular arbitration company was forced out of the business partially due to their practices, so assuming all the percentages will be identical with all arbitration may be a bit pessimistic.

In the case of a password manager, the basic point is someone using a proper password manger (assuming at least an acceptable master password) is clearly taking better security precautions than the vast majority of the fund/ broker's customers and trying to evade payout with such a technical argument would really plainly be a bad faith effort to evade payment. (The safe/ safe deposit box argument could also be brought up if they really did try to make this argument.)

Incidentally with regards to the OP, if you continue to not have the company make your father whole and you start feeling you are getting stonewalled and not making progressive, you could file a complaint with FINRA, or at least threaten to do so and see if that gets a response before actually taking this step.
http://www.finra.org/investors/investor ... int-center

While Transamerica may not be a bank, they have legal obligations under these circumstances. They can't simply mistakenly give the money to a third party like this with no level of involvement or plausible responsibility on the part of you or your father in the act and say tough luck. (Why an initial investigation on their part to confirm the basic facts may be one thing, reimbursing your father within a reasonable time frame after they have established certain facts is not something that they should be considered optional.)

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by azurekep » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:42 pm

I'm reposting this from the Experian Dark Web thread in Personal Consumer Issues:
JMacDonald wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:19 am
Here is an article about this: http://www.latimes.com/business/lazarus ... story.html
David Lazarus is the best guy to contact to do an expose on fraudulant and shady practices that harm consumers. I hope the guy in the other thread who is dealing with Transamerica and the wiping out of a retirement account contacts Lazarus.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by mptfan » Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:31 pm

Mordoch wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:40 pm
mptfan wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:29 am
Mordoch wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:27 pm
It should also be noted that arbitration is not quite as stacked in favor of the company as you might think...
It should be noted that mandatory binding arbitration is very much stacked in favor of the company and against the consumer.

"A 2007 Public Citizen report claimed that arbitrators working for the National Arbitration Forum, at the time one of the largest U.S. administrators of consumer arbitrations, had ruled against consumers 94 percent of the time."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business ... 5b880f285f
While I probably could have phrased that differently, the key to understand is when the lawyers tell the company the legal facts/ details of the case are very clearly against them and they are going to lose if they take it to arbitration, the company generally is going to just pay up rather than actually go to arbitration if they know there is no way they are going to win this particular dispute. Why arbitration in many of these cases may end up reliably favoring the company in close cases, the company generally does not take it to arbitration when the relevant facts/legal issues obviously are entirely in favor of the consumer. (For that matter if an arbitrator comes to a truly legally ridiculous ruling, I am talking in a legal sense rather than just what someone might think of it, it is certainly absolutely possible to get overturned in a court.)
Your statements are simply false and it is clear that you are not knowledgeable in this area. It is not true that if an arbitrator comes up with a ridiculous ruling (who decides if a ruling is ridiculous?) it is possible to get it overturned in court, the courts have consistently ruled that courts of law are preempted from overturning arbitration awards based on the Federal Arbitration Act.

Do you have any evidence to support what you claim companies generally do and when they generally "just pay up."? I am an attorney, and I have years of professional experience in this area, and I can tell you that your statements are false, no matter how reasonable they may seem.

So many people believe, understandably, perhaps from what they learned in civics class in high school that we, as Americans, have the right to go to court of law and have a dis-interested and unbiased judge or jury hear our case and come to a decision, and if we don't like the decision, we have the right to appeal the decision to a higher court. Unfortunately, these "rights" have simply been taken away from us in cases involving pre-dispute mandatory binding arbitration clauses. I understand that what I am saying may sound shocking, and it may offend most people's sense of fairness, but it is the reality of the legal system we have today.
Last edited by mptfan on Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:44 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Mordoch » Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:59 pm

mptfan wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:31 pm
Do you have any evidence to support what you claim companies generally do and when they generally "just pay up."? I am an attorney, and I have years of professional experience in this area, and I can tell you that your statements are false, no matter how reasonable they may seem
Since it is somewhat off topic from the original thread, I am going to back off disputing this issue in general.

