Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

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mrc
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Re: Identity theft

Post by mrc » Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:48 am

fposte wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:20 am
TheTimeLord wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:49 am

Maybe someone has pointed this out but on every account I have I immediately get a notification at my old email address that it has been changes along with a message to contact them if this is an unauthorized change. Does TransAmerica not do this?
I believe Brak has said his father had no email address.
Yes. All the more reason to secure accounts with online access. By the time you receive statements/confirms via snail mail, it is too late to act. That is if you receive them. I'm surprised TransAmerica didn't mail something to the postal address on file. Shady.
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TravelGeek
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:50 am

ResearchMed wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:38 am
And the use of a finger print (per a previous post)?

How does that get "verified" or otherwise become useful, *especially* pro-actively, to help determine whether the "account holder" is the *real* account holder?
(Sure, it might be helpful after the fact to "prove" that the fingerprint did not belong to the account holder, but ... the horses are already out of the barn at that point.)

Even if the local notary took a fingerprint, at what point would that be used to validate the request to remove funds, in a timely fashion or not?
I always thought of the fingerprint as a deterrent to discourage wannabe crooks. It's not useful for any validation.

I also wonder how often a notary gets called to verify that they actually signed/stamped a particular document. I'll have something to get notarized in a few weeks; might ask my local UPS Store guy about it. Some of my notarized documents have gone to foreign institutions; I doubt there is much verification going on.

ResearchMed
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:01 am

TravelGeek wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:50 am
ResearchMed wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:38 am
And the use of a finger print (per a previous post)?

How does that get "verified" or otherwise become useful, *especially* pro-actively, to help determine whether the "account holder" is the *real* account holder?
(Sure, it might be helpful after the fact to "prove" that the fingerprint did not belong to the account holder, but ... the horses are already out of the barn at that point.)

Even if the local notary took a fingerprint, at what point would that be used to validate the request to remove funds, in a timely fashion or not?
I always thought of the fingerprint as a deterrent to discourage wannabe crooks. It's not useful for any validation.

I also wonder how often a notary gets called to verify that they actually signed/stamped a particular document. I'll have something to get notarized in a few weeks; might ask my local UPS Store guy about it. Some of my notarized documents have gone to foreign institutions; I doubt there is much verification going on.
A lot of this entire process is remarkably loose.

In our state, at least in the recent past (and I have no reason to think it has changed), the "witnesses" (e.g., to a will or trust) can just "sign".
There apparently isn't always a need for a typed name (or address/etc.).
That is, an illegible "signature" would suffice. Good luck in the future finding that person if ever necessary, or even knowing who to look for...

An awful lot of this seems to be based upon a sense of theatre, for deterrence, and however useful (r not) it might have been in the past, current technology has made most of it of little actual use if not entirely useless.
In the past, in small towns where almost everyone knew everyone else, sure, but that's not the community (aka *world*) we live in now.
It might be of little of no use after the fact, too, nowadays.

And as with most scams, it's going to be an unending game of cops and robbers... any new deterrent efforts will be overcome, with the need for yet another "new" deterrent.

Sigh.

RM
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david99
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by david99 » Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:21 am

I think that Trans America is responsible for this mess. Why didn't they send a letter to the account holder when there was a change to the account? Why didn't they make a two minute phone call to the account holder to confirm that he requested the change? You probably have good reasons to take legal action if they don't restore the funds.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by littlebird » Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:06 am

TravelGeek wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:01 am
NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:17 pm
In Missouri I've never had a notary ask for more than a Driver's license. No thumbprint.
I have had stuff notarized in CA and Oregon, and in both cases ID and thumb print were recorded in the notary's book. And I believe the OP mentioned that the notary in this case was allegedly (if real) in CA.

