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View Diary: Data Grab? Experian now controls web access to Social Security Admin (322 comments)

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  •  I hope that your information is correct. But if (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, tardis10, triv33

    what the diarists wrote about this system is correct, we should demand that it be improved ASAP.

    Don't know what's worse--dealing with the often rude and/or inefficient customer service reps, or going to our local office with its Swat Team-looking police guards at the door (that is serious folks--couldn't believe my eyes when I visited the office last year, to help a relative).

    This is particularly irksome since the Administration had our annual hard copy Social Security benefit statements 'cut off.'  Mr. Mollie and I were supposed to receive one in 2012, and we're still waiting for them.

    I'll be calling these folks today, for sure.  When I get a good number, I'll post it here for everyone else.

    Mollie

    “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

    by musiccitymollie on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:48:13 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Yes it is (0+ / 0-)

      1. My information is first hand and it is correct. The diarist was speculating by his own admission.

      2. You should still demand the system be improved ASAP. But the problem is that Experian's authentication system is too obtuse, or too error-prone. The problem is NOT a violation of your private information (Experian gains no access to SSA's data about you).

      3. SSA receives hundred if not thousands of threats every year. Employees have been attacked. That is why they have armed guards--and video surveillance--at every office. An office in Arizona was just recently bombed (with no damage to life or major property damage thankfully). Sixteen Social Security employees dies in the bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma City. So they may be rude and inefficient but they also put their lives on the line to serve the public.

      4. SSA will eventually offer many more online services than just an electronic version of the Social Security Statement. For now though you can get an equivalent estimate of your benefit using the the online retirement estimator.
      http://www.ssa.gov/...

      the login procedure is not the same as the one being discussed in this diary.

      You can get a copy of the information in the statement at your local field office.

      •  Sorry, but I don't believe I'm "mistaken" (4+ / 0-)

        Quoting Experian's press release, to access the SS site, an person:

        " must be able to provide information about themselves that matches information already on file with Social Security"
        The # of bedrooms in your house or your old auto plate #s are NOT "on file with Social Security". Directly stating that they use information already on file with Social Security implies they have access to SS files. The questions they ask are from their credit files, I know this after answering them to obtain my "free" report to keep track of their errors.

        Either Experian is mistaken in their PR about the service they provide to Social Security or they are simply using their own data to verify identity - again, NOT what they state.  

        If they are only using their credit history data to verify identity - this is also of concern to us.  What about people who have little credit history - or some older people who have NO credit history? Not as rare as you'd think.

        If we somehow assume that Experian is able to maintain an internal "firewall" on the data they access from SS with respect to their own files; who would possibly think this would be error free? If you have had ANY direct experience with Experian, you know how poor their records can be.

        Ever tried to CALL Experian to deal with problems or get THEIR errors fixed? Their mistakes happen instantly - you're lucky if you get things fixed within 6 weeks and the burden of proof is on you. Further, this is only the information that you have access to: ever try to protest your Credit Score? Do you think you'll be able to fix errors in their new "identity security" product? New products are conveniently NOT directy covered by consumer protection laws.

        I stand by my deductions, and I retain my concerns about turning over "security checks" to a private vendor that has shown itself prone to outrageous and persistent errors and has poor accountability and responsiveness to customers.

        "Curiouser and curiouser!"

        by TechBob on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 02:41:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What you think but don't know is the problem (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          2dot

          First, You go to SSA's website and say you want to activate your account. You tell them who you are. First they check their records to see if you exist. I suspect if you give them a fake SSN at this stage you get dumped out or something.

          Second, SSA communicates to Experian that some guy named John Q. Public from Jerkwater, PA, wants to access our site. IS this guy really JOhn Q. Public from Jerkwater.

          Third, the Experian screen comes up. They ask you questions to match against data they already have on John Q. Public from Jerkwater. If he is not already in their database, I assume you get kicked out. If your answers match theirs they send SSA a yes.

          Fourth, SSA gives you login and password credentials and you have an account. You have no further contact with Experian when accessing the SSA site.

          What information did SSA pass to Experian? Your name and address. Maybe date of birth. How the hell else does Experian know who to verify? And if Experian doesn't already have this information about you then their service is clearly of no use to SSA. (the reason SSA is using someone to do their verification is because SSA does not have reliable current information on your place of residence).

          Does this count as Experian having it's hooks in SSA data? I do not see how that is the case. Your SSA data is your name attached to an  SSN, and includes your earnings history, your employer, your tax contribution history and if you are a beneficiary-- all the information on your application, and your benefit payments. This the stuff that SSA guards with its life. It does not guard your name and address. SSA does not give Experian your SSN, even tough there is zero chance Experian wouldn't have it in their records if you have any credit history at all. They don't get it from SSA, they get it from financial institutions.

          So SSA and Experian exchange a list of names and addresses and a yes or no on verification. That is a far, far cry from Experian peeking into the Master Beneficiary record which is clearly what you are insinuating in this diary.

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