Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by LadyGeek » Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:31 pm

AuthorBobSullivan wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:08 pm
Please do contact me. I wrote that msnbc.com story in 2007 and I might be able to help. Bob At BobSullivan DOT Net
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by DavidRoseMountain » Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:42 pm

Congratulations Brak !! I'm hopeful that your father will be made whole.

What an eye opener this situation is ! I think what is still disturbing was how proactive you had to be regarding this issue, that the company wouldn't take care of things, but that you had to constantly call them.

Thanks Bob Sullivan for your interest in this issue. We work so hard to save and invest, and the last thing we need to find out is that the financial institution can be hacked, or that accounts can be stolen.

SpaceCowboy
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by SpaceCowboy » Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:49 pm

Congrats Brak.
Always thought TA would do the right thing. You demonstrated real patience and perseverance in dealing with this.
Hope your father has multiple years to enjoy the fruits of his hard saved dollars.

mptfan
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by mptfan » Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:57 pm

I am glad it worked out for you. I do wonder if this thread had some impact...after all, Bogleheads.org is one of the most popular personal finance discussion forums on the web, is it not? Perhaps TransAmerica became aware of this thread and they made the right decision to avoid further negative publicity.

investorpeter
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by investorpeter » Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:30 pm

Great news! Thank you for sharing your experience so that we may all learn from it.

stan1
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by stan1 » Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:01 pm

brak wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:01 pm
So today I called Transamerica and pushed harder, but in a polite and respectful way. Said that since the phone agents really did not have much information about the ongoing investigation, I wanted to speak to someone in the fraud crimes unit. I was told that the phone agents do not have a telephone number with which to contact the fraud crime unit, so neither he nor I could contact them that way, but that he would send an email to them notifying them that I wished to speak to them regarding the progress of the investigation. Approximately 30 minutes later I received a telephone call from a "team leader" at Transamerica, telling me that Transamerica had not been able to identify the perpetrator of the fraud as of yet, but they were going to make the account whole. There is one more affidavit my father has to sign and get notarized, which seems innocuous (just saying that he did not perpetrate the crime), and they said that once they receive that the account will be made whole within a week.
So I guess some stories do have happy endings. Again, I can't thank all of you enough for the advice and support given, and thanks Lady Geek for reopening the thread.
Good news indeed. Hopefully the thread will stay here to help others. I'm surprised you and your dad aren't being asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by mptfan » Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:57 pm

stan1 wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:01 pm
I'm surprised you and your dad aren't being asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
How do you know they were not asked?

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by brak » Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:38 pm

There was no non-disclosure agreement.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by EHEngineer » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:28 am

Will you keep us up to date if&when the reimbursement actually happens?
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

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by brak » Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:47 am

EHEngineer - sure. I am having an attorney review the affidavit before I have my father sign it. Transamerica says it will take a week from the time they receive the affidavit.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:24 am

Great news!

I'm glad it seems this horrible experience will soon be behind you, and your father. I can only imagine the stress you both have been under.

Are you considering moving your father's account?

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by brak » Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:28 am

Broken Man - once the funds are restored I'll be helping him transfer the account to Vanguard.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Mudpuppy » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:21 am

brak wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:47 am
EHEngineer - sure. I am having an attorney review the affidavit before I have my father sign it. Transamerica says it will take a week from the time they receive the affidavit.
Good idea on having the attorney review the affidavit to make sure there are no hidden gotchas in the fine print. And I hope Transamerica does follow through, but I'm a "don't count your chickens before they hatch" sort of gal, so I'll hold off on the celebrations until they actually do restore the funds.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Mudpuppy » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:35 am

tadamsmar wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:10 am
FINRA is the industry's non-government regulatory organization. They recommend that you ask your brokerage firm:
Will you reimburse me if my assets are compromised by a cyber-attack?
http://www.finra.org/investors/alerts/c ... erage-firm
While it is important to be aware of cyber-attack risks to ones investments, it bears noting that the OP's father was a victim of good old-fashioned ID theft via social engineering and falsified documents. While the Internet was involved since the thief changed the email address on the account and had the blank forms sent via email, that's more of an Internet substitution for a mailing address than Internet-perpetrated fraud. This theft all started with the phone call where the thief was able to social engineer the phone rep into changing the email address. So one should also be aware of the general fraud protections provided at one's brokerage firms, not just specifically their cyber-fraud protections.

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TimeRunner
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by TimeRunner » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:51 am

Mudpuppy wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:21 am
brak wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:47 am
EHEngineer - sure. I am having an attorney review the affidavit before I have my father sign it. Transamerica says it will take a week from the time they receive the affidavit.
Good idea on having the attorney review the affidavit to make sure there are no hidden gotchas in the fine print. And I hope Transamerica does follow through, but I'm a "don't count your chickens before they hatch" sort of gal, so I'll hold off on the celebrations until they actually do restore the funds.
Send that affidavit via US postal certified mail, and track it. :beer
One cannot enlighten the unconscious. | "I like people - I just don't want to be around 'em." - Russell Gordy

SpaceCowboy
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by SpaceCowboy » Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:43 am

brak wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:28 am
Broken Man - once the funds are restored I'll be helping him transfer the account to Vanguard.
I'd strongly consider transferring the account to someone with a physical branch near your father and you. Vanguard can be very difficult to deal with for an elder and things like powers of attorney. Helps to have a branch to be able to walk into.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by brak » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:03 pm

ripple - great idea! Thanks.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by brak » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:04 pm

rrppve - sorry for the wrong name - darn autocorrect!