How does the recipient of a notarized document verify that it wasn't a fake notary? Is there a registery to verify notaries?
A notary public is tested, investigated and licensed by the state in which s/he is to work. Yes, there is a state registry of notaries, at least in the 3 states I am familiar with

investorpeter
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by investorpeter » Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:41 am

TravelGeek wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:01 am
NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:17 pm
In Missouri I've never had a notary ask for more than a Driver's license. No thumbprint.
I have had stuff notarized in CA and Oregon, and in both cases ID and thumb print were recorded in the notary's book. And I believe the OP mentioned that the notary in this case was allegedly (if real) in CA.

How does the recipient of a notarized document verify that it wasn't a fake notary? Is there a registery to verify notaries?
1) Look at the state where the notary is registered on the stamp. Many state registries are online. For CA:
http://www.sos.ca.gov/notary/notary-public-listing

2) If you see the name and business address, look up the phone number on google and contact them to see if they have their own record of notarizing the document. If they do not have a record (and they are supposed to keep their own records) inform them their name is being forged on notarized documents. If they do have a record, ask them what they have and turn over to law enforcement. If it is a fingerprint, it may be a known criminal who has done this before. The notary is potentially liable for improper notarizations so they will be motivated to help you. Notarized documents are often presumed to be genuine (hardly anyone confirms with the notary to be sure it is genuine), but it does create a paper trail that may lead back to the criminal.

Rupert
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Rupert » Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:17 pm

investorpeter wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:06 pm
Rupert wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:22 pm
brak wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:51 pm
Thanks again for all the support and good advice. Today was spent talking to other financial institutions that house my parents' money. All I can say is that Ally, Vanguard and Fidelity have security measures in place that are significantly more sophisticated than those of the custodian of the account, Trans America. Now whether that adds up to negligence on Trans America's part is another matter and I don't yet know the answer. Coming up next : on Monday we meet with police to give further info and ask them how aggressively they plan to pursue this, also decide whether or not to bring in the US attorney's office. Will also put on fraud alerts and use chexsystem. There's only so much of this I can take in a day. Thanks again and stay tuned (maybe I can turn this into a Netflix series!).
You're doing all the right things. When you next meet with the police, specifically ask them if it would be better to refer it out to the US Attorney due to the interstate nature of the crime. Local police/prosecutors are often happy to offload such cases (they usually don't have the resources to investigate them properly), and they do it all the time. There's a formal process in place for such referrals.
Law enforcement is not going to pursue this with the same vigor as you would. $52,000 is a lot of money for one person to lose, but for the US attorney or FBI, it may not generate much more activity than a report that gets filed somewhere. They will likely tell you this happens all the time. They may initially assume it was a bank error or family dispute. Meanwhile evidence could be lost like video from Region's bank or from the notary office. If you do leave it up entirely to law enforcement, your best bet is to present as much evidence as possible that this was clearly fraud. And push them to pursue the many leads you already have. Personally, I would want to pursue this on my own to the point of making it abundantly clear it was fraud such as by having a copy of the notarized document with a fake notarization (a true notary's name will be registered and easily confirmed) or the wire transfer showing the money was transferred from Regions to some foreign bank.
This, to a large extent, depends on where you live. You're right that in, say, Manhattan this would not be a high priority case. But in the hinterlands, say, Pensacola, FL, or the mid-size city where I live, the feds would definitely be interested in this case. It's big enough and, more importantly, sophisticated enough. Whoever did this didn't just do it one time. FYI: I'm a federal criminal defense lawyer, and I see cases like this and smaller ones all the time.

SimonJester
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by SimonJester » Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:23 pm

If a fingerprint was taken it can be used by the police later on to try and match the print against the NICS database. But again it depends if they even bother over this small amount.

Hopefully the account custodian will do the right thing and restore the account. I would then move the funds to another custodian as the security protocols at this one are pretty slack...

Changing email, adding bank account, adding online credentials (if that happened), and a withdrawal of the account funds and this did not trigger but a single paper mailing. At a minimum you should have received a paper mailing when the email was added and when the bank account was added.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

likegarden
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by likegarden » Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:42 pm

Driver license can be faked. In NY state when I have to get a document for my pension notarized at a bank, I show my US passport, no fingerprint is there required.

