What to Do if Your Boss Steals From Your Retirement Account

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Theft | iStock.com

What to Do if Your Boss Steals From Your Retirement Account

The onlyِ thing youِ canِ think aboutِ are allِ the ways you’d likeِ the thief toِ getِ payback.
Employers whoِ haveِ recently fallen onِ hard times areِ most likelyِ to commit retirement account theft.
They attempt toِ bridge financial gaps byِ relying onِ employee contributions.

Check your statements for retirement theft

You won’t knowِ ifِ your employer isِ pilfering fromِ your retirement account unlessِ you check yourِ statements.
You shouldِ approach thisِ practice withِ theِ sameِ diligence youِ apply toِ checking yourِ credit card andِ bank statements.
It onlyِ takes a minute orِ two toِ check yourِ statements onceِ you knowِ what a red flag looksِ like.

401(k) statement | iStock.com

Red flags

When checking yourِ retirement account statements, it’s important toِ beِ thorough.
Here areِ a fewِ major flags toِ watch for.
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1. Keep an eye out for partial amounts

One clue thatِ somethingِ isn’t rightِ isِ ifِ you notice differences inِ the deposit amount.
Check toِ makeِ sure theِ withdrawal amount listed inِ your pay stub matches theِ amount onِ your retirement statement.
If theِ amounts areِ less thanِ what youِ seeِ onِ your pay stub underِ theِ retirement contribution section, it’s possibleِ your employer isِ skimming someِ cash offِ the top andِ then deposing whateverِ isِ left intoِ your account.

2. Look for late deposits

Payroll statement | iStock.com/TheaDesign

If youِ seeِ that yourِ employer isِ chronically late withِ deposits, thisِ isِ a problem.
Employers areِ expected toِ deposit retirement contributions asِ soon asِ they areِ able.
However, theِ Department ofِ Labor saysِ deposits cannotِ beِ made laterِ than theِ 15th business day ofِ the followingِ month.

3. Question a sudden decrease in account balance

If yourِ account balance hasِ a significant drop, thisِ isِ alsoِ a sign ofِ trouble.
The Department ofِ Labor saysِ you shouldِ beِ concerned ifِ the decrease inِ balance can’t beِ explained byِ normal ups andِ downs ofِ the market.
For example, ifِ you hear inِ the news aboutِ how wellِ theِ stock market orِ bond market isِ performing yetِ your account balance continues toِ takeِ a hit, youِ needِ to takeِ notice andِ research theِ decrease more.

4. Look for missing contributions

Retirement savings | iStock.com

Also, lookِ closely atِ your retirement statement toِ seeِ ifِ there wereِ pay periods whenِ noِ deposits wereِ made.
When reviewing yourِ account, don’t justِ stop atِ the current year.
Make sureِ to goِ backِ andِ check older statements toِ seeِ when theِ theft started andِ exactly howِ long thisِ hasِ beenِ happening.

What to do if you know retirement theft is happening

If youِ find thatِ you haveِ unknowingly becomeِ your employer’s piggy bank, it’s time toِ takeِ action byِ calling inِ the officials.
Here areِ some steps toِ take.
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Call the department of labor

Woman making a phone call on mobile phone | iStock.com

Your firstِ step shouldِ beِ to place a call withِ theِ Department ofِ Labor.
Make sureِ to haveِ allِ relevant account statements inِ front ofِ you.
Clearly highlight orِ underline theِ areas onِ the statement thatِ show youِ received a partial deposit, a late deposit, orِ noِ deposit atِ all.

Talk to your co-workers

Tell themِ what youِ discovered andِ suggest thatِ they review theirِ statements.
If yourِ co-workers confirm theirِ accounts haveِ alsoِ been mishandled, encourage themِ to call theِ Department ofِ Labor.
If severalِ people areِ complaining fromِ one company, thisِ mayِ convince theِ labor department thatِ the theft wasn’t a mistake, especiallyِ if theِ behavior hasِ beenِ occurring forِ several years.

Follow up

After yourِ complaint hasِ beenِ filed withِ theِ labor department, call backِ in a week orِ two andِ see ifِ there areِ anyِ other documents youِ needِ to submit.
Don’t assume everythingِ has beenِ handled andِ that youِ canِ go aboutِ your merry way.
It’s notِ uncommon forِ things toِ fall throughِ theِ cracks fromِ time toِ time, soِ alwaysِ check backِ to seeِ ifِ the issue hasِ beenِ resolved.