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:29 pm

^ You know that you can edit posts, right? Click the pencil icon.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

brak
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by brak » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:59 pm

Thanks Earl. I do now!

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tadamsmar
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by tadamsmar » Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:00 am

rrppve wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:43 am
brak wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:28 am
Broken Man - once the funds are restored I'll be helping him transfer the account to Vanguard.
I'd strongly consider transferring the account to someone with a physical branch near your father and you. Vanguard can be very difficult to deal with for an elder and things like powers of attorney. Helps to have a branch to be able to walk into.
Note that one can set up something called Agent Authorization for a Vanguard Account. It allows someone to manage your account's funds via their own account login. But, I don't think the agent can manage all account settings. At least, I am an agent for my wife and MIL and I don't see a way to set their security settings from my own account.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Wakefield1 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:51 am

tadamsmar wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:00 am
rrppve wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:43 am
brak wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:28 am
Broken Man - once the funds are restored I'll be helping him transfer the account to Vanguard.
I'd strongly consider transferring the account to someone with a physical branch near your father and you. Vanguard can be very difficult to deal with for an elder and things like powers of attorney. Helps to have a branch to be able to walk into.
Note that one can set up something called Agent Authorization for a Vanguard Account. It allows someone to manage your account's funds via their own account login. But, I don't think the agent can manage all account settings. At least, I am an agent for my wife and MIL and I don't see a way to set their security settings from my own account.
There are at least two ways to do "agent". One of them gives you almost complete control of the account including moving funds out of it.Change beneficiary? I think extensive signature forms,permissions to be filled in by both the account owner and the "agent", and probably a medallion signature are required to be mailed in to Vanguard before that can be set up on the account. It might also require some sort of Power of Attorney.

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tadamsmar
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by tadamsmar » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:15 am

Wakefield1 wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:51 am
There are at least two ways to do "agent". One of them gives you almost complete control of the account including moving funds out of it.Change beneficiary? I think extensive signature forms,permissions to be filled in by both the account owner and the "agent", and probably a medallion signature are required to be mailed in to Vanguard before that can be set up on the account. It might also require some sort of Power of Attorney.
Your post is a bit confusing.

There are indeed two types of agents.

Change beneficiary?

It appears that the more powerful type of agent can change beneficiaries online from their own account. If you are an agent, then you can log in a see for yourself. Also it says you can do it on the form. But I have never actually changed a beneficiary for someone using that feature. If you have more than one heir, you might want to think twice about granting full agent authorization to one of them!

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by EHEngineer » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:55 am

brak wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:28 am
Broken Man - once the funds are restored I'll be helping him transfer the account to Vanguard.
brak - Will you share an update with us? I'd like to know if Transamerica kept its word and how easy/difficult it has been.
Thanks,
Ehen
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

brak
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by brak » Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:14 pm

So, all's well that ends well. The money is back in the account, there is no indication from Transamerica as to who the thief was, and after the New Year I will be transferring the account to Vanguard. Thanks again for all your help and support.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by jfn111 » Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:17 pm

That's great news! :beer

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:18 pm

Great news!

You might consider being an agent for your father, or at the least sign up for duplicate statements.

I signed up for all the possible email alerts at Vanguard, as well as any other financial entity. I get a few more emails, but it takes so little time to investigate the transaction, though usually I remember the details anyway.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Doom&Gloom » Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:24 pm

Wow! Amazing. Job well done!

ResearchMed
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:48 pm

brak wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:14 pm
So, all's well that ends well. The money is back in the account, there is no indication from Transamerica as to who the thief was, and after the New Year I will be transferring the account to Vanguard. Thanks again for all your help and support.
This is a WONDERFUL surprise!!

Did you get any interim updates, or any info at all about what happened or how it got resolved?

A nice way to keep up cheerful holiday spirits.

(I admit, it didn't look like this was going to be the outcome...)

Thanks for the update!

RM
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Wakefield1
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Wakefield1 » Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:27 pm

Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:18 pm
Great news!

You might consider being an agent for your father, or at the least sign up for duplicate statements.

[ Sounds like a very good idea-even if "limited" that way if someone hacks your account they probably can't do much to his]

I signed up for all the possible email alerts at Vanguard, as well as any other financial entity. I get a few more emails, but it takes so little time to investigate the transaction, though usually I remember the details anyway.

