Thursday, May 19, 2022

Can My Social Security Number Be Blocked

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Checking Your Credit Score

Your Social Security number is probably not suspended you’re being scammed

The most common way to catch unauthorized activity is by checking your credit information. If an account appears that you did not initiate, someone is using your Social Security number.

You can check your credit score using a third-party service like or check with your credit card company to see if they have such a feature.

If youre applying for a new line of credit and get turned down, this could mean that there are fraudulent accounts or activities that are affecting your credit score.

Fraudulent Threatening Phone Calls

When the National Council on Aging announced its “Scams to Watch Out For” in 2019, bogus phone calls related to Social Security benefits topped the list. The Federal Trade Commission says the number of such calls and their financial impact is growing exponentially.

The calls often involve peopleor robotic voicespretending to be from the Social Security Administration who try to get your Social Security number or demand money, according to the FTC. The agency warns that callers sometimes use spoofing techniques to make the genuine Social Security hotline number appear on the recipients caller ID screen. The caller may also identify themselves using the name of an actual SSA official.

The SSA says the language used in these calls has become increasingly threatening in recent years. The caller typically states that due to improper or illegal activity with the persons Social Security number or account, they will be arrested or face other legal action unless they call a particular phone number to address the issue.

The tone of such calls is itself an indicator that they are fraudulent. The SSA does contact some recipients by phone, but theyre almost always people who have current business with the agency. And an SSA employee;will never;threaten you for information; they will not state that you face potential arrest or other legal action if you fail to provide information, the agency says.;In cases the call is;fraudulent.

Freezing Your Social Security Number

If you suspect your identity has been endangered, you must take action. One of the first things to do is freeze your Social Security number, according to the writers at E-Verify.

First, you’ll need to create an account on E-Verify, which is managed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Once you do, follow the prompts to freeze your SSN. Then, file a police report. Immediately after freezing, contact the authorities. Having the report filed protects you from further harm and opens an investigation.

Next, you’ll want to contact the three credit bureaus to report your SSN as stolen. These are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Once you have taken these three crucial steps, monitor activity on all accounts closely and follow up with any investigations. You may also consider hiring a private agency to help undo any damage and restore normal activity. You can keep your SNN frozen, and some people do out of an abundance of caution. It’s free to freeze and then unfreeze the number when you want to open a new account.

Also Check: When Can I Claim My Social Security Benefits

Can I Get A New Social Security Number

The short answer is yes, but its a long, tedious, and often very expensive process. Having helped roughly 50 people go through the process , Dixon calls it the beyond nuclear option..

Sometimes people will choose to walk away from their old lives because they fear for their safety, says Dixon. If you want to keep your life and stop the theft, you want to try and freeze your credit first and explore every other option make it your part-time job to stay on top of your credit issues.

If you decide to get a new SSN, Dixon says to contact an attorneypreferably one that specializes in identity theftand prepare as much documentation as possible. Not only is that number linked to your financial accounts, but its also linked to your educational institutions, your loans, and certification boards for careers like teacher and doctor.

Even if youre able to get a new number, that information will need to be crosswalked to your new number to ensure that you can still prove your college education or job certification.

So, while you can get a new SSN, its considered a nuclear option, and it can likely be avoided if you take care now to keep your data as secure as possible.

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  • A new Social Insurance Number does not protect you from fraud and identity theft.

    A new Social Insurance Number is not a fresh start or protection from fraud or identity theft.

    If someone else uses your old Social Insurance Number and the business does not check the persons identity, you may have to prove you were not involved in the fraud or pay the impostors debts.

  • A new Social Insurance Number is a complex affair.

    The Government can only share your new Social Insurance Number with the federal departments and agencies that use your Social Insurance Number.

    This means that it would be up to you to provide your new Social Insurance Number to all the financial institutions, creditors, pension providers, recent and current employers, and any other organizations with which you shared your old Social Insurance Number.

    Not doing or failing to do so properly risks not receiving benefits or leaves the door open to subsequent fraud or identity theft.

  • You double your monitoring efforts with two Social Insurance Numbers instead of one.

    A new Social Insurance Number does not erase your old Social Insurance Number. You would therefore need to monitor your accounts and credit reports for both Social Insurance Numbers on a regular and ongoing basis. This would put burden on you. Numerous Social Insurance Numbers multiply the risk of fraud.

