Chris Stein, CFP®
Fraud Protection and Social Security
The Social Security Administration announced (again) that it was going to step up the fraud protection of online SS accounts.
Text Message Verification
If you pay attention to Social Security issues, you know that unscrupulous people will sometimes fraudulently access online SS accounts and file claims. The SSA is aware of this issue and wants to protect people’s privacy. In the spring of 2016, the SSA tried to improve the security for online accounts by requiring a two step login process; a password and a security code. The password was created by the user but the security code was texted to the user’s cell phone by the SSA when he or she attempted to log in to their account. This required access to a cell phone to receive the text message from the SSA.
Unfortunately, because of this dual login process some seniors were locked out of their my Social Security accounts. Many seniors didn’t have access to a cell phone with text messaging or didn’t know how to use the text features on their phones. Within 2 weeks of implementing the new security feature, the SSA had to backtrack and remove the text authentication.
New Security Feature
Although the previous security feature didn’t work out, the fraud problem didn’t go away, so starting June 10th the SSA will launch a new fraud protection feature. Under the new system, the SSA will re-deploy the cell phone text authentication and add an email feature. You will be able to receive an authentication code either by text message or via email. Since you need to have an email address to set up your my Social Security account online, everyone will be able to acces the authentication code. (Surprisingly enough, the SSA took an entire year to come up with this new solution.)
After June 10, you have to have either text messaging or email verification in order to access your SS account info. Since only one phone number or one email address can be linked to a particular SS number, this should prevent someone that isn’t you accessing your account.
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