Privacy & Identity

New Online Security

August 3, 2016 • By

MFAWe’ve added an extra layer of security for our customers when they interact with us online. Now, my Social Security account holders are required to use their cell phone — in addition to their username and password — as another authentication factor during online registration and every sign in. An authentication factor is information used to determine if someone is who they claim to be.

This extra layer of security is called “multifactor authentication” and complies with an executive order requiring federal agencies to provide more secure authentication for their online services. Any agency that provides online access to a customer’s personal information must now use multifactor authentication.

Since my Social Security became available in May 2012, almost 26 million people have created an account. We have always offered multifactor authentication, but only for customers who opted for extra security. For your protection, we now require multifactor authentication for all my Social Security users. To register and sign in, you must now enter a security code that we will send to your cell phone. Your cell phone provider’s text message and data rates may apply.

Our research shows that an overwhelming majority of American adults have cell phones and use them for texting. Because of technical and resource constraints, we are not currently able to offer alternative methods of satisfying this security requirement. However, we may consider adding more options in the future. We appreciate your patience as we work continuously to secure your online information.

We’re committed to using the best technologies and standards available to protect our customers’ data. Multifactor authentication is just one of the ways we’re ensuring the safety and security of the resources entrusted to us. Visit my Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount to learn more about this helpful suite of online services, including additional details about our latest security measures.

 


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About the Author

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Comments

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  1. Sidney James Brown

    when I entered new data for My Social Security account I used the Middle initial, not full middle name . Is this a problem?

    I also entered an email account name for messages, but no a phone number, but it was entered else were in getting the account activated. Problem?

    Reply
    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Sidney. For assistance with your personal my Social Security account, please call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. At the voice prompt, say “help desk”; or
      contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  2. Sidney James Brown

    when I entered new data for My Social Security account I used the Middle initial, not full middle name . Is this a problem?

    I also entered an email account name for messages, but no phone number, but it was entered else were in getting the account activated. Problem? Jul 2017 says either text or email account to receive MFA numbet Right?

    Reply
  3. Sidney James Brown

    Attached replies cover MFA info, it seems ok for email and or text. Not sure if I entered Phone number, how to check?

    Reply
  4. Edward Desmet

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    Reply
  5. Michelle Mahlstadt

    What can I do I tried to log onto my account and it said not valid. I have not changed my login or password? Now it has locked me out?

    Reply
    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Michelle. We are sorry to hear you had difficulty accessing your personal my Social Security account. If you are still unable to access an account or encounter a problem with your personal my Social Security account, you may:
      •Call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. At the voice prompt, say “helpdesk”; or
      •Contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  6. Clint S

    Your Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) system is NOT sending a code to my phone. Seems there is NO work around, although a page on ssa.gov claims that email should be an alternative to phone text message. But no provision is available in the sign-on pages. So I have to call and wait for an hour or more to talk with someone?

    Reply
    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Clint. We are sorry for your frustration. If you are still unable to access an account or encounter a problem with your personal my Social Security account, you may:
      •Call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. At the voice prompt, say “helpdesk”; or
      •Contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  7. Keith D. Baker

    How do I access a ssa site that permits me to advise
    ssa that my mailing home address has changed by
    e mail or or telephone to a site in British Columbia

    Reply
    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Keith. Since you are living outside of the U.S. you can contact your local Federal Benefits Unit for any assistance related to Social Security benefits. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  8. Keith D. Baker

    How do I access a ssa site that permits me to advise
    ssa that my mailing home address has changed
    Preferrably by mail or or telephone to a ssa
    site in British Columbia

    Reply
  9. Rebecca Ruddlesden

    I’m trying to set up my account.com to change my direct deposit for my social security check & it says for me to enter the activation code it sent to me. I don’t remember receiving one. How do I find out what the code is?

    Reply
    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Rebecca. We are sorry to hear you have had difficulty creating a personal my Social Security account. If you are still unable to create an account or encounter a problem with your personal my Social Security account, you may:
      •Call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. At the voice prompt, say “helpdesk”; or
      •Contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  10. Randy Cousino

    I think the extra layer of security is a great idea but it doesn’t work I cannot log into my account because when I request a security code nothing is delivered to my cell phone number within the two minute time frame…..not in any duration of time
    tried this many times and cannot access online services.
    Definitely not computer Illiterate and spoke with someone at a service center and they’re baffled

    Reply

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