Going back to the narrow type of circumstances the thread was originally talking about, fighting the customer in a situation where it clear an outside third party was responsible for the theft and the victim acted reasonably responsibly is a very dangerous thing for a firm to do. (Some of the details of this case make him even more sympathetic.) Basically all they need is for the story to get traction in the media or "go viral" and they could potentially lose a bunch of existing customers along with potential ones due to the impact on their reputation.

Furthermore, it should be noted in the case of FINRA arbitration, customers won damages in disputes with arbitration about 48% of the time in 2010 and 2011.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial ... _Authority

While it may have not been as much as desired in many cases, it should be noted the companies defending themselves also end up with at least effective legal expenses as well when they take it to arbitration. Furthermore, in the case like the OP's FINRA actually has a huge inherent incentive to favor the customer in this particular case. Basically if the public perception (based on media reporting of the decision or the like) becomes that even if you take a reasonable degree of prudent precautions (and the person who committed the crime is a true third party) your money is not safe at a financial firm in terms of at least eventually getting it back due to fraud, that puts the whole industry at risk as people will start looking for investment options associated with banks instead where the regulatory protections are stronger. Furthermore, FINRA absolutely has to worry about Congress stepping in with new regulations if they are perceived as being excessively unfair in favor of the investment firms, which gives them another reason to rule against the investment in this specific type of situation. (Its better for the investment firm to lose a case they should have never brought to arbitration in the first place than to be stuck with regulations which cause the investment firm to end up the loser in a variety of other cases they would have previously won in arbitration plus complicate their businesses in general.)

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Call_Me_Op » Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:30 am

Mordoch wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:59 pm
Basically if the public perception (based on media reporting of the decision or the like) becomes that even if you take a reasonable degree of prudent precautions (and the person who committed the crime is a true third party) your money is not safe at a financial firm in terms of at least eventually getting it back due to fraud, that puts the whole industry at risk as people will start looking for investment options associated with banks instead where the regulatory protections are stronger.
Isn't this just for bank accounts? I was unaware that these protections extended to investment accounts associated with banks.
Best regards, -Op | | "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Einstein

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by runner540 » Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:47 am

I haven't read the whole thread and am not clear on whether it was a brokerage account, but has the OP looked into reporting this to FINRA, CFPB and any relevant state financial/consumer authorities? Customer complaints must be dealt with and responded to, or the institution may lose its status.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by mptfan » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:34 am

Mordoch wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:59 pm
Furthermore, in the case like the OP's FINRA actually has a huge inherent incentive to favor the customer in this particular case. Basically if the public perception (based on media reporting of the decision or the like) becomes that even if you take a reasonable degree of prudent precautions (and the person who committed the crime is a true third party) your money is not safe at a financial firm in terms of at least eventually getting it back due to fraud, that puts the whole industry at risk as people will start looking for investment options associated with banks instead where the regulatory protections are stronger.
This is bunk. The public perception of mandatory arbitration clauses in near zero...the vast majority of people I talk to, including potential clients, have NO IDEA that the boilerplate fine print in their contract means that they have given up their right as American citizens to take their dispute to a court of law and have it decided by an impartial judge and jury who are not selected by the company they have the dispute with, and that they have no right to appeal, and that they have to pay much higher filing fees than if they filed in court, and they are not allowed to use the procedural mechanisms to gather evidence that would be available in a court of law. I have spoken with probably hundreds or thousands of people about this topic over the years, and I have yet to meet ONE person who understood these issues. Not one. The Bogleheads are a self selected group who are much more educated and informed than the average person, but even among Bogleheads I would posit that most did not fully understand the implications of standard form mandatory binding arbitration clauses until they read this. To take it one step further, I challenge anyone reading this to ask someone else if they understand what mandatory binding arbitration is and wait to hear their answer. Anyone. If someone gives an informed answer that describes what it really is and what you are really giving up, I will be shocked. The legal framework that supports private mandatory binding arbitration in our country today persists BECAUSE of, not in spite of, the widespread ignorance of the populace. To suggest that "public perception" is a huge incentive to favor the customer is just misguided and not based on reality.
Mordoch wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:59 pm
Furthermore, FINRA absolutely has to worry about Congress stepping in with new regulations if they are perceived as being excessively unfair in favor of the investment firms, which gives them another reason to rule against the investment in this specific type of situation. (Its better for the investment firm to lose a case they should have never brought to arbitration in the first place than to be stuck with regulations which cause the investment firm to end up the loser in a variety of other cases they would have previously won in arbitration plus complicate their businesses in general.)
Are you serious? I am not allowed to get in to politics, so I will just say that the odds of this Congress stepping in with new regulations to protect consumers from unfairness is zero.
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by DavidRoseMountain » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:28 pm