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sergeant
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Re: Identity theft

Post by sergeant » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:37 pm

SimonJester wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:21 pm
Wow this is unbelievable! Why didn't Transamerica mail a letter to your father when the email change occurred?
For the paperwork to be notarized the thief needed to present some form of official ID.

At Vanguard I would have received multiple email and paper mailings. The change of email, then addition of a new bank account, and the transactions themselves all would generate a mailing home...

You should have your father freeze his Checksystem report as well. This may prevent the thief from opening additional bank accounts under your father's identity.
There are many crooked notaries. I investigated financial crimes for many years and arrested several myself.
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by letsgobobby » Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:32 pm

david99 wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:21 am
I think that Trans America is responsible for this mess. Why didn't they send a letter to the account holder when there was a change to the account? Why didn't they make a two minute phone call to the account holder to confirm that he requested the change? You probably have good reasons to take legal action if they don't restore the funds.
I don't have an opinion about Transamerica's liability, but wouldn't it get annoying if they, or Vanguard, called every time you wanted to change an address, withdraw a 'large' sum, whatever? Maybe it's rare enough that it would be tolerable.

Wakefield1
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Wakefield1 » Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:43 pm

I have it set that I get an e-mail notification from my Credit Union (with a timestamp) every time there is a logon to my account,the idea is that if I didn't logon then someone else (scammer?) did.

ResearchMed
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:51 pm

letsgobobby wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:32 pm
david99 wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:21 am
I think that Trans America is responsible for this mess. Why didn't they send a letter to the account holder when there was a change to the account? Why didn't they make a two minute phone call to the account holder to confirm that he requested the change? You probably have good reasons to take legal action if they don't restore the funds.
I don't have an opinion about Transamerica's liability, but wouldn't it get annoying if they, or Vanguard, called every time you wanted to change an address, withdraw a 'large' sum, whatever? Maybe it's rare enough that it would be tolerable.
Given what's been going on (and I assume there is far more that is not yet commonly known), I'd be *delighted* if they'd contact us each time - and before - there is a change of address or "large sum" withdrawal!

After all, how often would you expect to be requesting a change of address?
As for withdrawals/distributions, perhaps that could function (hypothetical here, obviously) with some threshold, such as "more than 10% of account" or such.

Determining "how to contact" would be important, if scamming needed to be avoided, lest one "get permission" from the scammers themselves. :annoyed

Other actions, such as fund exchanges or even stock trades, would usually have less dramatic effects and, importantly, they can - if necessary - be reversed/unwound. Good luck with "reversing" inappropriately withdrawn funds that have totally vanished...

RM
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tadamsmar
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by tadamsmar » Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:02 pm

Wakefield1 wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:28 am
david99 wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:25 am
Thanks for posting this. I've increased the security on my accounts.
I would get a lawyer involved in this situation. I think that a letter from your lawyer will put more pressure on Trans America. In the event that Trans America does not return your money, I would let them know that you plan to go to the news media with this story. I don't think that a big company like Trans America wants this kind of bad publicity all over the Internet. This would be especially true if this has happened to several accounts at Trans America and multiple stories of theft at their company start to hit the Internet.
As long as Trans America seems to be cooperating and investigating the theft avidly I would be reluctant to take such a threatening or adversarial measure against them.
So...

Do you figure Trans America is handling this matter without consulting a lawyer? If they are consulting a lawyer, does that mean they are using adversial measures against the OP's father?
Last edited by tadamsmar on Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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tadamsmar
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Re: Identity theft

Post by tadamsmar » Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:04 pm

mrc wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:48 am
fposte wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:20 am
TheTimeLord wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:49 am

Maybe someone has pointed this out but on every account I have I immediately get a notification at my old email address that it has been changes along with a message to contact them if this is an unauthorized change. Does TransAmerica not do this?
I believe Brak has said his father had no email address.
Yes. All the more reason to secure accounts with online access. By the time you receive statements/confirms via snail mail, it is too late to act. That is if you receive them. I'm surprised TransAmerica didn't mail something to the postal address on file. Shady.
The crook used only phone and snail-mail.

