American Funds ®

Privacy & Security

The security of your personal and account information is critically important. Learn about the most common types of fraud, ways to prevent it, and how to respond to fraudulent activity.

Fraud Basics

Spoofing

Spoofing, broadly speaking, involves a person pretending to be another person or entity in order to get something — typically, illegitimate access to a person’s personal or account information.

Common forms of spoofing include:

  • Fake URLs — These direct users to fraudulent, often credible-looking websites (sometimes referred to as “phishing” sites) in the hopes that users will enter data such as login information, or account or Social Security numbers.
  • Fake email addresses — These appear in a user’s email inbox as a known or potentially known sender, rather than as spam.
  • Fake caller IDs — These appear in a caller ID display as a known caller and number, making them an appealing tool of scammers.
  • Man-in-the-middle attacks — These involve someone intercepting a communication between two people in order to fraudulently participate as one of those individuals.

Phishing

This widely known form of fraud involves an illegitimate email or pop-up message disguised to look like a communication from a legitimate organization.

Phishing attempts typically:

  • Pretend to be from banks and other financial institutions, other entities that typically process payments, or individuals with an offer that’s “too good to be true”
  • Appear convincing due to copycat logos, fonts and other graphic elements
  • Include a link to an illegitimate Web page where users are asked to enter personal or account information

Phishing attacks may also occur over the phone.

Pharming

A less familiar form of fraud, pharming involves sending users to fake websites through their browsers, rather than by clicking a link in an email. Pharming is enabled by spyware, malware or other software that’s illegitimately installed on a user’s computer.

Identity Theft

Identity theft involves the impersonation of an individual through the fraudulent use of his or her personal and account information — e.g., driver’s license, Social Security, bank account and other numbers, as well as user names and passwords.

Identity thieves obtain information in a number of ways:

  • From the trash
  • By stealing mail — purses and other personal items
  • On the job — as employees of a company, thieves copy credit card or other information during a transaction
  • Through phishing attacks
  • By submitting false address changes

Spyware

Installed on your computer without your authorization, spyware is software that collects information about you — the passwords you use, the websites you visit — simply by watching you type or surf the Web.

Spyware gets installed through:

  • Links in pop-up ads
  • Shareware and other downloadable software
  • Deceptive security software offers

Computers infected with spyware typically:

  • Operate slowly
  • Are besieged by pop-ups
  • Redirect users to URLs different from those entered
  • Include unknown toolbars and icons
  • Display out-of-the-blue error messages

Adware and malware are related forms of unwanted software that can either slow down your computer — or take it over for nefarious purposes such as sending email you didn’t write or spreading computer viruses.

If you suspect your computer has been infected with spyware, adware or malware, take the necessary steps to remove the unwanted software from your computer.

Learn More

Learn more about fraud and how you can spot it at OnGuardOnline.gov.


Preventing Fraud

What You Should Do

The most important steps you can take to prevent fraud online are to:

  • Keep your security software current — Safeguard your computer and operating system by ensuring you have the latest anti-virus and anti-spyware software installed.
  • Stay on top of updates — Reputable software firms continually update their software to ensure the highest levels of security. Be diligent about responding to these updates.
  • Activate security features — These include pop-up blockers and other features provided in the range of products you use.
  • Set up a firewall — Make sure your personal computer and home network are properly protected from the hazards of internet connectivity. Check to see the firewall has been properly installed — or turned on if it came bundled with your operating system.
  • Create smart passwords — Make them hard for others to guess. Use combinations of numbers and letters. Avoid using the same password for multiple websites, particularly when those sites are financial.
  • Pay attention to time stamps — Look for the “last login” date/time stamp when you log in to americanfunds.com and other sites that provide such a stamp. If the stamp doesn’t correspond to your most recent visit, follow up.
  • Think before you click — Avoid clicking on pop-up ads, downloading information from unknown sites and clicking on links in email from unknown sources.
  • Skip the use of sketchy computers — Access financial and other sensitive personal information online using a known device, such as your personal computer, with the necessary protections and security features in place.
  • Be wireless-wise — Follow the manufacturer’s security recommendations when setting up a home network to ensure it is properly encrypted. Contact the manufacturer for assistance if you have questions.

Take these additional steps to protect your personal information:

  • Sign up for e-delivery — Turn off paper delivery of your American Funds transaction confirmations and quarterly statements (we’ll send you an email with a link to view the information online instead). If your other financial institutions also provide this service, we recommend that you enroll in it.
  • Review confirmations and statements — If you spot unauthorized activity on your American Funds transaction confirmations or quarterly statements, notify us immediately.
  • Look out for paper confirmations — We mail a confirmation to your address of record following any address change or website password update. Make sure that you made or authorized the change.
  • Protect your Social Security number — Store your card in a safe place and avoid giving the number to others.
  • Shred documents — These include credit card offers, bank statements and junk mail.
  • Sign up for a credit-reporting service — Stay on top of who’s requesting access to your information — and why.
  • Avoid sharing your personal information — Don’t give critical data to “cold callers” online, via email and over the phone.

