Picture what makes a typical fraud victim. Do you associate a certain age, occupation, socioeconomic status, or other common demographic marker with fraud? If so, you’re not alone. And you would also be mistaken.
Fraud, and in particular identity theft and cybercrime, is on the rise. And it’s affecting everyone.
- About 4.8 million people filed identity theft and fraud reports in 2020. That represents a 45-percent jump in just one year.
- Young people (ages 20 to 29) filed 44% of these reports.
- Millions of people have lost money to scams – at least $3.3 billion in 2020. That’s more than twice the amount lost in 2019.
- The median amount lost was greatest for those age 80 and above, at $1,300.
- On a list of states with the most reports of identity thefts per capita, Colorado ranks 20th.
How PERA Helps Prevent Fraud
A report by the Insurance Information Institute states that criminals are “beginning to focus their attention on different financial accounts, such as loyalty and rewards programs and retirement accounts.”
From time to time, criminals target PERA members and their retirement accounts. PERA employs a number of tools to help thwart these attempts. While much of this work is conducted confidentially at PERA, some of the anti-fraud measures PERA takes are visible to members.
- Those who have called PERA customer service know that customer service representatives ask questions to verify the identity of the person on the other line.
- PERA has deployed two-factor authentication for members logging in to their online account. Alongside a strong password, this creates a barrier to anyone trying to access member accounts illegally.
- Scammers can target PERA employers, too. PERA communicates regularly with employer contacts to share information that protects members.
Take Control of Your Information
In addition to the security defenses PERA employs, individuals can take the following steps to increase their protection:
- Use strong passwords. This might seem common sense, but millions of people aren’t still following it. Try using a password generator from a trusted source.
- Periodically check to see whether your information has been stolen on other websites. Scammers often use information they find in one scam to commit other, potentially more serious scams elsewhere.
- If you want a trusted friend or family member to have access to your PERA account in the event you are incapacitated, you can. Complete and submit this form at any time. If this document is not on file, PERA representatives are unable to make changes or even share information with anyone, including spouses, other than the member.