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My SSN was Replaced with Asterisks in my IRIS Inquiry

Published 05/07/2018 10:37 AM   |    Updated 05/29/2018 02:35 PM

Why was my SSN replaced with asterisks in my IRIS Inquiry?

General Information

The VA firewall security software checks incoming traffic for Social Security Number (SSN) strings that include hyphens and/or spaces, a total of 11 character spaces. If the firewall software finds your IRIS inquiry submission or update and a string matching the 11 character definition, it automatically replaces your SSN with asterisks.

What This Means to You

If you include a SSN in either your IRIS inquiry’s Question field (on our online form) or email reply (inquiry update) to the VA, and that SSN includes dashes or spaces, the firewall will automatically replace it with asterisks as shown below:

  • Numbers + Dashes: *********** – will display as: ***********
  • Numbers + Spaces: *********** – will display as: ***********

However, if the SSN is entered contains numbers only (NO spaces or dashes), it will NOT be replaced with asterisks:

  • Correct format: 111223333


Action to Take if SSN has been Replaced with Asterisks in a Current Inquiry

Type your SSN using numbers only (see correct format above) when replying to your IRIS inquiry.

Going Forward

Be sure to use the numbers only format (see correct format above) for all IRIS inquiries.