What We Do

To keep your information safe, we:

  • Use Secure Socket Layer (SSL) — Our entire website is protected using 128-bit SSL, the most widely used method for securing consumer financial sites.
  • Maintain firewalls — All of our computers are firewall-protected, preventing unauthorized access to your records.
  • Regularly refine and update security features — We review online security standards regularly to make sure that we are using the most up-to-date techniques and technologies. Recent additions include a personalized security image and stricter password requirements.
  • Offer image verification during login — Before you enter your password, we ask that you verify your personalized security image. That way you can be confident that you’re accessing our website, as opposed to an imposter site.
  • Challenge questionable site access — If we have questions about a login attempt on your account, we’ll challenge the user to answer additional questions in addition to providing your password.
  • Display last login information — The date and time of your most recent login will display in your account information.
  • Mask passwords and other confidential information — You’ll see asterisks or similar symbols in login fields, as well as in place of your SSN. Paper confirmations don’t display passwords and answers to your security questions.
  • Enforce timeouts — Your account page automatically times out after 20 minutes without activity, requiring you to log in again.

What to Do if You’re a Victim of Fraud

If you have an account with American Funds and suspect that your identity has been stolen, please contact us immediately. We will then take the appropriate steps to monitor your account.

Additionally, we recommend that you place a fraud alert on your accounts by contacting any one of these three consumer-credit companies:

  • Equifax: www.equifax.com
    (800) 525-6285
    P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
  • Experian: www.experian.com
    (888) EXPERIAN (397-3742)
    P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
  • TransUnion: www.transunion.com
    (800) 680-7289
    Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

Please note: You only need to inform one consumer-credit company since, by law, it must share your fraud alert request with the other two.

Once you have requested the fraud alert, you are entitled to free copies of your credit report. Review it for suspicious activity and inaccuracies.

If you find unauthorized accounts or charges, take the appropriate steps to get them corrected.

What to Do if You Receive a Suspicious American Funds Email

If you doubt the legitimacy of any email messages received from American Funds, do not click on the links included in the email. Open a new Web browser window and type in our Web address: www.americanfunds.com. Then log in to your account.

If you suspect that you’ve received a fraudulent email, forward it to us immediately at emailfraud@capgroup.com. Please note: This email address is able to handle only messages related to suspected email fraud. Please do not use this email address to send us general questions about your account(s). If you have general questions, please contact us.

If you are uncomfortable forwarding suspicious email, you may also call us.

Please be sure to write down the title of the email you received, along with the sender’s name or address and the file names of any attachments.


Privacy Policy

Capital Group considers the privacy of its investors to be of fundamental importance and has established a policy to maintain the confidentiality of the information you share with us.

Personal Information We Collect

We do not sell information to third parties. However, we may collect and retain certain nonpublic personal information about you, including:

  • Information we receive from you or your financial intermediary, such as your name, address, birthdate and tax identification number
  • Information from third-party data services (for example, to update your address when you have moved and demographic information to better understand your investment and service needs)
  • Information, such as account balance and transaction activity, about your investment transactions (including, to the extent necessary for our servicing your account(s) with us, your investments with third parties)
  • Information collected from you online (for example, HTTP headers, IP address, pixel tags and/or cookies that collect your online preferences, allow us to recognize your browser to help improve your Web experience and provide you with information about our products and services tailored to your interests)

Personal Information We May Disclose

We occasionally disclose nonpublic personal information about you to affiliates and non-affiliates as permitted by law. Some instances when we have shared information include:

  • Disclosing information to a third party in order to process account transactions that you request or authorize
  • Sharing information with companies related to us, as permitted by law, to make you aware of new funds or other services that we offer
  • Disclosing your name and address to companies that mail account-related materials, such as shareholder reports (note that these companies may not use the information for any other purpose)
  • Disclosing information to research companies to assess and improve our financial services
  • Disclosing information in connection with legal proceedings, such as responding to a subpoena

When information is shared with third parties, they are not permitted to use the information for any purpose other than to assist our servicing of your account(s), including helping us improve the services we offer, or as permitted by law.

If you close your account(s) or if we lose contact with you, we will continue to share information in accordance with our current privacy policy and practices.

We restrict access to your nonpublic personal information to authorized persons. We maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards that comply with federal standards to guard your nonpublic personal information.

These measures reflect our commitment to maintaining the privacy of your confidential information. We appreciate the confidence you have shown by entrusting us with your assets.

To comply with federal regulations, information we receive from you will be used to verify your identity.

