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Investment scam artists are targeting Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) participants, warns the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Last month, four former Atlanta-area brokers were charged with fraudulently persuading Federal employees to roll over holdings from their TSP retirement accounts into higher-fee, variable annuity products. The brokers were accused of specifically targeting Federal employees nearing retirement with sizable funds invested in the TSP.

Federal government agencies, including the SEC, do not endorse or sponsor any particular securities, issuers, products, services, professional credentials, firms, or individuals. To protect yourself against those claiming an affiliation with the Federal government, follow these tips:

  • Do not trust any contact information or a website provided by someone contacting you with an investment idea when that person claims to be affiliated with the government, the TSP, or government retirement plans.

  • Confirm that a seller is not affiliated with a government agency by contacting the agency directly or calling the SEC’s toll-free investor assistance line at (800) 732-0330.

  • Be cautious about providing personal information to anyone you do not personally know.

Keep in mind that the TSP will never contact you by email, telephone, or mail asking you to provide sensitive personal information such as your account number, Social Security number, password, or PIN. Also, fraudsters may try to deceive investors by using the words “federal” or “government” in the name of their company, copying or imitating government emblems or seals, creating fake correspondence that looks like it is from a government agency, or sending email messages that link to a government website. 

For more information on this fraud warning, check out the SEC’s Investor Alert and Press Release.


OPM has recently learned of an aggressive marketing push targeting Federal annuitants. Companies are offering a cash payment in exchange for a portion, or all, of your future annuity payments generally much less than their long-term worth, and typically charging high interest rates and fees. We have specifically received numerous phone calls from one company in particular asking us to not just verify annuity amounts, but also banking information, including routing numbers and account numbers. Our suspicions were confirmed by our Inspector General’s office who discovered this company is currently under investigation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

CFPB lists three things you can do to protect your retirement annuity:

  1. Avoid loans with high fees and interest. Pension advance companies may not always advertise their fees and interest rates, but you will certainly feel them in your bottom line. Before you sign anything, learn what you are getting and how much you are giving up.
  2. Don’t sign over control of your benefits. Companies sometimes arrange for monthly payments to be automatically deposited in a newly created bank account so the company can withdraw payments, fees and interest charges from the account. This leaves you with little control.
  3. Don’t buy life insurance that you don’t want or need. Pension advance companies sometimes require consumers to sign up for life insurance with the company as the consumer’s beneficiary. If you sign up for life insurance with the pension advance company as your beneficiary, you could end up footing the bill, whether you know it or not. Go to https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/consumer-advisory-3-pension-advance-traps-to-avoid/ for more information.

Also feel free to report any suspected scams to OPM’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) at:

  • OIG Hotline Number:

    877-499-7295

  • Or Write To:

    OPM Office of the Inspector General

    1900 E Street NW Room #6400

    Washington, DC 20415-1100

  • Or Submit a Complaint Form:

    Hotline Complaint Form


Be on the Alert for an aggressive phone scam that targets Federal annuitants: The scammer claims to be an OPM employee. The scammer threatens to end the annuitant’s retirement, threatens that a “magistrate” will criminally prosecute, and demands an immediate payment. This is a government impostor scam – Do not send money.

Any communication of this type is NOT from an OPM official. OPM will not make such calls. Scams like this one are carried out by skilled impostors, who may sound convincing. They may use real names and titles – and they may know a lot about their targets, including personally identifiable information. The scammers may alter the caller ID to make it look like OPM is calling. Scammers may also attempt to use email to “phish” for more information. Finally, these impostors may leave an “urgent” callback request.  Don’t fall for it. 

Signs of a SCAM (and these are actions OPM does NOT do):

  1. Call to demand immediate payment.

  2. Demand that you pay a debt first before any appeal.

  3. Request that you pay using gift cards, prepaid debit or credit cards, wire transfers, Western Union, MoneyGram, or PayPal, etc.

  4. Request for credit or debit card numbers over the phone or by email.

  5. Threaten referral to a Magistrate, the police, or law enforcement.

If you suspect the caller is an impostor:

  • Do not engage with the callers. Simply hang-up.

  • Note the date and time of the call, as well as the caller’s phone number.

  • Report it to OPM’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG), https://www.opm.gov/our-inspector-general/

For Help and to Report suspected fraud:

  1. Call the OIG Hotline: 877-499-7295.

  2. Click to report online, Hotline Complaint Form

  3. Write: OPM OIG

    1900 E Street NW, Room 6400

    Washington, DC 20415-1100

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a report on government impostor scams, https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0048-government-impostor-scams.  You may also report suspected fraud to the FTC at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/


Posted 8:00 AM by

It’s February! And that means tax filing season has kicked off and you will need a copy of your 1099R, detailing annuity payments received during 2016, to start the annual fun. Retirement Services finished printing and mailing out hard copy forms last week. If you have not yet received yours, it’s probably on the way but regardless, you can access your 1099R electronically today on Services Online.

Simply go to https://www.servicesonline.opm.gov/ . If you do not remember your password, click on the “Forgot Password” link to get a new one. While in Services Online, make sure we have your correct mailing and email addresses to ensure you receive future correspondence from us. And after filing, return to Services Online to tweak your tax withholdings for FY 2017, if necessary.

If you enjoy getting your 1099R quickly and easily online, like thousands of your fellow annuitants, and have not already done so, elect to “opt in” to go green and skip the “hard copy” entirely next year! Plus with the savings from not having to mail over 2 million 1099Rs, we could help improve services.

Skip the call to Retirement Services, Services Online is available 24-7 during tax season and year-round!


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