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Dan's Blog

Gone Phishing 🎣 🐠 🐟

September 1, 2020

Within minutes of asking teachers last Friday to forward us phishy 403(b) sales pitches, we got our first bite. They kept coming in over the weekend. Below is a sampling — with a few notes — of what has been forwarded to us. You can read here about a financially-savvy teacher who almost took the bait. 

Jane Doe,

Each year, as an employee of Lubbock-Cooper Independent School District you are eligible [Sounds like an employee benefit. It's not. The employer has not vetted this individual.] to schedule a phone call, teleconference, or in-person meeting off campus with a representative for answers to your specific state, federal and individual retirement benefit questions. 

At your consultation [Ooh, consultation. Sounds professional. It's not or this person would be a fiduciary], you will be provided with information that will tell you: How much longer you may have to work, and what your potential income can be upon retirement. Which providers' 403(b) options have Guaranteed income (Run because an equity-indexed annuity pitch is coming] when you retire.


You will also learn about options to help you save more money for retirement without affecting your take home pay.

Please be sure to indicate which type of appointment you prefer (off-campus, phone call, or teleconference) in the notes section while scheduling. Please also include your direct cell phone number. 

Appointments fill up quickly [Classic sales tactic: illusion of scarcity]. To secure your spot, simply reply 'yes' to this email or use the following link:

John Doe,

As a free service [Sounds like a perk. It's not. The employer has not vetted this individual.] to Murrieta Valley USD employees we are scheduling virtual meetings to discuss how recent economic events [Scare tactic alert] have affected your savings for retirement.

Receive free [Who doesn't love free? See: Free sandwiches in the teachers' lounge can be expensive.] information on the following topics:

A PERS/STRS Report inclusive of Social Security (if you qualify).

Learn about your PERS/STRS [Your pension agency can do this for you and they won't try to sell you fee-laden products] and other savings options.

Obtain a 403(b) Analysis. [Note: Bet this person doesn't mention that employees in this district have multiple low-cost 403(b) providers available: CalSTRS Pension 2; Fidelity and Vanguard].

For complete details, simply reply "yes" to this email.

It should be noted that many of the emails aren't coming from a company or agent. They are being sent via masked email addreses. In many instances the email address domain doesn't lead to an actual website.

The Right Kind of Advice

Securing financial advice can be one of the smartest investments an individual can make. The key, though, is to use a vetted, fiduciary advisor who puts your interest first. Learn more here: Working with a Financial Professional

If you smell something, say something. Better yet, email it to: phishy(at)403bwise.org

Stay wise. Stay well.


Related Podcast:

What's That Phishy Smell in Your Inbox? Across the country teachers are being spammed by phony financial professionals. A savvy high school teacher almost took the bait.   Listen Now »