Today is Data Privacy Day, an international effort held annually on January 28 to create awareness about the importance of respecting privacy, safeguarding data, and enabling trust. We want you to recognize Data Privacy Day by implementing some important security settings in your myCalPERS account.
Our technical teams work diligently to ensure the information you have stored with us remains private, but we can’t do it alone. We need your help to keep your personal health and protected personal information out of the hands of cybercriminals. In the wrong hands, this information can be used to siphon funds from your CalPERS account that you’ve worked so hard to build. Your address, Social Security number, email, and more can all be used to negatively impact your personal life.
To help you secure your myCalPERS account and maintain the integrity of your private information, please take a few moments to enact these security measures:
1) Set Up Your Account
The simplest and perhaps most important thing you can do to protect your CalPERS online assets is to set up your myCalPERS account. Once you’ve claimed your account, a bad actor can’t do it on your behalf. Once you have your account up and running, make sure you implement the following security settings.
2) Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is a widely used security tool available in your myCalPERS account to add an extra layer of security. In addition to using your username and password to access your account, two-factor authentication requires you to provide a verification code.
To enable this feature, log in to your myCalPERS account and go to your Security Settings under the My Account drop-down menu at the top of the page. Then select “Enable Two-Factor Authentication” to begin the following setup process:
- Follow the onscreen instructions to download an authentication application to your mobile device.
- Scan the QR code with the authentication application; do not use a regular QR scanner.
- Enter the unique authentication code to your myCalPERS account.
Once enabled, each time you log in to your myCalPERS account you’ll need to open the authentication application on your mobile device. The application will provide a code that must be entered to access your myCalPERS account. Yes, it’s an added step, but it’s necessary.
3) Update Your Password
The simplest way to secure your account is to make sure you have a strong and unique password that you update regularly. Make sure you’re using a password that isn’t predictable and that includes unique characters, such as @, &, #, and *.
Never reuse a password that’s used to access another account. You wouldn’t want a master key that could unlock your house, vehicle, and storage unit. If you lost that single key, someone could use it to access all of your worldly possessions. Similarly, say a cybercriminal steals password data from Facebook, and you’re using that same password on your myCalPERS account. It wouldn’t take long for a bad actor to learn you’re a CalPERS member and successfully access your private information online.
4) Choose Strong Security Questions
You have control over the security questions linked to your myCalPERS account, so make sure to choose questions and answers that only you would know. In fact, your questions and answers don’t need to have a correlation to each other. Here’s an example:
- Question: What is your favorite vacation destination?
- Answer: Purple Flying Turtle
Providing any answer—as long as you will be able to remember and provide the answer—ensures your account and its sensitive information is secure.
5) Provide Current Contact Information
We want the ability to alert you immediately should any of your security settings be changed. In order to do this, we need your most recent phone number and email address. Should someone change your password, security questions, or any other settings without your knowledge or consent, we’ll send you a text message and email so you’re aware.
We’re constantly scanning our systems for detection of abnormal account behavior, but you can help us by strengthening your security settings as the first line of defense. Log in to myCalPERS and select Security Settings from the My Account drop-down menu to get started.
If you have any questions, or ever think your account is vulnerable, please contact us immediately by phone at 888 CalPERS (or 888-225-7377).