Members often hear from financial planners offering retirement preparation services and claiming to be experts on NYSTRS benefits. Their strategies include ads and videos found online, as well as direct mailings. These marketing tools can be carefully crafted so they appear as if the person is an actual NYSTRS representative. Many even offer a free meal.
These people are not representatives of NYSTRS. They may be reputable financial planners, but that does not make them experts on NYSTRS benefits; don’t assume the information they provide about NYSTRS is accurate. The only people you should trust when it comes to your pension are verified NYSTRS employees or members of our Board.
Here’s a tip: If someone wants to charge you to review your NYSTRS benefits, you’re not talking to someone associated with the Retirement System. There is never a cost to talk to a NYSTRS representative about your public pension benefits.
While we encourage you to work with a certified financial planner to map out your future, be sure to get information about your NYSTRS benefit from one place only: NYSTRS.
Caller ID Spoofing
Another thing NYSTRS will never do is call you and request a payment over the phone. There are rare instances where we may call to discuss money you owe to NYSTRS, but these conversations will always be followed by a written communication confirming the details. Any requests for payment will be provided to you in writing.
We bring this to your attention because Caller ID spoofing has become a nationwide issue. This occurs when someone falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display. It is often done in an effort to get you to provide personal information so your identity can be stolen. It is also a trick used to extort money. Visit FCC.gov and review the agency’s Caller ID and Spoofing Guide for details.
Protect Your PII
NYSTRS also urges you to remain vigilant in protecting your personally identifiable information (PII). Following are some tips you can use to protect your PII:
- If you think your personal identity has been compromised, contact us immediately at (800) 348-7298, Ext. 6190 to discuss options for adding a theft of ID flag to your System account. This will notify staff to take extra care in authenticating your identity before sharing specific information over the phone or processing any transactions. You can also choose a flag that limits access to your MyNYSTRS account.
- As a general rule, do not include personal and/or sensitive information in emails. An exception would be when using a secure email system like the one NYSTRS offers through the MyNYSTRS online portal.
- Don’t open attachments in emails sent from people or groups you don’t know. It may contain malicious files that install malware on your device.
- If you get an unexpected email with an attachment from someone you do know, verify that the person actually sent it. The email may actually be from a bad actor posing as the person.
- Never share your usernames or passwords. Doing so increases the risk of fraudulent access to your records.
- Use passwords that are difficult to guess and only you would be likely to know. Increase its complexity by using both lower and uppercase letters, numbers and symbols.
- When shopping online, only trust websites with the prefix “https.” If the “s” at the end is missing the site is not using a secure protocol to encrypt data.