SSA.GOV Accounts to Require Stronger Authentication

May 10, 2017 / Michael Natalie, Horsesmouth Associate Editor

Starting June 10, 2017, holders of Social Security accounts will need another authentication step to log in. When they sign in using their username and password, they’ll receive a one-time security code to finish their login. The security code may be delivered through text message or email, depending on user preference.

The Social Security Administration attempted to put in place a similar measure in August of last year. Under last year’s measure, the one-time security code could only be sent through text message—posing a potential obstacle to senior citizens without cell phones, or who were otherwise uncomfortable providing the Social Security administration with a phone number.

Cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs recommends everyone set up an online Social Security account—and soon. According to Krebs, identity thieves can use a retiree’s personal information to register them for an online Social Security account, then have the victim’s benefits diverted to prepaid debit cards. Because only one Social Security account may be created per SSN, this scam can be defeated by signing up for an account on your own.


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