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mrc
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Re: Identity theft

Post by mrc » Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:18 pm

tadamsmar wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:04 pm
mrc wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:48 am
fposte wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:20 am
TheTimeLord wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:49 am

Maybe someone has pointed this out but on every account I have I immediately get a notification at my old email address that it has been changes along with a message to contact them if this is an unauthorized change. Does TransAmerica not do this?
I believe Brak has said his father had no email address.
Yes. All the more reason to secure accounts with online access. By the time you receive statements/confirms via snail mail, it is too late to act. That is if you receive them. I'm surprised TransAmerica didn't mail something to the postal address on file. Shady.
The crook used only phone and snail-mail.
A process made easier by the lack of online access and email notifications. I'm still stuck on why no letter confirming the changes made it to the person's mailbox in time to arrest the change, or at all ...
A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you're doing it right, but not enough to know you're doing it wrong. — Neil deGrasse Tyson

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tadamsmar
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by tadamsmar » 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.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:50 pm

letsgobobby wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:32 pm
I don't have an opinion about Transamerica's liability, but wouldn't it get annoying if they, or Vanguard, called every time you wanted to change an address, withdraw a 'large' sum, whatever? Maybe it's rare enough that it would be tolerable.
I don't know how often you change your address, but log into your Vanguard account and try it. You'll be warned that certain types of actions will be disallowed for a certain period (I think it's wiring money and adding new bank accounts) and they will also mail you letters to the old and new address to notify you of the address change.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Mudpuppy » Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:54 am

There seems to be a thread to the OP father's employer. Since the OP's father retired three decades ago, that means we're likely dealing with paper documents from his time of employment. It's possible that some archival documents were not properly destroyed and landed into the wrong hands. There's a wealth of individualized information in such documents, particularly from that era (pre-1990s). This doesn't mean it was taken by someone at the former employer though. It could have been as simple as improperly clearing out a storage room (not destroying everything) or an insider at the document destruction company.

As for the notary process, it is mostly a trust process and it is not very proactive. There's very little verification before the transaction proceeds. The purpose of the notary is to have an avenue for prosecution if the transaction turns out to be fraud. This of course presumes that the notary was legitimate and noted all state-required verification documents.

Good luck to the OP and the OP's father.

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

Post by brak » 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.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by SimonJester » Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:25 am

Its now 16 days in and the money has not been restored? Has the custodian given any sort of estimate when the money will be restored to the account?
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DavidRoseMountain
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft - follow-up

Post by DavidRoseMountain » Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:36 am

brak wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:56 am
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.
It makes it sound like Transamerica's computer system was hacked and made to believe they were sending money over to Regions Bank, when in fact it really was going somewhere else.

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

Post by Mudpuppy » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:17 am

DavidRoseMountain wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:36 am
brak wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:56 am
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.
It makes it sound like Transamerica's computer system was hacked and made to believe they were sending money over to Regions Bank, when in fact it really was going somewhere else.
A simpler explanation may apply here: the voided check could have had a different routing number than the actual routing number for Regions Bank. There's not much verification that routing numbers match the name of the bank on the check and it's the routing number that determines which financial institution receives the electronic transfer. If that is the case, the police or federal agency investigating should be able to track down the actual receiving bank for the funds based on the routing number in the transfer records.

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

Post by DavidRoseMountain » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:26 am

Mudpuppy wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:17 am
DavidRoseMountain wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:36 am
brak wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:56 am
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.
It makes it sound like Transamerica's computer system was hacked and made to believe they were sending money over to Regions Bank, when in fact it really was going somewhere else.
A simpler explanation may apply here: the voided check could have had a different routing number than the actual routing number for Regions Bank. There's not much verification that routing numbers match the name of the bank on the check and it's the routing number that determines which financial institution receives the electronic transfer. If that is the case, the police or federal agency investigating should be able to track down the actual receiving bank for the funds based on the routing number in the transfer records.
If that's the case then find out yourself what the bank is by using the routing number on the check to attempt to add that bank as a bank used for external transfers from your checking account. Before you entirely fill out the form, you can find out the name of the bank when populating the routing number on a bank to bank external transfer page.

