What Is Social Security Fraud
Fraud involves obtaining something of value through willful misrepresentation. In the context of our programs, fraud exists when a person with intent to defraud makes, or causes to be made, a false statement, or misrepresents, conceals, or fails to disclose a material fact for use in determining rights under the Social Security Act. Information is material when it could influence our determination on entitlement or eligibility to benefits under the Act.
Examples of fraud include:
- Making false statements on claims.
- Concealing facts or events that affect eligibility for benefits.
- Misusing benefits by a representative payee.
- Failing to notify the agency of the death of a beneficiary and continuing to receive the deceased persons benefits.
- Buying or selling Social Security cards.
- Filing claims under another persons Social Security number .
- Scamming people by impersonating our employees.
- Bribing our employees.
- Misusing grant or contract funds.
Contact Id Theft Services
- Equifax Canada:
- TransUnion of Canada:
Both companies have procedures to deal with ID theft and will put a warning on your file. They can review copies of your credit record and report any false information.
Call Service Canada at if your SIN card has been lost or stolen, or you believe someone is using it.
Call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at . The information you give will help law enforcement agencies in possible investigations.
If your debit or credit card is lost or stolen, call the card issuer as soon as you notice the card is missing.
If your credit card was used after it was reported lost or stolen, your maximum liability is $50.
If your lost or stolen card is used at an ATM and requires a PIN, you may be liable for all losses. Keep your PIN private.
How Does A Child Get Their Identity Stolen
Even though your children arent opening credit cards in their name, their Social Security numbers are used so much it certainly seems like they are. School records, summer camps, doctors offices, summer jobs, extracurricular activities more often than not, these require you to reveal Social Security numbers and other identifying data.
Just like adults, children are also at risk of having their personal information revealed during a data breach. In fact, Hawaii-based attorney Brandee Faria says that many children had their identities compromised the same time adults did during this summers Equifax breach. And, although she is seeking justice for her victims, no monetary amount will fix their problems overnight.
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Identity Theft Is One Major Reason Today
Your Social Security number, a unique identifier issued by the Social Security Administration , is meant to stay with you for life and never change. But there are instances where the SSA makes exceptions. These include times when your safety is endangered or you are a victim of identity theft. Here is why some people change their Social Security numbers and how to go about it if you wish to.
Why Change A Social Security Number
The SSA generally discourages people from changing their Social Security number . But like many other rules, there can be exceptions. For example, the SSA may issue a new SSN if you are able to prove that using your existing number will cause you harm, such as in cases of domestic abuse or harassment. The agency also reissues Social Security numbers in certain instances when someone is a victim of identity theft.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that even if you get a brand-new SSN, it doesn’t mean you have wiped the slate clean. The SSA normally keeps records under the original SSN, and other government agencies, such as your state department of motor vehicles and the Internal Revenue Service do, as well. That also applies to some businesses, such as credit card companies, that maintain files on you.
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How To Change Your Social Security Number
To change your SSN for any reason, you must apply in person at a local Social Security office. You can find its address and phone number using the Social Security Office Locator.
After providing a statement explaining why you need a new number, you must provide credible, third-party documentation of your reason, including medical, legal, or police documents regarding identity theft, abuse, or harassment.
You will need to fill out a new Form SS-5, the same one that you may have filled out to apply for a Social Security number and card in the first place. It asks a series of questions, including whether you or someone acting on your behalf ever filed for or received a Social Security number and card before and, if so, under what name.
In addition, you must provide documentation of your U.S. citizenship or legal residency, age, identity, and current SSN. If you changed your name legally in the past, you’ll also need to provide supporting documentation of that.
How To Report Identity Theft And Help Stop It
If your investigation turns up any signs of identity theft, take immediate steps to address it:
- File a report with the Federal Trade Commission at IdentityTheft.gov.
- Report the theft to your state’s motor vehicles department.
- Request a fraud alert with all three credit reporting agencies. With a fraud alert in place, parties checking your credit will be asked to verify your identity before processing your application for credit.
- You may also request a with each of the credit bureaus to prevent companies from performing credit checks needed to open new accounts in your name. Just remember that a credit freeze also blocks companies from accessing your credit report for legitimate applications you’ve submitted until you “thaw” it.
- Monitor your credit reports, driving record and background check regularly for new signs of identity fraud.
- Consider identity theft protection. Although it may be too late to prevent your information from being stolen this time, identity theft monitoring can make it easier to keep an eye on your accounts and control access to your credit file going forward.
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What Should I Do If My License Is Stolen
A drivers license can be stolen in a physical theft or the license number can be compromised in a data breach. In each case, there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
Your License Was Stolen
- If your physical license is lost or stolen, report the loss to the police at once. Get the appropriate report and keep it in a safe place. Ask their advice on other steps appropriate to your jurisdiction.
- Contact your states department of motor vehicles and report the stolen license. They will tell you how to replace the license and may offer advice on protecting yourself from fraud.
- Consider placing a fraud alert or a security freeze on your credit accounts. A fraud alert requires creditors to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name. A freeze will stop all access to your report, which means that you will have to lift the freeze if you want to apply for credit.
Your License Number Was Compromised Digitally
- If your license number is compromised in a data breach, you will probably be notified by the company or agency whose data was compromised. They will give you instructions and advice that may help you protect yourself. They may offer you identity theft protection or other services.
- Inform your state Department of Motor Vehicles that your license number has been compromised.
