How To Find Out If My Social Security Number Has Been Compromised – One of the site’s most-read advice columns is a 2018 article titled “Raise Your Flag, Mark Your Territory,” which aims to impress upon readers the importance of registering with the Social Security Administration, IRS, and IRS websites. Others before scammers do it. The key takeaway here is that these services only allow one account per Social Security number, which, for better or worse, becomes the de facto national identifier in the United States. But I recently found out that not all federal government sites do that to help you manage your online personal information.
A reader who was recently victimized by unemployment insurance fraud said she should set up an account on the Department of Homeland Security’s myE-Verify website and block her Social Security Number (SSN) to reduce the chances of identity thieves misusing your personal information. future employment fraud.
How To Find Out If My Social Security Number Has Been Compromised
According to the website, about 600,000 employers from more than 1.9 million recruiting sites use E-Verify to verify the eligibility of new hires. The myE-Verify portal for E-Verify users allows users to track and manage job applications submitted through the E-Verify system. It also has a “Self-Lockout” feature designed to prevent misuse of your SSN on E-Verify.
Times To Never Give Out Your Social Security Number
By enabling this block, if an unauthorized person tries to use the SSN in an employment authorization the following year, E-Verify will not be able to use the SSN even if the SSN belongs to an authorized individual. . But in reality, this service doesn’t prevent identity thieves from impersonating you as a potential employer.
At the request of a reader who contacted me (and to follow the advice of flying my own flag), I decided to sign up for a myE-Verify account. After verifying my email address, I was asked to choose a strong password and select a form of multi-factor authentication (MFA). I chose this because the most secure MFA option offered (a one-time code generated by an app like Google Authenticator or Authy) was already pre-selected.
The site asked for my name, address, SSN, date of birth, and phone number. I was then asked to choose five questions and answers that I might be asked if I tried to change my password, such as “In what city did you meet your spouse” or “What was the name of your first paying job?” I chose long, nonsensical answers that had nothing to do with the questions (yes, these password questions are pretty useless for security and often lead to account takeovers, but we’ll get to that in a minute).
Upon selecting the password reset questions, the site asked four “knowledge-based authentication” questions to verify my identity. The Federal Trade Commission’s job-related ID Theft Prevention home page says people who have a lien placed on their credit file with the major credit bureaus will need to cancel or release the lien before they can successfully answer these questions on myE-Check. However, even though my credit file has been frozen at the major bureaus for years, I have never seen this happen.
The Social Security Pitfall We Just Learned About
After successfully answering the KBA questions (the answer to each one, by the way, is “none of the above”), the site says I’ve successfully created my account! I then saw that I had the ability to “Self-Lock” my SSN as part of the E-Verify system.
It required me to choose three more challenging questions and answers. The site didn’t explain why it asked me to do this, but I figured I’d get an answer if I later decided to unblock my SSN in E-Verify.
After selecting and answering these questions, I clicked the “Block My SSN” button, and the site sent me an error message saying something went wrong and I couldn’t continue.
Unfortunately, logging out and logging back in showed that the site had indeed moved forward and my SSN had been blocked. Joy.
More Social Security Communications Could Bolster Participant Outcomes
But I needed to know: can someone else impersonate me and create another account with a different email address using my SSN, date of birth, and address? I found out using a different browser and internet address.
Imagine my surprise that I was able to create a separate account like mine with a different email address (again, the correct answer to all KBA questions is “none of the above”). After logging in, I noticed in E-Verify that my SSN was indeed blocked. So I decided to unravel it.
Did the system ask me one of the verification questions I created earlier? Nope. It reported that my SSN ban has now been lifted. Logging out and back into the original account I created (again with a different IP and browser) confirmed that my SSN was blocked.
Of course, if the E-Verify system allows you to create multiple accounts using the same name, address, phone number, SSN, or date of birth, that’s not ideal and will somewhat defeat the purpose of creating an account to protect your personal information. misuse.
Checkr, For Whatever Reason, Has Requested That I Resubmit My Social Security Number To Them. I’m Pretty New To This And Just Wanted To Make Sure That This Was Legit And Safe
Lest you think that your SSN and DOB are somehow personal information, know that this static data about US residents has been exposed many times in countless data breaches, and in any case, this digital information can be sold to most Americans through shady websites. . Because it’s the Bitcoin equivalent of a fancy caffeinated drink at Starbucks.
Not being able to proceed with knowledge-based verification questions without having to decode your credit file at one or all of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) can be really helpful for the paranoid. . I couldn’t find anything on the E-Verify site that mentions which company or service they use when asking these questions, but it doesn’t seem to matter if the site is blocked or not.
The fact that the correct answer to every KBA question asked is “none of the above,” which somewhat diminishes the value of asking them in the first place. Maybe it’s the luck of the lottery for me, but I’m worried. However, these KBA questions are weak because the answers are derived from publicly available documents and can sometimes be deduced by examining information on the target’s social media profiles.
Speaking of advanced questions, relying on “secret questions” or “challenge questions” as alternative ways to reset your password is outdated and unreliable. A 2015 Google study titled “Secrets, Lies, and Account Recovery” (PDF) found that secret questions offer a much lower level of protection than simple user-chosen passwords. Also, the idea that an MFA-protected account could be compromised by successfully guessing the answer to one or more secret questions (which are true and the thieves find out through their social accounts) is annoying.
My Social Security
This article was co-authored by Clinton M. Sandvik, PhD, JD. Clinton M. Sandvik has worked as a civil defense attorney in California for over 7 years. He received a PhD in American History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998 and a PhD in American History from the University of Oregon in 2013.
There are 16 citations in this article, located at the bottom of the page.
Since 1936, the United States Social Security Administration (“SSA”) has issued a nine-digit Social Security number to US citizens, permanent residents, and temporary residents to track an individual in the Social Security system. Officially printed on cards and issued to everyone, this number is increasingly being used for identification purposes, especially to verify the names and social security numbers of new hires. Since it is a formal document, it follows some formal conventions. If you are responsible for verifying someone’s Social Security information, knowing these conventions can help you spot a fake Social Security card or number.
Is Social Security The Biggest Perpetrator Of Social Security Fraud?
This article was co-authored by Clinton M. Sandvik, PhD, JD. Clinton M. Sandvik has worked as a civil defense attorney in California for over 7 years
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