Since the Equifax data breach affecting 143 million Americans, one of my clients told me that their online account had been suspended after someone tried - unsuccessfully - to log into their account.
The pilfered information which includes Social Security numbers, name, birthdate and address could possibly lead to a diversion of benefits or changes to an account to allow access for many years without your knowledge.
To date, the SSA has not sent out widespread notice to Americans on extra security measures to take to protect their account.
Whether or not you are receiving Social Security benefits, I suggest that you check to make sure that your online info is secure.
If You Have Not Set Up an Online Account Previously:
Create your account today and take away the risk of someone else trying to create one in your name. It only takes a few minutes to set up an account at: http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/. The Equifax hackers have enough information to do this. If you suspect someone has created a fraudulent account in your name, you should begin by contacting the toll-free Social Security Administration Fraud Hotline at (800) 269-0271.)
If You Already Have an Online Account:
If you have not signed into your account lately, you should do so to see if a hack attempt has been made. (There will be a notice when you log in if this has happened.)
There are extra security measures available to add additional security that include:
- Info from your W-2 tax forms or self-employment tax form.
- Upgraded code mailed to your home with instructions on how to use this code to finalize your upgrade.
- You can choose to have a one-time code texted to your cell phone or sent to your e-mail address on file as an added security measure.