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  1. #1
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    SSA Now Requires You to Have a Text Capable Cell Phone

    I got an email today from the Social Security Administration telling me that they are adding additional authentication to the "My Social Security" website. Starting next month, you have to provide SSA with a cell phone number and when you sign in, you will be texted an authentication code. There is no alternative option other than not using the web service.

    So, apparently, the SSA has determined that all citizens in the US are now well enough off to own a cell phone. Of course, if they don't they can always have their chauffeur drive them to the nearest SSA office.
    Graham Smith
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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Graham,

    Yeah, I got the same thing. Our wonderful government at work. Everybody else gives you options like Google Authenticator or Email, but not the USG pay for text or go home. I have a Smart phone but have Texting disabled because I don't like it and don't want to pay for it. YMMV. My wife and I use What's App for when we need to contact each other when making a call wouldn't be appropriate and that works just fine for us.

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    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Well, they'll give you a free government phone if you don't have the money to buy your own!

    Seriously, though, if you have a landline, and they use that number to send you a text, text-to-landline will kick in -- it will read you the text out loud.

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    Text to landline? Interesting. Never knew such a beast existed. I wonder if it would work with phone companies basic lifeline service.

    Still, I find it absurd that the SSA - who should be used to dealing with low income families and seniors - should require something like this. Granted, it only effects web service but that's the only way many people in rural areas can easily access the SSA.

    The gubment can be rather dense sometimes.
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

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    Quote Originally Posted by gsmith-plm View Post
    Text to landline? Interesting. Never knew such a beast existed. I wonder if it would work with phone companies basic lifeline service.

    Still, I find it absurd that the SSA - who should be used to dealing with low income families and seniors - should require something like this. Granted, it only effects web service but that's the only way many people in rural areas can easily access the SSA.

    The gubment can be rather dense sometimes.
    The use of the word "dense" is hardly appropriate.
    Identity theft and online fraud are serious issues and this requirement is the result of an executive order for federal agencies to provide more secure authentication for their online services.
    If someone has the wherewithal to use an online service with a computer, surely they have a basic cellphone that receives text messages.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trev View Post
    If someone has the wherewithal to use an online service with a computer, surely they have a basic cellphone that receives text messages.
    Wrong. Many people depend on community resources to access the internet. Library, school, community center, etc.

    I have no problem with secondary ID. My bank does it. But they offer email, text or phone call service. The problem here is that the SSA, who routinely deals with people who have little or no resources somehow are expecting these people to have a text capable cell phone and text service. That's not realistic.
    Graham Smith
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    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsmith-plm View Post
    The problem here is that the SSA, who routinely deals with people who have little or no resources somehow are expecting these people to have a text capable cell phone and text service. That's not realistic.
    I hesitate to comment on something relating to the USA, but I would have thought that the problem is related to age, not income.

    I would wager that almost every single young person from the age of ten (if not younger) has a text-capable phone, if not a "smart"phone, but that this would not necessarily be true of "old people", whose familiarity with technology is less certain. Not all of the olde people have been working with technology for the last fifty years, like we may well have done!
    BATcher

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    Over 90% of adults in the USA own a cell phone and around 80% of adults over 65 are similarly equipped.
    I also wouldn't log in to the SSA website on a Public computer.
    This is moaning for the sake of it rather than accepting the wisdom of two-factor authentication.

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trev View Post
    This is moaning for the sake of it rather than accepting the wisdom of two-factor authentication.
    I have no problem with two factor ID, I use Google Authenticator and get emails regularly from other sources, even the occasional voice call with an automated code reader.

    But I do have a problem with MY Government telling me they will only support a single method of TFA. I have chosen consciously NOT to use texting and don't think I should be forced to do so by the government I pay for. It's not like they have to invent this wheel it's being used everywhere.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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    Silver Lounger lumpy95's Avatar
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    Interestingly enough, I have never received any such notification BUT I didn't sign up for the "My account" online. I assume that SSA " My Account" figures that if you can sign in on a computer, you have a cell phone with a texting plan.
    The Govt. is extremely over bloated now and they use media and every other trick in the book to convince you that we need more Govt. because we are too stupid to fend for ourselves. Just an opinion, don't shoot me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lumpy95 View Post
    Interestingly enough, I have never received any such notification BUT I didn't sign up for the "My account" online. I assume that SSA " My Account" figures that if you can sign in on a computer, you have a cell phone with a texting plan.
    The Govt. is extremely over bloated now and they use media and every other trick in the book to convince you that we need more Govt. because we are too stupid to fend for ourselves. Just an opinion, don't shoot me.
    A reasonable assumptiom IMHO.
    The SSA website would be at the forefront of attempts at identity theft, for obvious reasons, so I feel the security of my data has been improved by this change.
    Nobody is obliged to access their account online.

  12. #12
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsmith-plm View Post
    Text to landline? Interesting. Never knew such a beast existed. I wonder if it would work with phone companies basic lifeline service.
    Send a text to your landline, and see how it works. I have received two in my lifetime.

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    I don't believe you have SMS free mobiles!

    cheers, Paul

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    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    I believe I have received texts from someone with a government phone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lumpy95 View Post
    Interestingly enough, I have never received any such notification BUT I didn't sign up for the "My account" online. I assume that SSA " My Account" figures that if you can sign in on a computer, you have a cell phone with a texting plan.
    I have been using computers since the mid-70's. I have had a prepaid cell phone, not a smartphone, for about three years. I do not use texting as I have a lot of trouble with the phone keyboard entering text. However I have just bought a smartphone where texting is much easier. Still I think SSA should offer an alternate method of checking security. My SSA office is about two miles away. I have visited it once since I turned 65 some 20 years ago.

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