The Social Security Administration has tightened security in order to prevent hackers and identity thieves. Now, when you log into your Social Security Administration account, you do what you’ve always done: give your user name and password. Then you receive a security code sent by text message, and type in that code to complete your login procedure. In the cybersecurity trade, this is known as multifactor authentication.
The result is better security, and a big hassle for some users. On the first day, Verizon customers weren’t getting their security codes; the problem has since been fixed. Many older Americans don’t text on their phones, which means they’ll either have to learn or do without their SSA account. At the same time, multifactor authentication doesn’t prevent cyber criminals from fraudulently creating an online account in your name, and siphoning away your benefits.
Your response? If you don’t already have an account with the Social Security Administration, now would be a good time to open one, before a thief decides to do it for you. (Here’s a direct link: https://secure.ssa.gov/RIL/SiView.do) And if you aren’t into texting, now is a good time to get familiar with that feature of your smart phone. If you’re having trouble, ask a teenager for some quick tech support.
About the Author: Bob Veres has been a commentator, author and consultant in the financial services industry for more than 20 years. Over his 20-year career in the financial services world, Mr. Veres has worked as editor of Financial Planning magazine; as a contributing editor to the Journal of Financial Planning; as a columnist and editor-at-large of Dow Jones Investment Advisor magazine; and as editor of Morningstar’s advisor web site: MorningstarAdvisor.com.
Mr. Veres has been named one of the most influential people in the financial planning profession by Investment Advisor magazine and Financial Planning magazine, was granted the NAPFA Special Achievement Award by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, and most recently the Heart of Financial Planning Distinguished Service Award from the Denver-based Financial Planning Association.