Protecting your information is important to us.This section describes the security measures we use to safeguard your personal information and provides information on steps you can take to help keep your personal information secure.
Our E-mail Practices
We will not send you an e-mail to request personal information or notify you of a problem with your account(s) or with our website (for upgrades or other issues).
We will send you an e-mail only if you have established (or updated) online access to your account with us. If so, we will acknowledge your action with an e-mail which will not contain any personal information about you or your account.
Also, we may use e-mail, if specifically requested, for Shareholder Services to respond to a call for information or assistance. Our response will not include a request for personal information or direct you to a Web address to provide personal information.
If you suspect that you have received a fraudulent e-mail claiming to come from us, please contact us immediately. You can report the suspicious e-mail by calling Shareholder Services and providing the following information: the title of the e-mail you received, the sender’s name or address and the file names of any attachments. You can also report the suspicious e-mail by forwarding a copy of it to ShareholderServices@pgimc.com. This e-mail address should not be used to contact us regarding your account(s). If you have general questions regarding your account(s), contact Shareholder Services at (800) 282-6693 between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Pacific time, Monday through Friday.
Our Security Practices
To protect your personal information on our computer systems, we use a combination of security measures including:
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and encryption. All login information you enter to access your online account with us is protected by SSL, the standard for Internet security, which encrypts the information flowing between our website and your computer. Additionally, all of your account information you view is encrypted to ensure privacy and security.
SSL is the default setting in most browsers. If it is disabled, you will receive an error message whenever you try to view secure pages on our website.Consult your web browser's Help section for instructions on how to enable SSL on your computer.
Firewalls. All of our computers are protected with a firewall to prevent unauthorized access to your records. A firewall is a combination of hardware and software that controls the information that can enter computers from the Internet. Firewalls utilize rules which are intended to defend against intruders and viruses.
Monitoring for security breaches and technology changes. We continually monitor our systems for evidence of attempted security breaches. Also, we regularly review industry standards for security to make sure that we are using current technologies.
Automatic logouts. Your online account access with us will automatically time out after 15 minutes of inactivity. You will be redirected to a screen which will prompt you to log in again to re-establish access to your account information. The automatic logout is intended to protect your account information from anyone viewing your computer screen if you are interrupted or if you leave your computer without logging out.
Password customization. You are required to create a personal account password when you set up online access to your account. At that time, you will also answer a series of security questions and answers which will enable you to reset a forgotten password anytime.
Social security number (SSN) masking. When you set up your online account access you will be asked to provide your SSN. Depending on your browser, you will see asterisks or similar symbols in the entry field, rather than your SSN.
Security Measures You Can Take
The Internet and e-mail can provide a convenient way to access information or conduct transactions in your personal accounts. There are a number of security measures you can take when using the Internet and e-mail to protect yourself from fraud and identity theft.
Protecting Your Personal Information
Create complex passwords. Experts recommend the following practices to create and maintain secure passwords:
- Use passwords that are a combination of letters, numbers and symbols;
- Avoid passwords that contain personal information such as account numbers or birth dates;
- Use different passwords for different sites;
- Keep your passwords confidential;
- Avoid listing your passwords on a computer document; and
- Change your passwords frequently.
Protect your social security number (SSN) by keeping the number confidential and storing your personal records, including documents with your SSN, in a safe place.
Check your credit reports regularly for inaccuracies or unauthorized activity. You may also place a fraud alert on your accounts. Any one of the three consumer-credit companies will notify the others of a fraud alert request.A fraud alert may entitle you to free copies of your credit report.
- Equifax: www.equifax.com ; (800) 525-6285
- Experian: www.experian.com ; (888) 397-3742
- TransUnion: www.transunion.com ; (800) 680-7289
Use a shredder when discarding your personal records (for example, bills, statements, and personalized junk mail).
Do not provide personal information to “cold callers” or other strangers when you are online, on the phone or using e-mail.
Accessing Personal Information Online
Use a browser with a high level (128-bit or more) of encryption. The higher the encryption number, the more secure the communication.
Look for a locking symbol when transmitting personal information. Your browser will display a symbol of a closed lock to indicate that you are viewing information on a secure page. The internet address will also begin with “https://” to indicate a secure page. Be sure to look for both the closed lock and “https.” Some fraudulent websites may display the “s” in the internet address to make a fake address appear legitimate.
Always log out and close your internet browser when you are finished accessing a website which displays your personal information.
Clear your computer’s cache. Computer hard drives store images of the websites you visit. Depending on the computer’s settings, these “cache” images can stay in the computer’s memory for long periods. As a precaution, you may wish to delete the caches of secure sites by clearing the computer’s cache files. Consult your web browser's Help section for instructions.
Use your own computers, rather than public or worksite computers to view personal information. The risks of spyware programs and tracking software installed on public computers and other risks can offset the convenience of using public computers. Also, be aware that public internet connections may not be secure. Using these connections to access websites with personal information could jeopardize your privacy.
E-mail is a convenient means to connect with friends and family and to conduct personal business. However, e-mail is not a private communication. Like a postcard, e-mail can potentially be read by someone other than your intended recipient while in transit, as well as when stored in computer files.
E-mail fraud. Fraudulent e-mail can come in many forms. Some e-mails contain viruses or spyware designed to damage your computer or extract personal information from your computer files. Other e-mails, know as “phishing” e-mails, contain fraudulent messages asking for confidential information.
“Phishing” emails in particular are disguised to look like a request from a legitimate organization with which you may have a business relationship. These e-mails typically include recognizable logos and usually request your urgent attention. The messages usually direct you to click a link provided in the e-mail message which would connect you to a website to confirm confidential information. The website may look official , but the information provided is captured by the phisher who may use it to steal your identity, or use your personal information (such as your social security number or credit card information).
Suggestions for e-mail safety. To protect yourself against e-mail fraud, we suggest taking the following precautions:
Do not include personal information in e-mails you send. This includes account numbers, passwords, social security numbers or other personal information.
Manage unsolicited e-mail by using filters, spam blockers and deleting unwelcome messages. Many Internet service providers and software companies offer spam filters and spam-blocking programs. When unsolicited messages (or “spam”) arrive, delete them without opening the message or any attachment. You may also report the spammers to your Internet service provider but we suggest that you not request to “unsubscribe” to unsolicited e-mail. This may result in more, rather than less, spam!
Be cautious about opening e-mails with attachments. Even if you know the sender, the attachment may be infected with a virus. If you do not recognize the sender, delete the entire message without opening it. If you receive an unexpected message from someone you know, you may avoid trouble by contacting the sender for confirmation before opening the e-mail.
Type the web address. If you receive an e-mail directing you to a particular website, type the displayed website address directly into the web browser instead of clicking the link provided in the e-mail. By taking this step, you can avoid being redirected to a phony website which appears to be a valid company website address.
Ask Questions. If you doubt the authenticity of a business e-mail, contact the company directly. The company’s customer service department can verify the legitimacy of an e-mail or a reported problem with your account.
Be vigilant. E-mail scams are becoming more and more complex. A variety of consumer organizations and government agencies, such as the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission, provide detailed information on their websites regarding various e-mail scams and how to protect yourself against e-mail fraud.
Keeping Your Computer Safe
Viruses and spyware. Viruses and spyware programs can infect your computer without warning and destroy your records, steal your personal information, or monitor and report your activity to outsiders without your knowledge. To minimize the risk of these programs infecting your computer, be cautious in clicking pop-up ads or downloading programs off the Internet and use antivirus and antispyware software programs. Experts recommend running these programs in tandem and repeating the process often.