Social Security Website Notes - Multifactor Authentication - Voluntary Electronic Access Blocking

July 2019 Update

Dropped by the site. They seem to be having some tech problems, but was still able to login. After logging in, the tech problems continued. In fact, they were basically a mess. Presumably all of this is temporary and will be straightened out. Meanwhile, I did notice they posted this:
  • "Are you now, or have you ever been a victim of domestic violence? Identity theft? Do you have other concerns? You can block electronic access to your information at any time, for any reason."
I figure there are people who would like to know that, so I included it here.

January 2019 Update

Yep, still requiring the two-step verification process, i.e., email or cell phone. Btw, the site is a handy way to check if the IRS got your tax return. You can do so by checking if your earnings record has been updated. Lost tax returns might be more common than usual this year. 

February 2018 Update

Nothing really new to report. The only thing I can think to mention is that one should sign up with their website, regardless of age. Never hurts to keep an eye on things. Side note: I'm not putting a link here. Never go to an important site via a link from another site; too many security issues involved. Only go to such sites via directly from your browser address bar or from a well-known, reputable search engine; and while you're at it, hover the link to see where it really goes before clicking it.

May 2017 Update

This time they are making an email option available along with the previously aborted text messaging option. This should indeed keep the poor people (of which I am one) from being shut out of their accounts. It is nice to see that Social Security is finally catching up with reality.

From the email Social Security sent out:

Each time you sign in to your account, you will complete two steps:
  • Step 1: Enter your username and password.
  • Step 2: Enter the security code we send you by text message or email, depending on your choice (your cell phone provider's text message and data rates may apply).


For Those Who Are Interested, Here's What Happened Before...


2016 UPDATE The text-messaging requirement has been rescinded. Here is Social Security's latest email:

*Start*

On July 30, 2016, we began requiring you to sign into your my Social Security account using a one-time code sent via text message. We implemented this new layer of security, known as “multifactor authentication,” in compliance with a Presidential executive order to improve the security of consumer financial transactions.  SSA implemented the improvements aggressively because we have a fundamental responsibility to protect the public’s personal information.

However, multifactor authentication inconvenienced or restricted access to some of our account holders. We’re listening to your concerns and are responding by temporarily rolling back this mandate.

As before July 30, you can now access your secure account using only your username and password. We highly recommend the extra security text message option, but it is not required. We’re developing an alternative authentication option, besides text messaging, that we’ll begin implementing within the next six months.

We strive to balance security and customer service options, and we want to ensure that our online services are both easy to use and secure. The my Social Security service has always featured a robust verification and authentication process, and it remains safe and secure.

We regret any inconvenience you may have experienced.

There is no requirement that you access your personal my Social Security account as a result of the steps we are taking.  However, when you do access your account, we encourage you to sign up for the extra security text message option.  You can access your account by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

 *End*

Here is the original post that started it all:


Poor People Can No Longer Access Their Social Security Or Other Online Federal Government Accounts


I am one of the people who cannot afford the monthly, exorbitant cell phone fees. I just received this email from Social Security. Leastwise I can afford internet access (try landline DSL if possible, can save decent money); but for me and millions of others, I guess internet access to our federal government accounts is no more.

*Start*

Starting in August 2016, Social Security is adding a new step to protect your privacy as a my Social Security user.  This new requirement is the result of an executive order for federal agencies to provide more secure authentication for their online services. Any agency that provides online access to a customer’s personal information must use multifactor authentication.

When you sign in at ssa.gov/myaccount with your username and password, we will ask you to add your text-enabled cell phone number.  The purpose of providing your cell phone number is that, each time you log in to your account with your username and password, we will send you a one-time security code you must also enter to log in successfully to your account.

Each time you sign into your account, you will complete two steps:
  • Step 1:  Enter your username and password.
  • Step 2:  Enter the security code we text to your cell phone (cell phone provider's text message and data rates may apply).
The process of using a one-time security code in addition to a username and password is one form of “multifactor authentication,” which means we are using more than one method to make sure you are the actual owner of your account.

If you do not have a text-enabled cell phone or you do not wish to provide your cell phone number, you will not be able to access your my Social Security account.

If you are unable or choose not to use my Social Security, there are other ways you can contact us.  To learn more, please review the Frequently Asked Questions found here.

*End*

And that's the way it is...


2 comments:

  1. Sadly, I don't find this shocking.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You've made some really good points there.
    I checked on the internet for more information about
    the issue and found most individuals will go along with
    your views on this web site.

    ReplyDelete