How to Keep Your Social Security Number Safe

January 7, 2018

Millions of Social Security numbers have been compromised due to a data breach at the credit reporting firm Equifax. And once your number has been viewed by potential identity thieves, there’s no way for your Social Security number to be secret again. However, there are things you can do to keep your Social Security number safe and limit the risk that a stolen Social Security number can be used against you. Here’s how to keep your Social Security information secure.

Create a my Social Security account. Workers age 18 and older are eligible to create a my Social Security account and get a personalized estimate of future Social Security payments. Establishing a my Social Security account allows you to check the accuracy of your earnings and correct errors, so that you will receive the maximum possible benefit you qualify for. The Social Security Administration points out that creating an account prevents someone else from using your Social Security number to set up an account in your name and gain access to your benefit and earning information.

Set up two-factor authentication. You can further protect your Social Security account by setting up two-factor authentication. This means that in addition to a username and password, you use a second method of identification, such as a code sent to your cellphone or email address. The Social Security Administration says using two methods of identification each time you log in better protects your account from unauthorized use and identity fraud.

By Emily Brandon, Staff Writer |Oct. 10, 2017, at 9:45 a.m.