The Internet: The Capital Group websites are proprietary. While we strive to protect all information we receive when you log on to the websites, we cannot guarantee the security of any information you transmit to us online, and you do so at your own risk. By entering the password-protected areas of our websites, you consent to our contacting you to discuss our products and services. We do not look for Web browser “do not track” requests.

This privacy disclosure applies to investment and shareholder services offered by:

  • American Funds Distributors®, Inc.
  • American Funds Service Company®
  • Capital Research and Management Company℠
  • Capital Bank and Trust Company℠

and all of the American Funds listed below:

  • AMCAP Fund®
  • American Balanced Fund®
  • American Funds Developing World Growth and Income Fund℠
  • American Funds Global Balanced Fund℠
  • American Funds Inflation Linked Bond Fund℠
  • American Funds Money Market Fund®
  • American Funds Mortgage Fund®
  • American Funds Short-Term Tax-Exempt Bond Fund®
  • American Funds Tax-Exempt Fund of New York®
  • American High-Income Municipal Bond Fund®
  • American High-Income Trust®
  • American Mutual Fund®
  • The Bond Fund of America®
  • Capital Income Builder®
  • Capital World Bond Fund®
  • Capital World Growth and Income Fund®
  • EuroPacific Growth Fund®
  • Fundamental Investors®
  • The Growth Fund of America®
  • The Income Fund of America®
  • Intermediate Bond Fund of America®
  • International Growth and Income Fund℠
  • The Investment Company of America®
  • Limited Term Tax-Exempt Bond Fund of America®
  • The New Economy Fund®
  • New Perspective Fund®
  • New World Fund®
  • Short-Term Bond Fund of America®
  • SMALLCAP World Fund®
  • The Tax-Exempt Bond Fund of America®
  • The Tax-Exempt Fund of California®
  • The Tax-Exempt Fund of Maryland®
  • The Tax-Exempt Fund of Virginia®
  • U.S. Government Securities Fund®
  • Washington Mutual Investors Fund℠

This privacy disclosure also applies to funds within the:
American Funds Portfolio Series℠:

  • American Funds Balanced Portfolio℠
  • American Funds Global Growth Portfolio℠
  • American Funds Growth and Income Portfolio℠
  • American Funds Growth Portfolio℠
  • American Funds Income Portfolio℠
  • American Funds Preservation Portfolio℠
  • American Funds Tax-Advantaged Income Portfolio℠
  • American Funds Tax-Exempt Preservation Portfolio℠

American Funds College Target Date Series®:

  • American Funds College 2033 Fund℠
  • American Funds College 2030 Fund®
  • American Funds College 2027 Fund®
  • American Funds College 2024 Fund®
  • American Funds College 2021 Fund®
  • American Funds College 2018 Fund®
  • American Funds College 2015 Fund®
  • American Funds College Enrollment Fund®

and American Funds Target Date Retirement Series®:

  • American Funds 2060 Target Date Retirement Fund℠
  • American Funds 2055 Target Date Retirement Fund®
  • American Funds 2050 Target Date Retirement Fund®
  • American Funds 2045 Target Date Retirement Fund®
  • American Funds 2040 Target Date Retirement Fund®
  • American Funds 2035 Target Date Retirement Fund®
  • American Funds 2030 Target Date Retirement Fund®
  • American Funds 2025 Target Date Retirement Fund®
  • American Funds 2020 Target Date Retirement Fund®
  • American Funds 2015 Target Date Retirement Fund®
  • American Funds 2010 Target Date Retirement Fund®

This policy is effective June 1, 2013. If there are changes to the terms of our privacy policy, documents containing the policy and relevant information on our website will be updated.

Household Mailings and E-Delivery for American Funds Investors

Each year, you are automatically sent an updated summary prospectus and annual and semi-annual reports for the fund. You may also occasionally receive proxy statements for the fund. In order to reduce the volume of mail you receive, when possible, only one copy of these documents will be sent to shareholders who are part of the same family and share the same household address. If you would like to opt out of household-based mailings, please call us or write to the secretary of the fund at 333 South Hope Street, Los Angeles, California 90071. You may elect to receive these documents electronically in lieu of paper form by enrolling in e-delivery.

Unclaimed Property

If there is no activity in your account within a time period specified by state law, we may be required to transfer the account to the appropriate state.

For More Information

For information about your account or our services, please contact your financial intermediary. You may review and correct any personal information by logging in to Your Portfolio and visiting the Profile & Settings page or by calling us for assistance.


Investments are not FDIC-insured, nor are they deposits of or guaranteed by a bank or any other entity, so they may lose value.  

Investors should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This and other important information is contained in the fund prospectuses and summary prospectuses , which can be obtained from a financial professional and should be read carefully before investing.