Broken Man 1999
:idea: :sharebeer

brak
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by brak » Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:59 pm

Thanks again for all the support folks. In response to the questions and comments. I received no interim reports from Transamerica unless I called them. Whenever I called they told me that they had no news to report, that the case was still being investigated and that I could not talk to the investigators. So...the last time I called, when met with the same response from them, I told them that I knew they were a reputable company and if I didn't know better I would think that they were stonewalling me and I would feel much better about things if this could be resolved quickly without my having to sue them. The next day, I received a call from Transamerica saying that the decision had been made to fully replenish the account, that they had not discovered the identity of the thief, but the next step was to have my father sign another affidavit of fact, essentially attesting to the fact that he did not steal the money nor did he know who did. They emailed me the form, I had my father sign it the next day, and I sent it off certified mail. I did not hear anything for two weeks so I called. They told me that they had not received the affidavit - I told them that I had proof that they had received it since I made sure that the letter had to be signed for by them. I told them that since I had proof that they did have the affidavit, I was feeling very sad because it was indicating to me that they were stonewalling and that if the money was not back in the account in three business days I would need to both notify my attorney and the press. The money was back in the account two days later. I am glad I postponed taking a threatening stance with them until I was very clear that they were dragging their feet and not giving it an honest effort. By the way, the money was in a money market account - the amount of money put back into the account by Transamerica included lost interest payments.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by SR II » Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:18 pm

So glad it worked out!

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Mudpuppy » Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:16 pm

Glad it worked out. Too bad you had to threaten to contact a lawyer and the media to get it to work out though.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by pondering » Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:19 am

I wonder if they would have had to pay attorney's fees after their stunt denying they received certified mail.
--Robert Sterbal | 412-977-3526 call/text

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Cruise » Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:28 am

Mudpuppy wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:16 pm
Glad it worked out. Too bad you had to threaten to contact a lawyer and the media to get it to work out though.
Between threatening with a lawyer and media, the media is the more threatening option. Companies have tons of lawyers whose job it is to handle plaintiff's attorneys. Negative media exposure entails way more uncertainty.

My father, a retiree from a major pharmaceutical manufacturer, once lost his health coverage from them because his cognitive decline caused him not to respond to a bill. The company would not reconsider their termination decision until a family member, an investigative reporter, contacted their media department to let them know she was working on "The Story." Amazing how quickly my father's health insurance was reinstated.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by brak » Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:12 am

Pondering - fortunately, no attorney fees were charged us.

AllMostThere
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by AllMostThere » Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:42 am

brak wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:14 pm
So, all's well that ends well. The money is back in the account, there is no indication from Transamerica as to who the thief was, and after the New Year I will be transferring the account to Vanguard. Thanks again for all your help and support.
Great news. Your determination and Pit Bull stance with them was the way to go and resulted good results. Your timely regular updates were appreciated and I'm confident this thread will be valuable to others in similar situation in the future - Thank You. Too bad they where so difficult to work with and unwilling to share information with a customer that was harmed. Why wait until after the New Year to transfer the funds? If it were me, I would RUN RUN RUN away as quickly as possible! The sooner the better. :happy

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by DavidRoseMountain » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:00 am

I know now never to use Transamerica

Not Law
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Not Law » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:15 pm

Transamerica was a fiduciary. It failed in its duty to protect your father's funds. Once it became satisfied that it made a mistake (father's affidavit), it made good on the account.

Based on the mishandling, I would expect your father will receive a 1099R showing a taxable distribution from his IRA account. It may even show that 20% was withheld for taxes. So plan on trying to get a corrected 1099 form in February!

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by RetiredAL » Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:05 pm

Found this somewhat similar story on the Internet News about a Canadian Bank not replacing a lost check until it hit the news.

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way ... n-february

"It's been more than nine months since a family in Canada realized that UPS lost a bank draft worth $846,000 (Canadian) that was sent to an inheritor. So far, the only money they've recovered is the $32 it cost to ship the document. Their bank, TD Canada Trust, has delayed issuing a new bank draft."

spoco79
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by spoco79 » Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:11 pm

The same thing happened to my elderly grandmother.

Ended up being a <former> family friend. She didn't wipe her out, but took her for about $10k.

The security questions were things along the line that anyone close to my grandmother would have known. My grandmother refused to press charges so the thief got away with it, albeit the friendship was over.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by EHEngineer » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:17 pm

brak wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:14 pm
So, all's well that ends well. The money is back in the account, there is no indication from Transamerica as to who the thief was, and after the New Year I will be transferring the account to Vanguard. Thanks again for all your help and support.
That's great, I'm glad they delivered. Thanks for the update. Nice work on your part. It's a lot of simple tasks but a stressful effort I'm sure. Happy holidays!
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

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pondering
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by pondering » Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:43 pm

brak wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:12 am
Pondering - fortunately, no attorney fees were charged us.
What I meant to communicate is that what often motivates people to settle are increase in costs once attorneys are involved. Since you had them dead to rights on with certified mail, an attorney on your side might just win the case that your fees would be covered by the bank, because they are being recalcitrant.
--Robert Sterbal | 412-977-3526 call/text

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