PSRS/PEERS Processes Detect Fraudulent Activity; Members Notified
As previously reported, on July 17, 2017, the Public School and Education Employee Retirement Systems of Missouri (PSRS/PEERS) became aware that PSRS/PEERS Web Member Services accounts were fraudulently created in an attempt to redirect members' retirement benefits.
PSRS/PEERS was not the source of the stolen information. Based on the distribution of those affected, we believe a St. Louis area entity providing services for the education community recently experienced an information security breach. However, the stolen information was used in an attempt to access the Web Member Services section of our website in an effort to make fraudulent account changes, which was immediately detected by PSRS/PEERS.
Based on information discerned by retirement systems’ technical and member services staff, the population whose data was stolen also included individuals who are not PSRS/PEERS members. The data was also used to change some affected individuals' mailing addresses with the U.S. Postal Service.
"These criminals used the stolen data in an attempt to steal retirement benefits from our members," said PSRS/PEERS Executive Director Steve Yoakum. "Our people and processes detected this attempt to access our members’ benefits and prevented any financial impact."
Approximately 720 members, a very small number of PSRS/PEERS' nearly 260,000 members, were impacted. All were contacted immediately by PSRS/PEERS by phone and by mail, as were authorities in the St. Louis area, the FBI and U.S. Postal Service inspectors, all of whom are currently investigating the incident.
"We place great value on the security of our members' personal and financial information, and we are pleased and proud that the technology protocols and the processes we have in place to protect them worked so well," Yoakum said. "We have advised all impacted members to contact all their financial institutions to determine if any of those accounts may have been compromised, and we provided them information so they can have fraud alerts placed on their credit files."
While our security procedures were highly effective, PSRS/PEERS has proactively added another layer of security for Web Member Services, to help ensure any future attempts to fraudulently access member information are prevented.