Can't Create SS Account - Security Questions Mismatch

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pennywise
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Can't Create SS Account - Security Questions Mismatch

Post by pennywise » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:06 am

We've encountered an odd problem, wondering if anyone can enlighten me on why. My husband turned 65 in September and is retiring in December. Although he will then be covered for health insurance under my policy at work, we were told he should apply for Medicare Part A now and apply for the other sections once I retire and he is no longer covered by that method.

He has been trying to create his social security account online which a prerequisite to applying for Medicare online. But he is getting asked very strange and unsettling credit related questions to confirm his identity. One example: 'Your credit record indicates you may have taken out a mortgage loan in February 2018" (which he did not) from one of the following financial institutions followed by a list of banks he has never dealt with. The next question asks about an auto loan he never got etc. He has dutifully responded with the option "None of the above" to every question since they are all completely unrelated to him, resulting in being locked out temporarily a couple of times and last night locked out permanently.

What's happening here? Has someone stolen his identity/Social Security number? Are these questions somehow randomly created with no connection to the person? It's pretty frustrating, mystifying and indeed worrisome. Not to mention that to get the online system unlocked I suppose we either have to make a physical appointment to go to Social Security and since we live in Miami, anyone who's dealt with any administrative agency in the 305 just felt a cold chill of terror at that statement, or try to do something by phone.

I set up my account with no problems so this one has us stumped.

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HueyLD
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Re: Can't Create SS Account - Security Questions Mismatch

Post by HueyLD » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:11 am

Is his credit frozen? That would be a problem.

If he simply cannot sign up, he should then make an appointment with the SSA for in person help. The SSA employees are very professional and nice.

jebmke
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Re: Can't Create SS Account - Security Questions Mismatch

Post by jebmke » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:02 am

HueyLD wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:11 am
Is his credit frozen? That would be a problem.

If he simply cannot sign up, he should then make an appointment with the SSA for in person help. The SSA employees are very professional and nice.
My wife and I both had to do this because of our credit freezes. In our case, it was quick and easy - no appointment required. We had to go in and provide identification. Then they mailed us a temporary password to get in.

OP - I'd also suggest pulling a credit report from all the agencies and checking for errors.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

cas
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Re: Can't Create SS Account - Security Questions Mismatch

Post by cas » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:26 am

jebmke wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:02 am
OP - I'd also suggest pulling a credit report from all the agencies and checking for errors.
OP - The behavior you describe about asking only questions that aren't relevant and all have a "none of the above" answer is a common complaint when people try to get their credit report online (and are then refused online access due to correctly answering "none of the above" for all questions). When the person manages to get their credit report, typically there is nothing amiss on it - it is just a faulty questioning mechanism by the credit reporting agencies.

SS hires the credit reporting agencies to provide the security questions for them, so I would highly suspect it is the same issue showing up. (Or it could have something to do with credit being frozen, if your husband's credit is frozen.)

So I wouldn't worry too much about credit fraud, but it would still be advisable to go pull a credit report and make sure nothing odd is on there. https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action )

Note: If you the credit reporting agency shows this same "none of the above" behavior when you try to get your credit report, then refuses to give your credit report to you online, it will show you a screen claiming that you have to snail mail in all sorts of sensitive information in order to get your report. This claim is generally false: just go to this page ( https://www.annualcreditreport.com/gett ... rts.action ) scroll down to where it tells you how to get your credit report by a phone request, call the phone number listed, and go through the automated process. It will likely then happily snail mail your report to the address it has listed for you. (This could be a problem if you have recently moved and the address hasn't been updated.)

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HueyLD
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Re: Can't Create SS Account - Security Questions Mismatch

Post by HueyLD » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:45 am

I pull annual credit report from each of the big three every year (or one every four months).

It has been a "hit or miss" every time. I always answer the questions very slowly and double or triple check the answers. But I am diverted to snail mail about 1/3 of the time. Very frustrating.

And it is not unusual to have to answer "none of the above" for the vast majority or all the questions. It appears to be a risky design of security questions. I guess a hacker can just answer "none of the above" for all questions and may get into my credit file.

pennywise
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Re: Can't Create SS Account - Security Questions Mismatch

Post by pennywise » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:04 am

jebmke wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:02 am

My wife and I both had to do this because of our credit freezes. In our case, it was quick and easy - no appointment required. We had to go in and provide identification. Then they mailed us a temporary password to get in.

OP - I'd also suggest pulling a credit report from all the agencies and checking for errors.
Thanks, however as mentioned in my original post going to a Social Security office in Miami most assuredly will be neither quick nor easy. Hard to overstate how the Miami area combination of overworked government employees and the level of complexity, outright fraud, ignorance and sheer quantity of people trying to access service combine to create a nightmare that few outsiders can truly comprehend.

