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Has My Social Security Number Been Stolen

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Steps you should take if your social security numbers stolen

The Social Security Administration publishes a useful booklet called “Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number.” In addition to basic protection tips, it provides information about what you should do if you believe your identity and SSN have been stolen or compromised.

The Social Security Administration closed all of its offices for in-person services in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its online services, however, remain available.

What Are You Liable For If Your Identity Is Stolen

You have limited liability for fraudulent debts caused by identity theft. Under most state laws, youre not responsible for any debt incurred on fraudulent new accounts opened in your name without your permission. Under federal law, the amount you have to pay for unauthorized use of your credit card is limited to $50.

How Do You Check To See If Someone Is Using Your Social Security Number

The FTC recommends following these additional steps if your Social Security number is being used by a cybercriminal:

  • If your information was exposed by a third-partys data breach, take advantage of their restoration offer, which should include free credit monitoring for at least a year. Or sign up for an identity protection plan that includes full-service expert restoration assistance. Alert the FTC immediately if you see any transactions or accounts you dont recognize.

  • You can freeze your credit to block any new accounts or lines of credit. Or you can place a fraud alert on your account to make it more difficult for anyone trying to use your stolen identity for financial gain.

  • File your taxes early. This way, the right tax return is processed and cybercriminals with your Social Security number wont be able to fraudulently file.

  • Check your credit report regularly to watch out for any new activity.

  • If someone is misusing your personal information, report your identity stolen here.

Safe browsing, friends! The internet should make life easier, more fun, and more productive. But identity theft is very real. Use caution and know what to look out for to protect your identity and personal information.

Also Check: Ial Security

What Is Identity Theft

Identity theft is when a cybercriminal steals your personal and/or financial information. This could be personal information like your birthdate, Social Security number, or email address and phone number. Or and even more dangerous when your financial information is stolen, giving someone access to your bank account, login information, or credit card numbers.

Identity theft is all too common. The Federal Trade Commission estimates as many as 9 million Americans have their identity stolen each year. With the rise of telehealth and other online experiences, this number is expected to grow. The resulting headache istime-consuming, costly, and stressful the average cost of resolving identity fraud was $1,343, and it can take weeks or even months to unravel.

Signs That Your Social Security Number Has Been Stolen

What To Do if Someone Has Your Social Security Number ...

There are a few red flags to watch for that can indicate someones gotten ahold of your SSN and used it. One sign is that your credit score drops without any plausible explanation. Another is that your bank account has mysterious charges or withdrawals. You also may see suspicious emails or mail arrive at your home.

Its important to take note of these occurrences and investigate them further, not write them off. You may find it helpful to sign up with a credit-monitoring program offered by one of the main credit bureaus to keep tabs on your score. Also, try to get into the habit of regularly checking your bank balances online and reviewing new transactions to ensure you were the one who made them.

Another popular scam happens when thieves steal someones SSN and use it to get a job or receive a paycheck. If this happens, you may start to receive mailed notices from the Internal Revenue Service . Its important to note that the IRS will never call you. If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, this is likely a scam, and you shouldnt divulge any personal information. You may, however, start to receive calls from credit agencies or debt collectors notifying you about accounts that are past due, and these may be legitimate calls. These fraudulent accounts may have been opened in your name without your knowledge.

Recommended Reading: How Much Would I Get On Social Security

Can Someone Steal Your Identity With Just Your Social Security Number

A thief with your Social Security number might use it to obtain additional sensitive information about you. Identity thieves can use your social security number and good credit to apply for further credit in your name. The Social Security Administration safeguards your social security number and maintains the confidentiality of your records. However, since your number is used to check your file when you apply for new jobs or insurance, it’s important that any company you work for or policy provider writes secure checks. If an employer fails to do so, you may not be hired because references would be needed to verify your work history.

In addition to which include information about all types of accounts such as mortgages, car loans, and personal loans, there are also consumer reports which include details about your employment history, property ownership, or any other private information that may have been released by your employers. These reports are available to creditors, insurers, job agencies, and many other organizations in order to make decisions about you. It’s important to keep in mind that while it is difficult to lose credit history, it is easy to get it. If you have problems keeping track of your personal information, consider investing in a data-storage system such as LastPass or 1Password. They will help you manage all your passwords across various websites.

What Is The Minimum Sentence For Identity Theft

Committing identity theft can lead to significant incarceration. Aggravated identity theft is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years, which can increase based on the severity of the crimes. In rare cases, first-time offenders that didnt inflict major harm can avoid jail time for identity theft.