What To Keep An Eye Out For On Your Credit Report
When reviewing your credit report, keep an eye out for incorrect names or other incorrect personal information. For example, if you are a junior or have a similar name to a family member, make sure that none of that family members accounts are mistakenly listed on your credit report. Take a look at the list of accounts opened in your name and any inquiries that have been made to ensure that nothing has been opened or applied for without your knowledge.
In addition, be sure to check your credit and debit card transactions daily to ensure that you recognize all charges that have been made. If you notice anything suspicious, contact your financial institution immediately to close out that card, get a new number and add other protections to the account, such as a password. The sooner you notice any fraudulent activity and notify your financial institution, the more potential damage that you can prevent.
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What Is An Identity Theft Report
An Identity Theft Report helps you fix your bills and your credit report. Your Identity Theft Report tells your creditors that you should not have to pay for what the identity thief spent.
You get an Identity Theft Report when you report a problem to IdentityTheft.gov. This is your statement about what happened. It lists what accounts are not yours and what charges you did not make.
Apply For A New Ssn As A Last Resort
If you believe youve done everything you can and someone is still using your SSN, you may need to request a new number from the SSA. If you decide to apply for a new number, you will need to prove your identity, age, and U.S. citizenship or immigration status. You will also need to provide evidence that someone is using your old number. The SSA booklet Your Social Security Number and Card explains the application process.
Bear in mind that a new SSN may not solve all your problems. Think about all the government agencies, banks, credit reporting companies, and others that already have and use your old number.
Once you receive a new SSN, do not use your old number again. Make sure your new number is reported to all agencies that will need it and that those agencies know you no longer use your old number.
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Safeguard Your Social Security Number From Social Security Identity Theft
Your Social Security card is the most valuable little piece of paper you will ever own. And like all valuables, there are thieves trying to get to it. Most forms of identity theft have the end goal of attaining someones Social Security number, so its wise to prime yourself on the different types of Social Security identity theft and how they could affect you.
The general definition of identity theft is someone stealing your personal information to use to their advantage. Social Security identity theft goes deeper than that, as the personal information stolen is your all-important Social Security number. That gives the thieves access to a plethora of ways to ruin your credit.
Know The Warning Signs For Phishing Scams
When you receive an email asking for personal information or prompting you for a log-in, always check the to line to make sure the email is actually coming from the domain that it claims. You can also preview the links before clicking them. You may also be able to identify a phishing email if it has a lot of typos or grammatical errors, as legitimate companies tend to proofread their emails before sending them out. If you receive an email you believe to be a phishing scam, always consider it might be an identity theft scam, so simply go ahead and delete it.
Use The Id Theft Affidavit
Creditors may ask you to fill out fraud affidavits. The Federal Trade Commissions ID Theft Affidavit is accepted by the credit bureaus and by most major creditors. Send copies of the completed form to creditors where the thief opened accounts in your name. Also send copies to creditors where the thief made charges on your account, to the credit bureaus, and to the police. The form is available on the FTC Web site at ww.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/resources/forms/affidavit.pdf. File a complaint of identity theft with the FTC. See their Web site at www.consumer.gov/idtheft The FTC keeps a database of identity theft cases that is used by many law enforcement agencies.
Other Reasons For Changing A Social Security Number
There are several other reasons that the SSA will issue a new number. For example, it may approve a change if similar numbers within a family unit cause confusion or if two identical numbers have been issued in error. If you have a religious objection to a certain number or sequence of numbers in your current SSN, you may also qualify for a change.
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Protect Your Computer And Mobile Devices
- Choose complex passwords with a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.
- For more information, visit the Tips for creating and managing your passwords page.
If You Are Contacted By A Debt Collector
Tell the debt collector that you are the victim of identity theft. Say that you dispute the validity of the debt. Say that you did not create the debt and are not responsible for it. Send the collector a follow-up letter saying the same things. Include a copy of your police report and of any documents youve received from the creditor. Write in your letter that you are giving notice to a claimant under California Civil Code section 1798.93, subsection that a situation of identity theft exists. Send the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested. If the debt collector is not the original creditor, be sure to send your letter within 30 days of receiving the collectors first written demand for payment.
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Protect Your Personal Information
Take the following precautionary measures to avoid becoming a victim of ID theft:
- Don’t give out your personal information online, by phone or by mail unless you’re the one who initiated the contact or transaction and you’re confident that the company or individual is trustworthy and will keep your personal information secure.
- For a complete list of the type of information ID thieves seek out, visit the Identity Theft and Identity Fraud web page.
How To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft:
- Citizens who take advantage of the FLHSMV automated renewal options, including renewal by phone, mail and the Internet, are reminded to shred or otherwise destroy their old licenses and ID cards when they receive the replacement license or card by mail. This will prevent identity thieves from stealing your personal information.
- Purchase a copy of your driving record annually to see if the FLHSMV shows tickets that were not issued to you just as you would review your credit report for fraudulent activity.
- Do not leave mail in your mailbox overnight, and stop your mail delivery if you are going to be away from home.
- Do not carry extra credit cards, your Social Security card, passport or birth certificate except when absolutely necessary. Install a locked mailbox at your residence or use a post office box to reduce the chance of mail theft.
- Pick up new checks at your bank.
- Do not leave paid bills in your mailbox for the postal carrier to pick up.
- Ask your financial institutions to add extra security protection to your account. Most will allow you to use an additional code when accessing your account.
- Protect your Social Security Number at all costs. Do not let merchants write your SSN on your checks. Request merchants to use other forms of identification.
- Never allow credit card numbers to be written on your checks.
- Do not use your birth date or mothers maiden name as PIN numbers or passwords.
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