Remember when Mom used to make you do some things you didn't like because they were "for your own good?" Of course, she was usually right. Sometimes APERS has to ask you to do things in ways that aren't as easy or convenient as we would like them to be, but these restrictions are for your protection.
At APERS, we have to make sure that no one but you can access your sensitive information or make changes to your retirement account. Unfortunately, that often means taking an extra step or two for the sake of security. Below are some examples of those extra steps:
From time to time, you may want to get information about your retirement account, and you will periodically need to give us updated information like a new address or change in marital status. In most cases, we must have a written and signed request to release any personal information or make changes to your account. This helps prevent unauthorized access to your sensitive data, and it ensures that your retirement account and the funds associated with it are being managed according to your wishes. It also provides a verifiable record of the request.
For certain types of requests, we ask that your signature be notarized. For example, we require that a notary certify your signature on any form in which you designate a beneficiary. Because you are naming a person to possibly receive a share of your retirement fund, we must make doubly certain that the request is actually coming from you and reflects your wishes.
APERS encourages our members to telephone us with general questions about the system, which is why we operate a call center with trained personnel to help you. However, because it is difficult to verify someone's identity over the phone, we never release specific details about your account, nor do we accept requests to change your personal information over the phone.
APERS maintains a Facebook page where we post regular notices about dates and events of interest to APERS' members. Occasionally, members will post questions about general topics or even about their own accounts. As you might imagine, Facebook is about the least secure information system in the world, and we cannot directly respond to individual members except to suggest how they might obtain the information they seek.
APERS does not currently contact members by email, and we do not publish agency email addresses or otherwise encourage email communication with members. When members do contact someone here by email, our responses are restricted in the same way they would be over the phone. Email is not a secure communication channel, and we urge you never to include sensitive personal information like your social security number or credit card information in an email to anyone.
The APERS website (www.apers.org) is mostly a one-way communication portal where we post information and documents that may be useful to members. However, we do host some online forms (not requiring or affecting your sensitive personal data) for member convenience. In those cases APERS does not ask for any personal information, only basic things like your name, employer, work email address, and work telephone number.
So please remember the next time APERS asks you to take that extra step to safeguard your retirement fund and your personal information -- it's for your own good.