Security Center

Guard against online fraud and scams

Con artists have devised clever ways to trick people into revealing personal information online, including schemes known as "phishing" and "pharming." Precautions taken by the SSGA Upromise 529 -and you- can help keep your information secure.

Here's what you need to do

As you conduct business online, taking a few simple precautions can go a long way toward protecting your personal information.

  • Verify website security. Make sure the website has the proper encryption by first verifying that the Web address (URL) begins with https://. Then mouse-over the padlock image (depending on your browser) in your Web browser window to show the security. You can also double-click the image to get additional information on SSL security. On https://www.ssga.upromise529.com/ be sure to look for your security image before logging on.
  • Vary answers to security questions. Use caution when you select your SSGA Upromise 529 security questions and answers, as some information about you is readily available. An alternative is to answer the security questions with unique responses or code words. If you choose this option, make sure you'll remember your answers.
  • Log off and close your browser. The SSGA Upromise 529 recommends that after accessing your account information online, you click Log off or Log Out at the top of the page and close your Web browser. Some of your account information can stay in your browser's memory until the browser is closed.
  • Open all the SSGA Upromise 529 communications in a timely manner. We provide confirmations either through U.S. mail or e-mail depending on your preference. Watch for these confirmations and if you have any questions about a confirmation statement, contact us immediately.
  • Take caution when using public computers. Be cautious when using public computers (especially when traveling abroad and those found at libraries, Internet cafés, and schools), or using shared ones, such as home computers. You don't know what may be installed on these computers. Public computers are traditionally on open networks and can be susceptible to monitoring without your knowledge.
  • Use wireless technology safely. If you have a wireless network at home, make sure to follow manufacturer's guidelines to secure your network. If you're not sure how, contact the manufacturer for assistance. And don't check your accounts over a public wireless Internet connection.
  • Update your software. Older computers are harder to protect. PCs running Windows 95/98 operating systems don't receive security software updates and have difficulty operating newer software, therefore increasing their vulnerability to hackers.
  • Review your credit report. Review your credit report every four to six months for unauthorized activity. Go to annualcreditreport.com to receive your free credit report or call 877-322-8228. You can also contact any of the following credit reporting agencies.

Phishing

Phishing attacks seek to gather personal information, such as Social Security numbers, online User Name and passwords, to access victims' accounts. A phishing attack often appears as an unsolicited, but authentic looking, e-mail that may threaten to close your account unless you verify some information. Although the links in the message may look like your financial institution's website address, they point to a fake website that gathers the information you enter. Criminals then use that information to steal a person's identity.

Phishing e-mails typically include typos and other mistakes, terms the company may not use, or e-mail addresses that look different than ones the company uses.

Pharming

Pharming is another type of online attack where website names (such as https://www.ssga.upromise529.com/) are changed to point to an attacker's numeric Internet address (the "IP address") instead of the SSGA Upromise 529's legitimate IP address. Successful pharming attacks are less common than they were a few years ago; however, it's possible for an attack to be temporarily successful against poorly protected servers.

To guard against pharming, the SSGA Upromise 529 webpages that display your account information, or allow you to make changes, use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology. SSL webpages start with "https://" instead of "http://." One of the advantages of SSL is that your Web browser verifies the identity of the server. If an attacker successfully changed a website name so that a secure https://www.ssga.upromise529.com/ address brought you to an attacker's site that looked like https://www.ssga.upromise529.com/, your browser would display a warning. The warning would say the name on the certificate does not match the name of the site. If you encounter a similar message, don't access the page. Immediately contact 800-587-7305 for assistance.

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)

SSL is a protocol developed for transmitting private documents via the Internet. SSL uses a cryptographic system that uses two keys to encrypt data. A public key, which is known to everyone, and a private or secret key, known only to the recipient of the message. URLs that require an SSL connection start with "https://" instead of "http://."

Test Your Anti-Phishing Knowledge

Here is a link where you can test your knowledge on common Phishing and Pharming attacks, https://www.phish-no-phish.com/.

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Reach out to the SSGA Upromise 529 Plan

For more information about the SSGA Upromise 529 Plan ("the Plan") download the Plan Description and Participation Agreement or request one by calling 1-800-587-7305. Investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other important information are included in the Plan Description and Participation Agreement; read and consider it carefully before investing.

Please Note: Before investing in any 529 plan, you should consider whether your or the beneficiary's home state offers a 529 plan that provides its taxpayers with favorable state tax and other benefits that are only available through investment in the home state's 529 plan. You also should consult your financial, tax, or other advisor to learn more about how state-based benefits (or any limitations) would apply to your specific circumstances. You also may wish to contact directly your home state's 529 plan(s), or any other 529 plan, to learn more about those plans' features, benefits and limitations. Keep in mind that state-based benefits should be one of many appropriately weighted factors to be considered when making an investment decision.

The Plan is administered by the Board of Trustees of the College Savings Plans of Nevada (the "Board"), chaired by the Nevada State Treasurer. Ascensus Broker Dealer Services, Inc. (“ABD”) serves as the Program Manager. ABD has overall responsibility for the day-to-day operations, including distribution of the Plan and provision of certain marketing services. State Street Global Advisors (“SSGA”) serves as Investment Manager for the Plan except for the Savings Portfolio, which is managed by Sallie Mae Bank, and also provides or arranges for certain marketing services for the Plan. The Plan's Portfolios invest in either (i) Exchange Traded Funds and mutual funds offered or managed by SSGA or its affiliates; or (ii) a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)-insured omnibus savings account held in trust by the Board at Sallie Mae Bank. Except for the Savings Portfolio, investments in the Plan are not insured by the FDIC. Units of the Portfolios are municipal securities and the value of units will vary with market conditions.

Investment returns will vary depending upon the performance of the Portfolios you choose. Except to the extent of FDIC insurance available for the Savings Portfolio, you could lose all or a portion of your money by investing in the Plan, depending on market conditions. Account Owners assume all investment risks as well as responsibility for any federal and state tax consequences.

Upromise is an optional service offered by Upromise, Inc., is separate from the SSGA Upromise 529 Plan, and is not affiliated with the State of Nevada or ABD. Separate terms and conditions apply to the Upromise service and are available on the Upromise website at www.upromise.com. Participating companies, contribution levels, and terms and conditions are subject to change at any time without notice. Transfers from Upromise to an SSGA Upromise 529 Plan account are subject to a $25 minimum.

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Upromise and the Upromise logo are registered service marks of Upromise, Inc. Ugift is a registered service mark of ABD. State Street Global Advisors and SSGA are registered trademarks of State Street Corporation. All other marks are the exclusive property of their respective owners. Used with permission.