Recently the Social Security Administration introduced a two-step verification process for access to Social Security account information online. Unfortunately, it required people have access to text messaging, which many senior citizens do not have.
The system had to be temporarily shelved.
That means that Social Security account information is still vulnerable according to Computer World in “Trusting the Social Security Administration?”
The problem stems from Social Security requiring that all benefits be paid by a direct deposit. Identity thieves have been known to create an online account with Social Security before a retiree can do so. This gives them control of the account and they can change the account into which benefits are deposited.
As a consequence of this scam, it is very difficult for retirees to fix the problem as they do not know the login information since they did not create the account for themselves. This has been a known vulnerability for a few years. Attempts to address the problem have not had much success.
One way to help protect yourself is to make sure you create an online account with the Social Security Administration before any identity thieves have a chance to do so. However, that will not protect you should someone gain access to your account later.
For the most protection it is suggested that you block all online access to your Social Security account, which you can do at any time.
Reference: Computer World (Sept. 4, 2016) “Trusting the Social Security Administration?”