For all of us, protecting our online accounts should be high on our priority list. The Social Security Administration has finally caught on and has tightened security in order to frustrate hackers and identity thieves. Now, when you log into your Social Security Administration (SSA) 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 cyber-security trade, this is known as multi-factor authentication.
The result is better security, but it may be a big hassle for some users. On the first day, Verizon customers weren’t getting their security codes; the problem has since been fixed. Less technology-oriented Americans (and there are many) don’t use texting on their phones, which means they’ll either have to learn or do without their SSA account. At the same time, multi-factor authentication doesn’t necessarily prevent cyber criminals from fraudulently creating an online account in your name or from siphoning away your benefits. Still, it’s a step in the right direction.
Your response? If you don’t already have an online 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 become familiar with that feature of your smart phone. If you’re having trouble, ask any teenager for some quick technical support. You may wonder why you waited so long to do so.
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The MoneyGeek thanks guest writer Bob Veres for his contribution to this post