mptfan wrote:
Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:34 am
Mordoch wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:59 pm
Furthermore, in the case like the OP's FINRA actually has a huge inherent incentive to favor the customer in this particular case. Basically if the public perception (based on media reporting of the decision or the like) becomes that even if you take a reasonable degree of prudent precautions (and the person who committed the crime is a true third party) your money is not safe at a financial firm in terms of at least eventually getting it back due to fraud, that puts the whole industry at risk as people will start looking for investment options associated with banks instead where the regulatory protections are stronger.
This is bunk. The public perception of mandatory arbitration clauses in near zero...the vast majority of people I talk to, including potential clients, have NO IDEA that the boilerplate fine print in their contract means that they have given up their right as American citizens to take their dispute to a court of law and have it decided by an impartial judge and jury who are not selected by the company they have the dispute with, and that they have no right to appeal, and that they have to pay much higher filing fees than if they filed in court, and they are not allowed to use the procedural mechanisms to gather evidence that would be available in a court of law. I have spoken with probably hundreds or thousands of people about this topic over the years, and I have yet to meet ONE person who understood these issues. Not one. The Bogleheads are a self selected group who are much more educated and informed than the average person, but even among Bogleheads I would posit that most did not fully understand the implications of standard form mandatory binding arbitration clauses until they read this. To take it one step further, I challenge anyone reading this to ask someone else if they understand what mandatory binding arbitration is and wait to hear their answer. Anyone. If someone gives an informed answer that describes what it really is and what you are really giving up, I will be shocked. The legal framework that supports private mandatory binding arbitration in our country today persists BECAUSE of, not in spite of, the widespread ignorance of the populace. To suggest that "public perception" is a huge incentive to favor the customer is just misguided and not based on reality.
Mordoch wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:59 pm
Furthermore, FINRA absolutely has to worry about Congress stepping in with new regulations if they are perceived as being excessively unfair in favor of the investment firms, which gives them another reason to rule against the investment in this specific type of situation. (Its better for the investment firm to lose a case they should have never brought to arbitration in the first place than to be stuck with regulations which cause the investment firm to end up the loser in a variety of other cases they would have previously won in arbitration plus complicate their businesses in general.)
Are you serious? I am not allowed to get in to politics, so I will just say that the odds of this Congress stepping in with new regulations to protect consumers from unfairness is zero.
It's just upsetting to think that the original poster would have to resort to arbitration in order to get his father's money back.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by TravelGeek » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:07 pm

DavidRoseMountain wrote:
Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:28 pm

It's just upsetting to think that the original poster would have to resort to arbitration in order to get his father's money back.
Right. Isn’t the short (simplified) version that a guy walks into a bank (I know, not a bank), shows a fake ID pretending to be me, and empties out my account? How could I possibly protect myself against that.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Mordoch » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:14 pm

