According to the Aite Group, 47% of Americans experienced financial identity theft in 2020. The group’s report, U.S. Identity Theft: The Stark Reality, found that losses from such cases cost more than $500 billion in 2019 and increased 42%—to over $700 billion—in 2020. Losses are forecast to increase even more in 2021. This report from the Insurance Information Institute offers a good overview of recent cybercrime stats in the U.S.
With increased attacks by hackers to steal private data and hold computer access for ransom, Fidelity Investments, the record keeper for Nazarene 403(b) Retirement Savings Plan accounts, is working to better protect ministers and other church employees from cybercrime, but participants must take an active role to keep themselves safe from attacks.
Fidelity recommends several steps account holders can take to improve security for their 403(b) accounts:
1. Set up online access for the account with a unique username and password.
Nazarene 403(b) accounts are automatically created with a participant’s Social Security number as the username. It’s a good idea to change this to something that is unique, but memorable. Also, having a strong password is vital. It should be random and avoid personal information, such as a name, birthday, or email address. It should include upper and lowercase letters, numerals, and symbols. Longer is better, and don’t use the same password for other accounts. Also, be sure to write down passwords in a secure place in the home, so they are available if forgotten or needed by a spouse or power of attorney.
New users of a Nazarene 403(b) account may go to netbenefits.com and select “Register.” Existing users who want to change a username or password may do this by visiting your Profile after logging in.
2. Sign up for Two-Factor Authentication (2FA).
2FA is an extra layer of security used to make sure people trying to gain access to an online account are who they say they are. First, the participant enters a username and password. Then, instead of immediately gaining access, they must provide another piece of information.
By enabling 2FA with Fidelity, when you log in with your username and password, you will be asked for an additional security code. Selecting whether you wish to receive it via text or an automated voice call activates a message to your phone. Just insert the numbers you receive in the “Security Code” box at the Fidelity website and your account is ready for use.
3. Keep your phone number and personal email address current.
Keeping your phone number and personal email address current allow you to receive information from Fidelity, even if you separate from an employer. It also allows Fidelity to contact you with real-time alerts and for 2FA. Log in at netbenefits.com with your username and password, go to Profile, then to Personal & Contact Information to keep these up to date.
4. Sign up for eDelivery and monitor your account.
Fidelity eDelivery allows participants to receive all documents and communications regarding your account directly as email. To start eDelivery, log in at netbenefits.com and go to Profile, then to Communication, and choose to receive your documents via email.
5. Enroll in “MyVoice®” for extra account security.
Talking to a Fidelity rep (866-629-2736 “866-NAZAREN”) allows participants to discuss everything about their account. Fidelity has increased the security for phone calls by offering MyVoice. MyVoice creates a secure digital print of your unique speech characteristics, thus eliminating the need for password or security phrases when you call. Learn more about MyVoice here. If you’d like to add this security feature to your account, just tell your Fidelity rep.
For other steps to help keep your Fidelity account safe, check this resource.
Also, tech specialist Mark Evilsizor has outlined several ideas in the September-October 2021 issue of P&B eNews to help keep your computer or network safe from criminals. You’ll find the article here.