    The best way to protect yourself if you are affected by a data breach:

  • Recommended Reading: How To Calculate Social Security Benefits At Age 70

    How To Get A Replacement Social Security Card

    To get a Social Security replacement card, visit the SSAs My Social Security account website. Youll be taken through the steps of requesting a replacement card. Keep in mind that you can use this online site to request a replacement card if you:

  • Are a U.S. citizen age 18 years or older with a U.S. mailing address;
  • Are not requesting a name change or any other change to your card; and
  • Have a valid, current driver’s license or a state-issued identification card from most U.S. states or the District of Columbia. The following states are not currently eligible:
  • Alabama

    To apply for a replacement Social Security card, either online or via mail, you’ll need one acceptable personal identification document. By and large, your birth certificate will suffice, although the SSA will also accept the following proof of identity:

    • A U.S. hospital record of your birth.
    • A religious record indicating your date of birth .
    • A current valid U.S. passport.
    • A final adoption decree .

    There are several exceptions if you cant get the needed identification documents, or dont have them at all. The SSA will accept other forms of identification that show your legal name and biographical data. Acceptable options include a U.S. military I.D. card, a U.S. Certificate of Naturalization, employee identity card, a certified copy of a medical record , a health insurance card, Medicaid card, or school identity card.

    What To Do If You Lose Your Social Security Card

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    • Your Social Security number can be valuable information for identity thieves
    • Consider placing a security freeze or fraud alert on your credit reports if your Social Security card is lost
    • If you know your Social Security number has been stolen, there are some additional steps you can take

    Your Social Security number is a valuable piece of information to identity thieves. Its a key element of your identity and is also linked to taxes and credit information. And except in limited circumstances, it cant be changed. Thats why its so worrisome to have your card lost or stolen.;

    Here are some steps to take for a lost or stolen Social Security card:

    1.;;;Consider placing a fraud alert or a security freeze on your credit reports or locking them. With an initial fraud alert, potential lenders and creditors are encouraged to take additional steps to verify your identity, such as contacting you by phone, before extending new credit. A fraud alert lasts for one year and can be renewed. Fraud alerts are free. Contact one of the three nationwide credit bureaus Equifax, Experian or TransUnion to request a fraud alert, and that bureau will notify the other two.;

    Options for locking your credit report may also be available from the three nationwide credit bureaus. Learn more about fraud alerts, security freezes and credit report locks.

    You might also consider calling the Social Security Administration at 772-1213 to report the lost card.

    Read Also: How Is Social Security Pension Calculated

    What You Need To Know

    But all of these are scams. Here’s what you need to know:

    • The SSA will never call and ask for your Social Security number. It won’t ask you to pay anything. And it won’t call to threaten your benefits.
    • Your caller ID might show the SSA’s real phone number , but that’s not the real SSA calling. Computers make it easy to show any number on caller ID. You can’t trust what you see there.
    • Never give your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you. Don’t confirm the last four digits. And don’t give a bank account or credit card number – ever – to anybody who contacts you asking for it.
    • Remember that anyone who tells you to wire money, pay with a gift card, or send cash is a scammer. Always. No matter who they say they are.

    If you’re worried about a call from someone who claims to be from the Social Security Administration, get off the phone. Then call the real SSA at 800-772-1213 .

    Tips For The Best Identity Protection

    Social Security scam calls 2019: Can your social security number get suspended?

    The best solution for a stolen identity is to prevent it from happening to you in the first place. You should always monitor your credit closely. You can accomplish this by enrolling in a service that alerts you to any changes or activity associated with your Social Security number.

    In addition, check all of your current accounts frequently for suspicious activity. Be very cautious when releasing your Social Security number; never give it out over the phone or email unless you initiated the contact with a known entity. Be skeptical of requests for your information. Many people become victims of identity theft after falling for a scam.

    Be suspicious of anyone contacting you, even if they say they’re from a company you trust. In addition, be careful to shred all your mail containing account information or other personal data. Check your mailbox, and be sure to shred all credit offers. Whatever you do, always safeguard all personal information, and take action as soon as you suspect that something is wrong.

    Also Check: How To Start Social Security Retirement

    Act Now The Deadline To Give Up Your Ssn Is Coming Soon

    Although a large amount of Americans have given their SSN number to the banks, it seems that more than 40 percent, despite receiving letters from the bank have not or could not give this information.

    Perhaps they are not aware of their American background, due to birth, American parents or a green card. The clock is ticking, these clients will lose their bank account and services offered if they do not give their ;to their bank.

    Possibly for these clients this is a last warning before the bank closes the account and their services.

    Drawbacks Of Locking Your Ssn

    It might not make sense to lock your Social Security number if you dont have reason to believe that your identity has been compromised or that youre at serious risk of identity theft.;

    • When your Social Security number is locked, you cant use it either
    • You cant use it to apply for a new job
    • You cant use it to apply for credit
    • Potential lenders wont be able to access your credit report or credit score

    Also Check: How Do I Get My 1099 For Social Security

    How To Lock Your Ssn

    To lock your Social Security number, visit the U.S. governments myE-Verify website and complete the necessary steps online. Youll need to enter your personal data, take a quiz, enter document data, and then get your results, says Katie Gampietro Burke, CFP and founder of Wealth by Empowerment. The Self Lock service is free and lasts for one year, she says, and participants will be given the opportunity to renew 30 days prior to the expiration date. The website also offers instructions to unlock your number at any time.