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

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:08 am

DavidRoseMountain wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:26 am
If that's the case then find out yourself what the bank is by using the routing number on the check to attempt to add that bank as a bank used for external transfers from your checking account. Before you entirely fill out the form, you can find out the name of the bank when populating the routing number on a bank to bank external transfer page.
That's more complicated than needed. There are many lookup services out there. Here's one:

http://www.neach.org/aba/index.php
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brak
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by brak » Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:16 pm

When you go to the website suggested in the post above this one, you get asked immediately for a password. So it seems like it's not accessible.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by brak » Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:17 pm

Simon Jester - the custodian (Transamerica) has refused to commit to when the investigation will be completed.

whomever
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by whomever » Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:49 pm

I googled 'routing number lookup' and found:

http://www.bankrouting.org/

plugging our bank's number generated the correct bank.

brak
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by brak » Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:00 pm

Thanks whomever. The counting number on the check in fact matches the routing number for a branch of Regions Bank in Alabama.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by brak » Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:00 pm

oops...not counting, but routing number.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Cunobelinus » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:29 pm

lws6772 wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:15 pm
I was wondering when they would start stealing retirement accounts. My concern was also getting stuck with a big tax bill and the 10% penalty for those under 59 1/2. My wife froze our credit several years ago and I moved all my IRAs "offline" several years before that.
What does it mean to move an IRA "offline?"

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:47 pm

brak wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:16 pm
When you go to the website suggested in the post above this one, you get asked immediately for a password. So it seems like it's not accessible.
Ok, I apologize for that. Did you search for a similar one that DOES work? There are many.
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by mouses » Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:09 am

letsgobobby wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:32 pm
I don't have an opinion about Transamerica's liability, but wouldn't it get annoying if they, or Vanguard, called every time you wanted to change an address, withdraw a 'large' sum, whatever? Maybe it's rare enough that it would be tolerable.
I would opt in to this if they had such a feature.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Katietsu » Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:46 am

Cunobelinus wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:29 pm
lws6772 wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:15 pm
I was wondering when they would start stealing retirement accounts. My concern was also getting stuck with a big tax bill and the 10% penalty for those under 59 1/2. My wife froze our credit several years ago and I moved all my IRAs "offline" several years before that.
What does it mean to move an IRA "offline?"
I assume he means that the IRA does not show up as one of the accounts if logging into the institution online. So, if I had a checking account and IRA with Friendly Bank when logging in I would only see the checking account. Some institutions do this well and others do not.

Unfortunately, this would not have prevented the theft of this TransAmerica IRA as the information did not originate from online account access.

Mudpuppy
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Mudpuppy » Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:22 am

brak wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:00 pm
Thanks whomever. The counting number on the check in fact matches the routing number for a branch of Regions Bank in Alabama.
It's also possible to forge the NAME on the check, while leaving a valid routing number and bank account. Anyone with a laser printer and the appropriate type of paper can make a check with anything they want on it. They can forge the name, the bank info, the address... anything. So the check might say your father's name while Regions Bank's records say "Sally Smith" is the account holder. In that case, Regions Bank will never answer your questions about the account since you don't have the proper account holder information. For all they know, you are trying to scam poor Sally out of her money.

Since the authorities are involved, they will provide the appropriate legal documentation to Regions Bank to compel the account holder and transaction information from Regions Bank and the investigation will go from there. That may also be why they've asked you to stop digging into this yourself.

As for the original retirement account holder, it might be worth consulting an attorney to see what you can do to get them to reimburse the money while the investigation proceeds. A few hundred dollars for proper legal advice seems worth it in the context of over $50k having been stolen.

