Aug 21, 2014

Union Concerned About Online Services

     From a press release issued by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), a union which represents most Social Security employees:
The Social Security Administration has launched a new social media campaign that asks beneficiaries to plan for their ‘#Someday’ retirement dreams by registering for an account on the mySocialSecurity website but neglects to disclose that the website comes at the expense of face-to-face customer service and that it may open users to fraud.
“According to the Social Security Administration, fully one-third of the people attempting to access the website fail to successfully register,” said Witold Skwierczynski, President of the National Council of Social Security Field Operations Locals. “However, the website’s issues are more troubling than simply a poor customer experience.”
Skwierczynski attributed the high failure rate on the website to Experian Credit Corporation which is responsible for providing security for transactions on the site. Users must answer a series of complicated questions about their personal finances, distinguish between real and fake information, recall minute details of their credit history and have knowledge of their astrological sign.
It’s an overly cumbersome and difficult process to navigate and is also vulnerable to identity theft and fraud. An Experian subsidiary, as recently as 2013, was being investigated for either having lost or sold the same type of login information to a Vietnamese crime ring. Skwierczynski said that there is already evidence of identity theft and fraud at SSA, as the Office of Inspector General stated it received 37,000 reports from various sources concerning questionable changes to a beneficiary’s record.


Anonymous said...

"neglects to disclose that the website comes at the expense of face-to-face customer service and that it may open users to fraud."

1. Registering for MySSA does not preclude anyone from face-to-face service.

2. The type of fraud that is most prevalent is that "fraudsters" sign-up for NEW accounts using purloined personal information and then re-direct payments. The whole point of getting people to sign-up for an account is that it prevents someone else from fraudulently doing so. They are not having a problem with people stealing passwords for already established accounts.

3. Too many people have trouble signing up and it is due to the sometimes arcane screener questionnaire that goes through Experian. That said, it's a bit rich to complain about how hard it is for the real person to sign-up and then complain that there is a great vulnerability to identity thieves.

4. The status quo provides plenty of opportunities for fraud, theft and identification. It's not more secure.

Maybe when Witold loses his job to a robot he can work as a travel agent or bank teller.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it funny that the union complains about the level of security being too high? What is unknown is how many of the failed attempts were due issues ranging from simple user error to efforts to get information on another person or commit fraud. Security can be troublesome. When conducting disability interviews, I speak to people who can't remember their medical history for the previous year, but if they were at home completing their report online, they could easily check paperwork at home. The goal of online services is to give the public an option. Online services do work, both for public and private institutions and businesses. Does the union want to deny options to the public?

Anonymous said...

@ 11:33

All of this, especially numbers two and three.

Ol' Witold would whine if SSA gave each of its employees a block of platinum because, even though more valuable, it's heavier than the same sized block of gold.

Anonymous said...

Unions are concerned about their members(SSA employees).

MYSSA acounts will help many people in rural communities,like me,who do not have services that are found in cities,including a SSA office.

SSA is going broke or in decline. And the economy is unlikely to ever strongly support SSA programs again.

SSA could close more offices eliminating jobs such as security guards,service representatives, overpaid aljs,replacing with lower paid examiners/analyst and possibly other lower cost changes.

It will always need a certain number of claim representatives.

I prefer to have an option to talk to an actual person,but an enhanced myssa account may be a good substitute.

Anonymous said...

Funny. At this time, the Union (AFGE) is trying to block training for Authorizers in one PSC. That training would allow them to call potential beneficiaries and make appointments for them, offering greater face-to-face services.

Which is it Agatha, taking away face-to-face services or denying them the opportunity for an appointment?