mptfan wrote:
Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:34 am
Mordoch wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:59 pm
Furthermore, in the case like the OP's FINRA actually has a huge inherent incentive to favor the customer in this particular case. Basically if the public perception (based on media reporting of the decision or the like) becomes that even if you take a reasonable degree of prudent precautions (and the person who committed the crime is a true third party) your money is not safe at a financial firm in terms of at least eventually getting it back due to fraud, that puts the whole industry at risk as people will start looking for investment options associated with banks instead where the regulatory protections are stronger.
This is bunk. The public perception of mandatory arbitration clauses in near zero... The legal framework that supports private mandatory binding arbitration in our country today persists BECAUSE of, not in spite of, the widespread ignorance of the populace. To suggest that "public perception" is a huge incentive to favor the customer is just misguided and not based on reality.
Your argument for starters is almost completely bunk. The reality is the general public simply flat out have no need to really understand mandatory arbitration clauses in order to understand a story where an innocent victim has their money stolen and neither the broker/ mutual fund nor any sort of regulators step in to get their money returned. The story can certainly do plenty of damage with the public having a simplistic or incomplete understand of the full circumstances after hearing about it through news reports or social media. They might mistakenly think the person was able to go to regular court but lost due to how the laws are written, but if they understand banks, or other options are at least perceived as being safer they could end up moving their money their as a result. (Its possible a social media version of the story making the rounds eventually will be highly distorted and claim the mutual fund stole the money and their corrupt courts let them, so everyone should buy physical gold with their savings and store it in a safe at home, but it still could have an impact in persuading some individuals to stop trusting financial investment firms with their money.)

You don't have to be a legal expert and authority to object or react to the outcome of an arbitration or court case.
Mordoch wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:59 pm
Furthermore, FINRA absolutely has to worry about Congress stepping in with new regulations if they are perceived as being excessively unfair in favor of the investment firms, which gives them another reason to rule against the investment in this specific type of situation. (Its better for the investment firm to lose a case they should have never brought to arbitration in the first place than to be stuck with regulations which cause the investment firm to end up the loser in a variety of other cases they would have previously won in arbitration plus complicate their businesses in general.)
mptfan wrote:
Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:34 am
Are you serious? I am not allowed to get in to politics, so I will just say that the odds of this Congress stepping in with new regulations to protect consumers from unfairness is zero.
Obviously I am very serious and members of FINRA certainly will consider this unless they are unbelievably short sighted in their calculations. Simply put it is highly unlikely the current political balance at the national level will stay static that way forever, so the firms have to consider the possible impact of public opinion in the longer run. Note that we are really talking here about a potential future event at this point (since the OP has clear options) rather than primarily considering an event which literally occurs today.

Furthermore, assuming the firm does not promptly pay up, a case and the potential for news/ bad publicity about it reaching the public does not end overnight. There can certainly be a significant amount of time from the initial incident until an arbitration decision in a particular case actually is made. Basically FINRA has to worry about public perception shifting due to bad publicity and this leading to new regulations once the political makeup shifts. It also is true that an investigative reporting style piece could bring up the incident with a sympathetic victim along with more recent ones years after the fact to make a more effective argument that the issue is something people should be concerned about.

While better understanding of the issues would help motivate public opinion, all the public really needs to understand is FINRA is allowing brokers/ mutual funds in some situations to stiff customers when money is stolen by no fault of the customers and better regulations are needed to potentially impact future public policies.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by mptfan » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:35 am

A timely news report regarding how much FINRA has to "worry" about Congress stepping in with new consumer friendly regulations...

With Vice President Pence casting the tie-breaking vote, the rollback of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule banning restrictive mandatory arbitration clauses found in the fine print of credit card and checking account agreements passed 51-50, with Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and John Kennedy, R-La., voting against repeal. The Republican-controlled House had already voted to rescind the rule and President Trump is expected to quickly sign the measure, which also bars similar rules in the future.

The CFPB rule, released in July, was aimed at giving consumers more power. Prior to the rule, the CFPB said companies could "sidestep the court system" by "forcing consumers to give up or go it alone." This allowed companies to "avoid big refunds, and continue harmful practices," the CFPB wrote in July in announcing the changes. CFPB said it was redressing a situation in which consumers were forced "to give up or go it alone — usually over small amounts," while companies were able to "sidestep the court system, avoid big refunds, and continue harmful practices."

In a statement released shortly after the vote, CFPB Director Richard Cordray said it represented "a giant setback for every consumer in this country. Wall Street won and ordinary people lost." In July, The Washington Post wrote that the rule "came about because of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation, which the Trump administration and Republicans have been trying to dismantle. The legislation required the CFPB to study the use of arbitration agreements and report back to Congress. The rule is a result of that report."