Another tip throughout this: If you do not have financial power of attorney over your father's affairs, you will encounter resistance at some point from financial institutions (or have already encountered such resistance but perhaps not realized this was happening). An appropriate response from a financial institution, particularly in light of all the SSNs and other personal information leaked in recent data breaches, is to neither confirm nor deny information about an account holder to a third-party without written documentation of a financial power of attorney or other legal documentation compelling such information be released. It is far too easy these days for a scammer to call up a financial institution claiming to be the account holder or adult child of the account holder because of the volume of information released in the data breaches.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by DavidRoseMountain » Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:49 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:22 am
brak wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:00 pm
Thanks whomever. The counting number on the check in fact matches the routing number for a branch of Regions Bank in Alabama.
It's also possible to forge the NAME on the check, while leaving a valid routing number and bank account. Anyone with a laser printer and the appropriate type of paper can make a check with anything they want on it. They can forge the name, the bank info, the address... anything. So the check might say your father's name while Regions Bank's records say "Sally Smith" is the account holder.
If the name on the check doesn't match the name for the account holder with that routing and bank account number then I don't see how Regions Bank could have accepted that check ?

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by brak » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:17 pm

David Rose Mountain - that makes two of us.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Mudpuppy » Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:50 pm

DavidRoseMountain wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:49 pm
Mudpuppy wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:22 am
brak wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:00 pm
Thanks whomever. The counting number on the check in fact matches the routing number for a branch of Regions Bank in Alabama.
It's also possible to forge the NAME on the check, while leaving a valid routing number and bank account. Anyone with a laser printer and the appropriate type of paper can make a check with anything they want on it. They can forge the name, the bank info, the address... anything. So the check might say your father's name while Regions Bank's records say "Sally Smith" is the account holder.
If the name on the check doesn't match the name for the account holder with that routing and bank account number then I don't see how Regions Bank could have accepted that check ?
Regions Bank was not the financial company that accepted the voided check. The original retirement account custodian, Transamerica, was the one that accepted the voided check. It is very likely that Transamerica just used the voided check to extract the routing number and account number for the transfer, not for verification purposes. Many people get the routing or account numbers wrong, so taking the information off a voided check instead of trusting what people put down on the transfer form minimizes errors during everyday operations.

In order for Transamerica to have detected a mismatch between the check information and the account holder information, they would have needed a process by which they could verify account holder information at another financial entity, namely Regions Bank. While there are many methods to detect "rubber" checks, such as tracking routing+account numbers or driver's license numbers of people that bounce checks or checking if funds are available in that routing+account number, privacy measures make it more difficult to verify whether or not "Sally Smith" is the account holder. I am sure banks could work out some such process if needed, but it would likely take a much higher level of fraud losses before they would do so.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by DavidRoseMountain » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:43 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:50 pm
In order for Transamerica to have detected a mismatch between the check information and the account holder information, they would have needed a process by which they could verify account holder information at another financial entity, namely Regions Bank. While there are many methods to detect "rubber" checks, such as tracking routing+account numbers or driver's license numbers of people that bounce checks or checking if funds are available in that routing+account number, privacy measures make it more difficult to verify whether or not "Sally Smith" is the account holder. I am sure banks could work out some such process if needed, but it would likely take a much higher level of fraud losses before they would do so.
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.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by PaddyMac » 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.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Mudpuppy » Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:39 pm

DavidRoseMountain wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:43 pm
Mudpuppy wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:50 pm
In order for Transamerica to have detected a mismatch between the check information and the account holder information, they would have needed a process by which they could verify account holder information at another financial entity, namely Regions Bank. While there are many methods to detect "rubber" checks, such as tracking routing+account numbers or driver's license numbers of people that bounce checks or checking if funds are available in that routing+account number, privacy measures make it more difficult to verify whether or not "Sally Smith" is the account holder. I am sure banks could work out some such process if needed, but it would likely take a much higher level of fraud losses before they would do so.
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.

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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Call_Me_Op » Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:43 am

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am profoundly concerned that none of the brokerage firms provide a solid guarantee that you will be made whole in the event of fraud. To say that they will reimburse the customer if the account is compromised through no fault of the customer does not provide comfort to me. That sounds like weasel wording that ensures that reimbursement is totally at the discretion of the brokerage.

