All of us have heard frequent reminders about not giving out personal information as an important part of protecting against ID theft.
Sometimes we forget and are tricked into disclosing information normally protected or are included in a mass information loss. If so, then what?
Two preventive actions are available now to protect yourself if you receive Social Security benefits, before any slip in protecting your personal information. The second of these is a good idea even if you do not yet receive benefits.
One action is to put a block onto your Social Security record as a preventive measure. Blocking access prevents unauthorized changes to your Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) record so, for example, no one could change the bank account that you use for your payments.
Block access to your record by contacting Social Security, either by telephone, personally or online. When doing this, expect to be asked for personal information. Once you block access, to make a change in the future you will have to visit a SSA office and show ID.
Another action option, whether or not you receive Social Security yet, is for you to create a free, personal, pin and password secured, my Social Security account, preferably including the additional security options.
Along with making the other my Social Security services available if you receive benefits, creating your personal my Social Security account now prevents anyone else, such as an ID thief, from creating an account “for” you using stolen information and then redirecting your payments to another location.
If not yet receiving benefits, with a my Social Security account you can annually review your work record for accuracy. If wrong earnings start to appear, you will know as quickly as possible and can contact Social Security.