BOSTON (CBS) – It could be the next big target for identity thieves – our investments and retirement savings.

These accounts are not always protected the same way as bank accounts and credit cards. And there may be steps you need to take right now to protect your nest egg. But, these safeguards are not always well-known or easy to find.

“It’s not clear what would happen if someone stole money from you,” explained Kevin Brasler of Consumers’ Checkbook.

Those are not encouraging words when it comes to our retirement accounts. So the team at Consumers’ Checkbook set out to get some answers.

“We went poking around among the websites of 15 large investment companies,” said Brasler. “Six of those companies, we couldn’t find a policy on their website. Among the nine others that do have policies, it says you’re protected so long as you take the steps we say you need to take in order to get this protection.”

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But finding that list of required steps isn’t always easy. And complying may be even harder said Brasler.

“One [company] had more than 80 requirements and some of the requirements are silly, in the sense that they say you need to log into your account once a week,” he said.

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Along with frequently checking your account, other requirements can include having a secure home router, making sure to never share your password, and to never use public wi-fi for financial transactions.

“What they are requiring you do are good habits to take, in general, in terms of security precautions,” said Brasler. “The biggest problem is that they’re not warning you that you have to take these steps to protect your assets and they should be warning you, not burying it on their website.”

If you can’t find the security requirements for your account online you can call or email your investment company to get the complete list.

Kate Merrill


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