However it is looking like that's the only option-this morning the Social Security toll free phone line simply states there are no representatives available to make an appointment or to unlock a frozen application online (so getting a credit report will do us no good either; we can't even apply online any more). :oops:

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telemark
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Re: Can't Create SS Account - Security Questions Mismatch

Post by telemark » Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:22 am

I don't have a credit freeze, but I had a similar experience trying to open a social security account, also with questions about nonexistent auto loans (I have never taken out an auto loan). I resolved the problem by going into a local SSA office and showing a drivers license.

As to why this happens, my guess is that when Equifax can't find enough material to work with it just makes up random questions, but that's only a guess.

pennywise
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Re: Can't Create SS Account - Security Questions Mismatch

Post by pennywise » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:17 am

telemark wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:22 am
I don't have a credit freeze, but I had a similar experience trying to open a social security account, also with questions about nonexistent auto loans (I have never taken out an auto loan). I resolved the problem by going into a local SSA office and showing a drivers license.

As to why this happens, my guess is that when Equifax can't find enough material to work with it just makes up random questions, but that's only a guess.
Thank you-my husband also does not have a credit freeze but I suspect your guess is correct. He has a miniscule credit history; he only ever possessed one credit card 40+ years ago (Sears), never added any general use cards and when we married I put him on my USAA credit card as an authorized user. When we bought our retirement house a few years ago his credit score was high so maybe less was more in that category. However that could well be the cause of receiving nonsensical questions--he simply doesn't have enough credit from whichto build robust security questions!

We are going to the SS office tomorrow, planning to arrive well before it opens along with plenty of reading material and snacks. Hopefully we will get this taken care of in one visit that entails <8 hours although I'm not optimistic :wink: .

diy60
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Re: Can't Create SS Account - Security Questions Mismatch

Post by diy60 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:38 pm

pennywise wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:17 am
We are going to the SS office tomorrow, planning to arrive well before it opens along with plenty of reading material and snacks. Hopefully we will get this taken care of in one visit that entails <8 hours although I'm not optimistic :wink: .
I had the "none of the above" issue as well, which first showed up trying to file my state taxes online, and most recently registering for an SS online account. I ended up going to my nearby SS office. It was about a 5 to 6 hour wait, actual time with the rep took about 10 mins. Beware, at least it was my experience, the SS rep tried several times to get me to sign up for benefits. If I ever have to go into the SS office again it will only be thru an appointment. Good luck.

RetiredAL
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Re: Can't Create SS Account - Security Questions Mismatch

Post by RetiredAL » Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:48 pm

PennyWise,

If they are using the Credit Bureaus for validation, those bureaus can suffer from all kinds of data maladies.

Ever since my elderly Dad made me the trustee of his trust, Experian and Equifax won't allow me to access my credit report on-line stating they can't validate my address. Seems likely that they just assume the last address they found is your current address, in this case that would be my Dad's, thus rejecting my real address of 45 yrs. Do those two bureaus mess up with vacation homes too? Do note that TransUnion did handle this correctly, noting that I had multiple alternate addresses.

As others have said, make an appointment with a real SS Office and get it straighten out. Bad people like to sign up for other people's SS logons to steal SS payments. You don't want to leave that door available to them.

Lexi
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Re: Can't Create SS Account - Security Questions Mismatch

Post by Lexi » Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:04 pm

SSA gets the questions from a Credit Bureau. I don’t believe the credit bureaus make questions up but they are incompetent. We have had one merge my identity with someone else and the same thing with my husband’s. The strange questions may well result from another person who has no idea either. Pulling a credit report should show this. Unfortunately, you have to straighten it out by telling them the errors. Something as clear as two different SSNs does not alert them.

In the meanwhile, go to SSA in person and get the social security record straight.

rgs92
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Re: Can't Create SS Account - Security Questions Mismatch

Post by rgs92 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:50 am

Those types of strange questions are used by many institutions (public and private) to verify your identity.
The technique is to use your name and social security number and do a search on your history from all sorts of public sources.
These are databases that you have to pay to use and not readily available, so they would be difficult to use by someone impersonating you.

They find all sorts of facts about past addresses, employers, loans, etc.
Then they ask you tricky multiple-choice question based on this info that only you would know.

If you are who you are, it's normally pretty easy to answer the questions. If you just answer "none of the above" to most of them, you will be rejected. Just take the quiz and you will be fine.

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telemark
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Re: Can't Create SS Account - Security Questions Mismatch

Post by telemark » Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:37 am

I took the test twice, and answered "none of the above" to every single question, because any other answer would have been wrong.

inbox788
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Re: Can't Create SS Account - Security Questions Mismatch

Post by inbox788 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:16 am

Not SS, but I've often failed these type of test for credit card and other similar uses. They've got garbage data in their database, so I can't answer questions about my own credit. I'm probably batting less than .500 on these, so if I tried the SS, I'd expect to fail. A call to customer service often bypasses this Bambosh Silliness.

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