Abbott Case Proves Cyber Theft Is A Serious Matter

With everything 401(k) related being online, cyber security is important for plan sponsors, plan providers, and plan participants.

A former employee of Abbott Laboratories sued the company and its record keeper, Alight Solutions LLC, accusing plan fiduciaries and Alight of violating their ERISA duties because her 401(k) account was looted by an impostor.

Heide K. Bartnett, a former Abbott employee alleges that $245,000 was transferred from her account without her knowledge, blaming the defendants for allowing the money to be transferred to an internet address in India before she could take steps to stop the fraud. Bartnett alleges an unknown user accessed her account online, changed the password and initiated a transfer to a new bank account, after getting additional personal information from Alight customer service representatives over the phone, according to the complaint.

Bartnett left Abbott in 2012 and had been trying for more than a year to get the north suburban medical products giant to restore her 401(k) account, which she alleges was the target of such a fraud. Alight is supposedly under federal investigation for allegedly processing unauthorized retirement plan distributions through cybersecurity breaches.

Cybersecurity issues are extremely important because the last thing a plan sponsor and their provider will want to have to deal with is the theft of participant assets.

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