The move is part of a larger push by Republicans to roll back regulations that they believe hurt the free market.

Democrats argue that such rules give consumers more power to stop abusive practices, citing "the sales practices at Wells Fargo and the security breach at credit company Equifax as examples of misdeeds protected through forced arbitration," The Associated Press writes.

"So who does forced arbitration help? Wall Street banks and other huge corporations that never pay the price for cheating working people," said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

As NPR's Chris Arnold wrote last year, "in recent years, and especially after a Supreme Court decision in 2011, mandatory arbitration clauses have become widespread across all kinds of industries. So consumers in many instances have signed away their right to seek restitution through a class action."

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/ ... -companies


https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/pl ... aac7678068
Last edited by mptfan on Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:39 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by brak » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:37 am

STAY TUNED....UPDATE SHOULD BE COMING LATER TODAY OR TOMORROW...WHAT A JOURNEY!!!! AND BOY, CAN I USE INPUT.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by BolderBoy » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:11 am

TravelGeek wrote:
Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:07 pm
DavidRoseMountain wrote:
Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:28 pm

It's just upsetting to think that the original poster would have to resort to arbitration in order to get his father's money back.
Right. Isn’t the short (simplified) version that a guy walks into a bank (I know, not a bank), shows a fake ID pretending to be me, and empties out my account? How could I possibly protect myself against that.
By having a security word on the account. Show ID then the teller asks for your security word...
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by TravelGeek » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:35 am

BolderBoy wrote:
Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:11 am
By having a security word on the account. Show ID then the teller asks for your security word...
I got a new checking account a couple of years ago, with a major bank. I don’t recall that it was an option offered to me. I’ll have to call them (and my credit union) and ask about that. Thanks!

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by NewPhoneWhoDis » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:50 pm

Call_Me_Op wrote:
Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:30 am
Mordoch wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:59 pm
Basically if the public perception (based on media reporting of the decision or the like) becomes that even if you take a reasonable degree of prudent precautions (and the person who committed the crime is a true third party) your money is not safe at a financial firm in terms of at least eventually getting it back due to fraud, that puts the whole industry at risk as people will start looking for investment options associated with banks instead where the regulatory protections are stronger.
Isn't this just for bank accounts? I was unaware that these protections extended to investment accounts associated with banks.
You are correct that IRAs and accounts held under custodial agreement that qualify as a trust under the Internal Revenue Code are not covered under Regulation E and therefore are not subject to its consumer protections.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft -UPDATE

Post by brak » Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:04 pm

So here's an update - any input is most welcome. Since the last report:
1. Depending on to whom I talk at Transamerica (IRA custodian), their investigation of this case either has or hasn't begun, and it has or will begin by their asking Regions Bank for the money back. Transamerica will not tell me the status of the investigation nor when it will be completed. They stated that they will not reach out to me with updates, but I am free to call them. They have stated that their focus is on getting the money back from Regions Bank (where the money was sent to by Transamerica), but have in no way committed to making the account whole again regardless.
2. Regions Bank is refusing to say whether the account number on the bottom of the voided Regions check that was sent to Transamerica exists or not. All they are willing to say at this point is that the account number I gave them is neither associated with my father's name or Social Security number. They are having me fill out an affidavit of fraud (which was not suggested to me in previous phone calls to Regions Bank), have referred me to their security department, and have stated that I should call them a few days after their receipt of the affidavit of fraud and statement of fact.
3. It turns out, contrary to what I had been told before, that my father did in fact have his email address connected to this account prior to when the fraudster changed it. My father had never used email to conduct any business with Transamerica. A few days after the fraudster made their first contact with Transamerica in which they switched the email address, Transamerica did in fact email my father stating that an account feature had been changed and to contact them if this was not initiated by my father. Unfortunately, my father was quite ill at this time and therefore did not see this email. On top of that, his computer was broken at the time, but even if that had not been the case he would not have checked his email given his physical health. During his illness I was checking his postal mail but not his email, which was probably my mistake.
4. This case has now been assigned to a detective in our city's police force. He has made one contact with me in which he said that it is unlikely that the funds will be recovered from the fraudster, that there are limits as to what his police department can do investigation-wise, but that they will do what they can to get Transamerica to make the account whole, starting with issuing a subpoena if Transamerica continues to refuse to inform me as to the status of the investigation. He has called Transamerica once, and spoken to someone there who said that they do not know the status of the investigation but will have someone who does call him back. So do I contact the FBI or wait at this point?
5. In one of my conversations with a Transamerica agent, I was told that Transamerica had experienced an increase in fraud cases, and that agents were being briefed as to needing to be careful security-wise - I was not told what this meant concretely.
6. I have an attorney waiting in the wings.

