From fraudulent mobile apps to phony text messages, imposters continue to find new ways to steal your money or personal data. While it can be alarming when they impersonate a government agency, such as NYSLRS or the Social Security Administration, you can learn to recognize and protect yourself from scams.
How Scams Work
Imposters pretend to be an agency or organization you already know to gain your trust. They use similar logos or imagery in correspondence. They may contact you from an email address that mimics — but isn’t identical to — those used by employees of the actual organization. Some can even make a real agency’s phone number appear on caller ID (known as spoofing).
Usually, once they contact you, they claim there is a problem (or prize or new benefit available) that requires your immediate attention. But here’s the catch: to fix the problem or receive the reward, the imposter needs you to pay them a fee or provide personal data, such as your Social Security number or bank account information. They may even threaten you with legal action, a suspension of your benefits or arrest if you fail to act in time.
If someone contacts you and you notice these signs of a scam, remain calm. Feel free to hang up the phone or delete the message if you feel like something is off. It’s the easiest way to avoid accidentally giving away personal information.
If you suspect someone is posing as a NYSLRS representative, notify us immediately using our secure contact form or by calling us toll-free at 866-805-0990.
Communicating With NYSLRS
Generally, NYSLRS will only call you if we are following up on a previous communication from you, such as a phone call, secure email message, Retirement Online request, form or letter. For security, you can use your NYSLRS ID to identify yourself instead of providing your Social Security number. Find your NYSLRS ID in Retirement Online or on your annual statement or other correspondence from NYSLRS.
Retirement Online, the convenient and secure way to do business with NYSLRS, is only available from the NYSLRS website. There is no mobile app available from NYSLRS. If you have a Retirement Online account, keep your username and password in a safe place and don’t share them with anyone. (Need help with using or signing up for Retirement Online? Read our tips and tricks blog post.)
It’s important to review the communications you receive from NYSLRS. We send you letters or emails (depending on your delivery preference in Retirement Online) whenever you update your Retirement Online account or benefit information. However, if you receive a notification of an account change you did not make, contact us immediately.