TSP Board Being Extra Cautious After Equifax Breach

Oct 26, 2017

boardThe Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) said Thrift Savings Plan participants may see slower reaction times as the agency processes funds going in and out of TSP. This is because of the Equifax breach that happened recently.

“In some cases, we’re going to have to sacrifice convenience and speed for security. I want out participants to know that their security is our number one priority. I anticipate some of the changes that we’re going to make over the next several months are possibly going to slow down some of our processes,” said Tee Ramos, director of participant services for FRTIB.

The agency already had some of these changes in their plan as a part of updating its IT systems/infrastructure. Now, TSP is taking extra caution as it validates participants’ identities. The Equifax breach put 145 million people and as many as 209,000 Social Security numbers at risk for identity fraud.

“It’s having the ability to make sure that we know who you say you are, with all the, quite frankly, peoples’ data, a lot of things that typically are used for validating are out there in the ether now. We have to come up with new ways to make sure that your money is safe and that’s our ultimate priority,” Ramos said.

Participants will see slowdowns in how quickly the FRTIB processes funds going in and out of TSP. They also may experience slower response times from TSP’s call centers. He said, “We’ve been rolling out lots of things really fast, and sometimes unanticipated bumps happen. We’ve had a couple of unanticipated bumps which have slowed down our service at the call centers. I anticipate that over the short term, that will continue.”

The board has been trying to modernize the cybersecurity of its legacy IT systems for the past few years, but they’ve been more ambitious the last year. Modernizing its IT infrastructure at TSP call centers and implementing Identity, Credential, and Access Management are among the 12 priorities for the next few months.

All this comes as the FRTIB prepares to handle as many as 269,000 new service members to the TSP next year and possibly 300,000-475,000 new participants who choose to opt in the new blended retirement system January 1, 2018.

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