And that's what I know. Again, you folks have been great and helpful and supportive and I really appreciate it.

DavidRoseMountain
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2014 3:27 pm

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by DavidRoseMountain » Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:06 pm

I wonder if Brak's experience is the canary in the coal mine of what's to come with financial wrongdoing and stealing.

EHEngineer
Posts: 657
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2015 4:35 pm

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by EHEngineer » Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:29 pm

I'm getting repetitive, but I will say again because I don't think you have done it.

Call Clark Howard. 404-892-8227 http://clark.com/about-consumer-action-center/
Or, you can ... decline to let me, a stranger on the Internet, egg you on to an exercise in time-wasting, and you could say "I'm probably OK and I don't care about it that much." -Nisiprius

Nate79
Posts: 1572
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:24 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Nate79 » Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:41 pm

+1 to contacting Clark Howard. I would also contact my congressman, senator, .... It's really sad how they are stonewalling you. Think about if the money was needed to eat or pay a mortgage?

retiredjg
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Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:56 pm

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft -UPDATE

Post by retiredjg » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:23 am

brak wrote:
Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:04 pm
4. This case has now been assigned to a detective in our city's police force. He has made one contact with me.... He has called Transamerica once, and spoken to someone there who said that they do not know the status of the investigation but will have someone who does call him back.

So do I contact the FBI or wait at this point?
Let the detective do his job.

sschoe2
Posts: 192
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2017 4:42 pm

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by sschoe2 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:24 am

The hacker could be in Russia or some third world country somewhere. That is probably why he is saying there is probably not much he can do. This is pretty sophisticated.

EHEngineer
Posts: 657
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2015 4:35 pm

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by EHEngineer » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:37 am

One other thing I just remembered, a potential avenue of recovery.

Did any of the forms used to steal the money require a Medallion Signature Guarantee? My understanding is that the guarantee transfers the liability/fraud risk to the owner of the Medallion. Presumably that would have been Regions Bank.
Or, you can ... decline to let me, a stranger on the Internet, egg you on to an exercise in time-wasting, and you could say "I'm probably OK and I don't care about it that much." -Nisiprius

Mudpuppy
Posts: 5576
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:26 am
Location: Sunny California

Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft -UPDATE

Post by Mudpuppy » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:11 am

brak wrote:
Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:04 pm
So here's an update - any input is most welcome. Since the last report:
1. Depending on to whom I talk at Transamerica (IRA custodian), their investigation of this case either has or hasn't begun, and it has or will begin by their asking Regions Bank for the money back. Transamerica will not tell me the status of the investigation nor when it will be completed. They stated that they will not reach out to me with updates, but I am free to call them. They have stated that their focus is on getting the money back from Regions Bank (where the money was sent to by Transamerica), but have in no way committed to making the account whole again regardless.
It might be time to activate the lawyer you have waiting in the wings. This response makes it sound like Transamerica is treating this as a mistaken ACH/wire transfer (e.g. someone put in the wrong account number), not the fraud that has actually occurred. The problem with this sort of response is that it can easily lead to "oh well, we couldn't recover the money from Regions Bank so you're out of luck", as they would do to a business who had put in the wrong account information for a wire transfer.

You want the lawyer to look into the terms and conditions to see how Transamerica is supposed to handle fraud cases and also to see how binding that "notification of change" email really is. It's time to pay him/her to do some digging into the legal terms and conditions before you get to the "out of luck" response from Transamerica.

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