Avoiding Identity Theft in Self-Directed Investing

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As a financial institution, New Direction IRA takes the security of your information very seriously. We work hard to implement and update technology like firewalls and antimalware to protect the non-public sensitive information we store for our clients. Verbal verification over the phone, password protected documents via e-mail, and two-way password verification are among the measures we take to confirm the identities of anyone we speak with. Your e-mail address, date of birth, and the last four digits of your Social Security number are critical to our verification process, but they’re also susceptible to interception through methods beyond our control.

When updating the information associated with your self-directed retirement plan, you may wonder, “why can’t I just TELL you about the changes I need to make?” We want to safeguard your account should any of your personal information be compromised, so we remain committed to a certain set of business practices. Below are a few policies and forms that are designed to defend IRA investors by making it more difficult to corrupt your accounts:

  • Account Signature Page
    Initiating transactions and opening accounts online are easier than ever. These processes may not involve physical paperwork, but other transactions or updates require your handwritten signatures as added levels of verification. The Account Signature Page allows us to compare any hand-signed paperwork we receive following your application.
  • Change of Address
    Your address may be public information, but it’s still an important personal identifier. For in-kind distributions, it’s absolutely critical that a nefarious individual isn’t able to apply his or her address as that of your account. As such, we require a handwritten signature whenever updating the physical and/or mailing address associated with your plan.
  • Beneficiary Designation
    Your beneficiaries will inherit your account should you pass away, so it’s essential that your wishes are respected. We have encountered unfortunate cases where disgruntled family members or business partners may seek to assign themselves as beneficiaries without client permission. Beneficiaries may be added, removed, or otherwise updated only upon submission of proper documentation from the client.
  • Interested Party or Power of Attorney Designation
    Any such individuals will have direct access to your account. By designating an interested party, you’re authorizing us to share account information with said party at his or her request. Those with power of attorney may actually initiate transactions on behalf of your account, depending on the nature of the agreement. Therefore, it’s paramount that you and you alone make these designations through signed paperwork.
  • Account Opening Fees
    You may wonder why an application—especially when it’s easily completed online—would involve a fee. We verify your identity to ensure someone else isn’t attempting to use your address, Social Security number, or any other element of your identity for illicit purposes. The account opening fee covers the expense associated with conducting this verification.

IRA investing may seem inconvenient sometimes, but every process is designed to help protect your identity and your financial interests. A stolen e-mail address can do a lot of damage these days, so we follow these measures to help mitigate the risk of exposure should a criminal acquire your personal information and attempt to access your account. As lawbreakers develop new ways of attacking your identity, IRA providers like ours must remain ahead of the curve. Our security procedures are constantly reviewed and updated as needed. For more information about our information protection measures, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.

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