Identity theft has been a problem for years. Practically everyone knows of someone who has had their debit or credit card number compromised at some point.
In the last few days, the latest news has been about the Equifax breach and the long-lasting implications of this fiasco.
In case you haven’t heard, here’s a quick explanation. Equifax is one of the top three credit reporting agencies in the United States, along with Experian and TransUnion. Unfortunately the company experienced a security breach that caused up to 143 million American’s information to possibly be exposed including names, addresses, Social Security numbers, birth dates, license numbers and credit card numbers. But is that the only risk?
What hasn’t been reported much on (at least that we’ve seen with the exception of an article or two) is the risk of a thief trying to file for someone else’s Social Security benefits. Let’s face it, if a thief has your name, address, social security number, and birthdate, would it be that hard to file for your benefits and have your check electronically deposited into a bank account they have set up using the same information? Ironically, the Social Security Administration uses Equifax to verify eligibility information for Retirement, Disability and SSI programs. *
So besides monitoring your accounts, what can you do to protect your social security from would-be thieves? We recommend monitoring your account on a monthly or every-other-month basis to make sure your benefits have not been compromised. We can’t imagine the red tape or lengths a retiree would have to go through to prove that the benefits being paid out wasn’t being paid to them.
If you haven’t explored if you were one of the millions affected by this breach, we also advise you to check by visiting this site and following the instructions. Additional tips to protect your information and credit can be found in this article by the Federal Trade Commission.
As always, if you have any questions regarding your retirement accounts, please do not hesitate contacting your Barber Financial Group Advisor Team at 913-393-1000 at the Lenexa office or 816-554-3736 for the Lee’s Summit office.
Investment advisory services offered through Barber Financial Group, Inc., an SEC Registered Investment Adviser.
The views expressed represent the opinion of Barber Financial Group an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information provided is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute investment, tax, or legal advice. Barber Financial Group does not accept any liability for the use of the information discussed. Consult with a qualified financial, legal, or tax professional prior to taking any action.