How Secure Is ‘My Account’?

by Matilda Charles

 

I’m starting to have second thoughts about using Social Security’s

online “My Account” feature. Yes, I have one. Yes, it’s handy. But

scammers are targeting the My Accounts of seniors. The online account is

beginning to look like not such a good idea.

 

In a number of cases, the only way the victims knew anything was wrong was

when they received a letter from Social Security verifying that they’d

opened an online My Account.

 

No, they hadn’t. But someone else had. In some cases the scammers

attempted to divert the direct deposit to an account at another bank. The

Office of the Inspector General is investigating occurrences all over the

country.

 

There is a way, if you do have an account, to add a layer of security

to your My Account: You can type in the last eight digits of your Visa,

MasterCard or Discover Card. (Do this only if you’re very sure of your

computer’s security.)

 

I once made my very elderly neighbor a list of phone numbers that we

pasted to the inside of her kitchen cabinet door above the telephone. I

printed it out in large enough letters and numbers so it was clear to her,

and it saved her from having to look up numbers.

 

Maybe you could use a list like that? If you generate such a list, here

are numbers to add to it: Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. Federal Trade

Commission fraud report line 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338). OIG fraud

hotline 1-800-269-0271.

 

If something is ever wrong with your Social Security, especially if you

have a My Account, call them immediately. Remember that Social Security

will never send you email asking for information or whether you want to

open a My Account. But scammers will.

 

Matilda Charles regrets that she cannot personally answer reader

questions, but will incorporate them into her column whenever possible.

 

Send email to columnreply2@gmail.com.

(c) 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.

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