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Old 03-22-2013, 06:31 PM
 
1,445 posts, read 2,292,841 times
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Default Setting up a Social Security online account

I had an interesting encounter the other day when I set up my online Social Security account. It is quite straightforward to start with, entering basic info: name and address, phone, SS#, DOB. Then, however, things got more interesting when the website needed to verify that I was who I said I was. The screen offered a series of 6 questions with multiple choice answers. In each case, the correct answer was listed among the options. Then they said they were not "storing" my answers.....hahaha But somehow they had all this info to start with!

For example, one question was: Have you owned any of the following cars in the last year? The choices were 4 different types of cars -- make and model (Toyota Tundra, Chevy Cruz, etc). Another question was: In the last 10 years, are any of the following one of your phone numbers? (current phone # not listed as an option)

The most interesting was: Which year did you obtain a new credit card from XYZ bank? (A specific bank was listed.) This is the question that really surprised me. How would the Social Security Admin know what credit cards I possess and what year I obtained them? The correct year was in fact listed in the 4 choices for an answer.

Well, I must have done ok, since my account was set up, and I must say they use strong paramaters for establishing passwords, which have to be changed every 6 months, which is good. They also use several other personal questions of your own choosing for security purposes if you forget your password.

The site itself was straightforward and useful if you have an address change or want to view your benefits or apply for Medicare.
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:41 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
8,589 posts, read 5,962,651 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xz2y View Post
The most interesting was: Which year did you obtain a new credit card from XYZ bank? (A specific bank was listed.) This is the question that really surprised me. How would the Social Security Admin know what credit cards I possess and what year I obtained them? The correct year was in fact listed in the 4 choices for an answer.
Someone else posted in another thread here not long ago that the Social Security Administration has a link to the three credit reporting bureaus and that is their main means of establishing your identity. That explanation made sense to me because a number of years ago I put a freeze on all three credit bureaus, which means I cannot get any new credit cards, or loans, unless I lift the freezes (which protect me against identity theft).

Long story short, when I tried to set up my SS online account, I was denied. It was explained to me (by the poster, not by SS) that the reason was they couldn't check with the credit bureaus. So I would have to go in in person and see how to get around that, but I probably won't bother because it's not important to me to have an on-line account.
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:46 PM
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
2,095 posts, read 1,344,205 times
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"Then they said they were not "storing" my answers.....hahaha But somehow they had all this info to start with!"

Per the SSA site: How We Verify and Protect Your Identity
  • We may use an external authentication service provider, Experian, to help us verify your identity.
  • We verify your information against our records. Experian verifies your information against its records.
  • We will not share your Social Security number with Experian.
  • Experian will only keep the information we share for the period of time required by federal laws, regulations, or guidelines.
  • We will not keep the information that Experian provides us.
  • Experian may use information from your credit report to help verify your identity; this may result in what is known as a “soft inquiry” on your Experian credit report.
  • Your Experian credit report will show an inquiry by the Social Security Administration with our address and the date of the request.
As you can see, it is the credit reporting agency Experian that has all of the information.

Oops, just saw Escort Rider's reply. Close enough
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:57 PM
 
1,445 posts, read 2,292,841 times
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Well, I had no idea. I didn't read the fine print on the SSA website, not that it would have made any difference. Though I wonder about: "We will not share your Social Security number with Experian" Hmmm. I bet the credit reporting agencies already have SS # on file. (SS# are commonly used to run credit reports when purchasing financing, etc., so the credit agencies must have SS# on file to correspond to the inquiries.)

Anyway, since I paid cash for my used car several years ago, and did not use a credit card or personal check, the SSA must have links to the DMV. Otherwise, how would SSA know what kind of car I owned? Experian would have no idea either, since no credit transaction was involved.

Sure hope that "soft inquiry" doesn't ding my credit score....

Thanks for the posts.
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Old 03-23-2013, 05:02 AM
bUU
 
5,599 posts, read 1,894,415 times
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Identity theft and other forms of financial fraud are major problems. Government agencies are obligated to take reasonable measures to establish the identity of people they're working with before sharing private information with them. Any and all publicly-available sources of information should be utilized, as well as certain government sources of information, to the extent that their use, itself, wouldn't compromise identity security.
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Old 03-23-2013, 06:48 AM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
71,043 posts, read 31,417,160 times
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I went online to get a new copy of my birth certificate from NYS.
And I had that same type of verification.
When those phone numbers popped up I thought I was going to fail because I couldn't remember which of those numbers I had in the past..lol.

Kinda scary how much info they have on you going back 20-30 years.
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Old 03-23-2013, 07:32 AM
 
Location: Lexington, SC
4,281 posts, read 4,335,411 times
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Why would one want to set up an online account with SSI?

Thanks
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Old 03-23-2013, 07:59 AM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
71,043 posts, read 31,417,160 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by accufitgolf View Post
Why would one want to set up an online account with SSI?

Thanks
For one thing SSA doesn't send out annual statements anymore.
You have to go online to see it and print it out.

That's why I created an account last year.
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:12 AM
 
Location: East Coast
2,292 posts, read 2,013,934 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyTexan View Post
For one thing SSA doesn't send out annual statements anymore.
You have to go online to see it and print it out.

That's why I created an account last year.
That's exactly why I set up an online account...to see my annual statements. I'm still working and have not started taking SS yet.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Mtns of Waynesville,NC & Nokomis, FL
2,329 posts, read 2,700,702 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by accufitgolf View Post
Why would one want to set up an online account with SSI?

Thanks
Online: that is how I set up my SS benefits a 3 years ago. Took 10 mins, all went smoothly, first 'check' was electronically deposited, as set up. Painless.

I don't recall that litany of questions, but my memory is fading.
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