TSP Mobile Phone Apps May Cause Security Risks

Don’t download the new TSP app from the Apple App store. It’s bogus, and may be an effort to steal your account information.

According to a notice posted on the official Thrift Savings Account website, the Thrift Savings Plan has no official connection with any third party mobile or Web application.

These apps typically ask you to input confidential account information. While there are some legitimate applications out there, it is also possible for criminals to create a cell phone app, use it to lure individuals into giving up account numbers and passcodes, and then use the information to steal from your accounts. Any use of a third-party app may jeopardize the security of your Thrift Savings Plan accounts, warn TSP officials.

 

Other fraud and identity theft protection tips

Bogus apps aren’t the only security threat out there. There are a number of ways criminals could potentially target the money in your thrift savings plan. It behooves plan participants to understand the ways that TSP officials communicate, so you can more reliably identify any attempt at fraud.

1.) Don’t give up your passcode, account number, PIN, Social Security number, or any other sensitive information to any contact from email, telephone or direct mail. Some scammers will try to convince you that they are doing a security update of TSP accounts and email or call you, and direct you to a convincing-looking Web site to verify your account information. You will never see any such request from the TSP.

2.) Never follow a link from an email account. The official TSP Web site is www.tsp.gov. If it doesn’t have a gov domain, it’s not the TSP.

3.) You will get mail from the TSP from time to time. All TSP mail comes postmarked Birmingham, Alabama. Also, all correspondence you receive from the TSP will already have your account number on it. Any correspondence from the TSP that doesn’t include your account number should be viewed with caution.

4.) No one at the TSP needs to know your password and PIN. Never give it out to someone contacting you claiming to be with the TSP.

5.) Know the official TSP contact info.

  • * ThriftLine (1-TSP-YOU-FRST, 1-877-968-3778)
  • * Fax number (1-866-817-5023)
  • * TDD (1-TSP-THRIFT5, 1-877-847-4385)
  • * TSP website, www.tsp.gov or By writing to the TSP at P.O. Box 385021, Birmingham, Alabama, 35238

 

6.) Never call the TSP directly from a number provided to you in an email. Always go to the TSP Website (or bookmark this article) and get the phone numbers from there.

7.) Don’t worry about threats to your account status. You will never hear legitimate TSP officials tell you your account will be closed if you don’t provide sensitive information to a Web site or telephone representative.

8.) Use a secure browser. Per the TSP:

The TSP website is secured with an “extended validation certificate.” This simply means that if you visit www.tsp.gov and attempt to access your account using a high-security browser, the color green will appear in one of the following forms (depending on the type of browser you are using):

  • * The address bar may turn green.
  • * An icon from the Web server may appear with a green background.
  • * “Thrift Savings Plan” may appear with a green background.
  • * The appearance of the green color is a sure indication that you are NOT on a bogus TSP website. If the green does not appear, it could indicate a bogus website or it may simply mean that your browser cannot use the extended validation feature. In this case, stay suspicious and move on to the following verification steps.
  • * The address bar at the top left on your browser should display www.tsp.gov.
  • * When you enter account access to input your account number (or user ID) and password, the address bar on your browser should change from “http://” to “https://” and the security lock padlock icon should appear. If the padlock icon appears somewhere else on the page (such as at the bottom) but it does not also appear in the address bar at the top of your browser page, you are not on the TSP website.

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