I have no doubt that if a few thousand is stolen from your account with a large brokerage, they will quickly take care of that to avoid headlines. However, if a large sum is stolen I am not nearly as confident.
Best regards, -Op | | "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Einstein

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Soul.in.Progress
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Soul.in.Progress » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:36 am

Call_Me_Op wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:43 am
I don't know about the rest of you, but I am profoundly concerned that none of the brokerage firms provide a solid guarantee that you will be made whole in the event of fraud. To say that they will reimburse the customer if the account is compromised through no fault of the customer does not provide comfort to me. That sounds like weasel wording that ensures that reimbursement is totally at the discretion of the brokerage.

I have no doubt that if a few thousand is stolen from your account with a large brokerage, they will quickly take care of that to avoid headlines. However, if a large sum is stolen I am not nearly as confident.
This. I am in the camp of “profoundly concerned” about this also—that our hard-earned, large sum of savings could disappear or be radically reduced through fraud like we’ve seen with credit cards. The only difference is that with credit cards, we are not ultimately responsible for fraudulent shopping spree charges. I guess I am missing how others are dealing with this risk of invested money.
Start by doing what is necessary; | then do what is possible; | and suddenly you are doing the impossible. | -- Francis of Assisi

letsgobobby
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by letsgobobby » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:01 am

That's why I asked in another thread what others are doing across the board to minimize their exposure to risk. Some claim they are not concerned and I am bemused as to why not. The availability of Equifax data is a game changer in my mind. In theory the bad guys have all the data they need to answer any identificatioin confirmation question and gain access to any of my accounts. I am glad I've been able to establish voice verification at two institutions as that data was not in the Equifax hack. But even that is no guarantee, as if one answers enough questions with a phone rep one can bypass voice verification. And of course I have some institutions which offer neither voice verification nor 2 factor authentication.

It would not suprrise me in the long run to see Equifax become a company whose sole existence is for the purpose of paying damages to consumers. Between legislation and class action lawsuits, if retirement accounts and bank accounts start getting drained because of the data Equifax did not protect, they will not have any profits to divert to any other stakeholder. Proving their guilt in any individual case would be difficult but that's where the class action and the legislation come in. Certainly if large institutions start to find their customer accounts hacked by way of Equifax data, they'll be knocking on the door soon enough.
Last edited by letsgobobby on Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

Cheyenne
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by Cheyenne » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:17 am

That's why I asked in another thread what others are doing across the board to minimize their exposure to risk.


I took the steps explained below with Google Voice, Google Authenticator and a dedicated Gmail account.

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=227649&p=3545230#p3544706

mptfan
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by mptfan » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:34 am

clutchied wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:21 pm
On another note; is there a way to lock withdrawals for a period of time? Like a voluntary lock...
Wouldn't a voluntary lock be subject to a voluntary unlock?
I eat risk for breakfast. :)

clutchied
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by clutchied » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:56 am

mptfan wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:34 am
clutchied wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:21 pm
On another note; is there a way to lock withdrawals for a period of time? Like a voluntary lock...
Wouldn't a voluntary lock be subject to a voluntary unlock?
foiled!! :oops:

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

Post by EHEngineer » Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:13 am

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.
This response from the police is exasperating. They have done nothing (by your understanding) and they ask you to wait for them to figure out who will do something? You've got to be kidding me.

My 2c : If TransAmerica hasn't made your father whole by now, they do not intend to. Time to get public attention and get legal help. You cannot fix this yourself, and everyone else involved has let you down.

FWIW: Clark howard has a consumer hotline for advice. I'm pretty sure he would LOVE to put you on the air and help you twist any additional levers of power he knows.
404-892-8227
http://clark.com/about-consumer-action-center/

Good luck to you. I'm very interested to learn how this plays out.

Consumer affairs reporters
David Lazarus http://www.latimes.com/business/lanews- ... staff.html
Teresa Dixon Murray http://connect.cleveland.com/staff/tmurray/posts.html
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 » 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??

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roymeo
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Re: Retirement Account Stolen by Identity theft

Post by roymeo » Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:44 am

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