    In addition, Adam Funk suggests writing to the three major credit bureaus Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax to lock your Social Security number. There may be a nominal fee of about $10 to process the request.

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    The rise of technology has brought new threats to your personal data and its security. Identity theft is a crime that strikes at the heart of a modern citizens wealth, employment, social services, and more. Our identity specifically, the electronically-encoded identity that serves as the gateway to our bank accounts, to our home security systems, to our e-mail and network resources can be stolen by unscrupulous people and used for crimes great and small.

    At best, an identity thief may use part of your identity as the launchpad for some phony persona that they are using to commit acts of fraud and light scams. At worst, they can drain your bank accounts, destroy your credit rating, and wipe out your hard-earned retirement benefits. Identity theft is not a minor crime in 2018, more than 60 million Americans reported that they were affected by identity theft.

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    How To Keep Other People From Knowing Your Social Security Number

    When the Social Security number was first devised, skeptics warned it would become a national identification number, used by non-governmental organizations to keep track of people.

    That hasn’t completely happened, but many businesses and organizations do ask for Social Security numbers when they shouldn’t. Such practices make it harder for individuals to be sure their SSNs don’t get into the wrong hands.

    The fact that companies regularly ask for SSNs is a “real challenge for individuals,” said Suzanne Barber, director of the Center for Identity at the University of Texas at Austin.

    As a general rule, if the Internal Revenue Service isn’t involved, you can refuse to provide your Social Security number. But while government agencies still have to provide services if you don’t hand over your SSN, private businesses don’t have to.

    That means consumers can be strong-armed into disclosing their SSNs, said Bryan Hjelm, vice-president of product and marketing at CSID, an identity-theft-protection provider in Austin, Texas.

    In such situations, Barber said, it might be best to ask the business why a Social Security number is necessary.

    “Ask them, ‘What other data could help you feel confident about my identity without giving my SSN?'” Barber said. “If you want to get tough, ask, ‘Are you willing to ensure that you will cover liability and even my losses in time and money if the SSN you collect is compromised?'”

    What Can You Do To Prevent This From Going Bad

    As penance for its screw-up, Equifax is offering a year of credit monitoring and fraud alerts, which is something you should really be doing already anyway, and it shouldnt stop after just a year. The individual bureaus offer their own services, but you can also get a more overarching plan from a third-party like LifeLock or Identity Force. They each come with their own advantages and disadvantages ranging from price to coverage options, but the good ones will provide assistance in the case someone actually uses your identity for something nefarious.

    Dixon suggests making an account with the Social Security Administration before someone else is able to do so using your information. Setting up an account only takes a few minutes, but will require that you have some information on-hand. During the registration process, it may ask you about things like active loans you have, monthly payment amounts, or even older accounts from a couple years ago. Failing to provide the correct info locks you out for 24 hours, so you only get one chance per day.

    Recommended Reading: Should You Give Someone Your Social Security Number

    Visit Identitytheftgov To Get A Recovery Plan

    You can visit to report identity theft and, more importantly, set up a recovery plan, or you can call 877-438-4338 to do so. Both will guide you through a process that includes:

  • Placing a fraud alert and obtaining your credit reports
  • Reporting the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission
  • Filing a report with your local police department
  • Guard Your Card And Protect Your Personal Information

    If Asked For Social Security Number, Keep These 3 Things In Mind
    • To help protect against identity theft, Medicare has mailed new Medicare cards to people with Medicare. Your new card has a new Medicare Number thats unique to you, instead of your Social Security Number.
    • Dont share your Medicare Number or other personal information with anyone who contacts you by phone, email, or by approaching you in person, unless youve given them permission in advance.
    • Medicare, or someone representing Medicare, will only call and ask for personal information in these situations:
    • A Medicare health or drug plan can call you if youre already a member of the plan. The agent who helped you join can also call you.
    • A customer service representative from 1-800-MEDICARE can call you if youve called and left a message or a representative said that someone would call you back.
    • Only give personal information like your Medicare Number to doctors, insurers acting on your behalf, or trusted people in the community who work with Medicare like your State Health Insurance Assistance Program .
    • Be familiar with;how Medicare uses your personal information. If you join a Medicare plan, the plan will let you know how it will use your personal information.

    If someone calls you and asks for your Medicare Number or other personal information, hang up and;call us at 1-800-MEDICARE . TTY:;1-877-486-2048.

    If you suspect identity theft, or feel like you gave your personal information to someone you shouldn’t have, contact the Federal Trade Commission.

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