Also Check: How Many On Social Security

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.

    Apply For A Replacement Social Security Number

    MY SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER GOT STOLEN!

    The Social Security Administration allows you to receive a new SSN under certain circumstances. One example is if youre in immediate danger or being threatened in a domestic abuse situation. Another is if your SSN has been stolen.

    To begin the process of obtaining a new SSN through the Social Security Administration, youll need to provide a written statement outlining what happened to you and why you need a new number. In addition to your statement, youll also need to provide legal documents backing up your statements these can include your police report.

    You will also need to fill out the SS-5 form. This is the same form you or your parents filled out when you were born or that you filled out when you became a citizen. This form includes a series of questions about your previous SSN filing. Youll note on this form if you previously filed when you became a citizen or provide the names of your parents, who filed on your behalf.

    In addition, you also need to provide documentation showing your U.S. citizenship, age, legal residence, identity and existing SSN. If youve ever changed your name, youll need to submit documentation of this. If you changed your name when you got married, for example, you could submit your marriage license to satisfy this requirement.

    Read Also: When Do You Receive Your Social Security Check

    How Do I See If Someone Is Using My Social Security Number

    Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing whether someone has your Social Security number until they use it. Some companies offer dark web monitoring, which tracks your information across areas of the internet typically reserved for criminal activities. Your information often ends up on the dark web if you are the victim of a data breach.

    However, even if your information appears on a dark web scan, there’s no way to guarantee that someone has your SSN specifically or that they are using it.

    To check to see if someone is using your SSN, consider checking your credit report. You can do this online through AnnualCreditReport.com, the only authorized website for free credit reports. You can also use the Annual Credit Report phone number to request your credit report.

    Once you have your credit report, review it to see if anything is out of the ordinary. Carefully confirm your accounts and open lines of credit to make sure all of the information in these sections is legitimate. If not, someone may be fraudulently using your information.

    Lastly, you may also want to view your Social Security Statement. This document will show whether someone has begun withdrawing against your Social Security account earnings, which is another tell-tale indicator that someone is using your SSN.

    Contact One Of The Three Major Credit

    To speak to Equifax, call its customer care number at 1-888-766-0008 or visit this web page to place a fraud alert. To start an Equifax credit freeze online, you’ll have to create an Equifax account, but you can do so without creating an account by calling 1-800-349-9960.

    To contact Experian, call 1-888-397-3742 or go here for a fraud alert or here for a credit freeze. For TransUnion, the phone number is 1-800-680-7289 the fraud-alert link is here and the credit-freeze link is here.

    A credit freeze can be inconvenient, but it’s the better option. With a freeze, no potential lender can access your credit file without your approval. That can be a bother if you plan to move, open a new bank account, buy a car or switch phone carriers, but you can easily “unfreeze” your credit and then freeze it again.

    Thanks to a 2018 law, credit freezes are now free to implement, but you must contact each of the Big Three credit-reporting agencies separately to set them up.

    Fraud alerts are easier to place the agency you place one with will contact the other two but they aren’t as useful. A fraud alert just requests that anyone pulling your credit file contact you first, but they don’t actually have to.

    You can renew a fraud alert every year . Contact the Social Security Administration only to get a replacement card or replacement number .

    Also Check: Soccial Security

    Dont Give It Out To Strangers

    You should never provide your SSN to someone you dont know who calls you on the phone and requests it. This same warning applies to unsolicited emails and any forms you fill out on the internet. In general, dont give your SSN to anyone unless you are absolutely certain they have a reason and a right to have it.

    File Fraudulent Tax Returns

    What To Do If Your Social Security Number Has Been Stolen ...

    Your Social Security number is also used to file your taxes in most cases. Someone who has your SSN can file a fraudulent tax return in your name to be able to claim a refund or stimulus money. You often dont know that a fraudulent tax return has been filed until you go to file your own. It can take months to straighten things out with the IRS, and this can keep you from being able to access your own refund in the meantime.

    Recommended Reading: How Do I Find Out My Son’s Social Security Number

    What If Someone Steals My Social Security Number

    All of this is of course very interesting, but lets bring it back to the point of this article: what if some bad guy steals, obtains, guesses at, or otherwise gets hold of your Social Security Number? As it happens, all kinds of bad things!

    Because you have to have a Social Security Number to get a job in the United States , crooks are very fond of stealing SSNs specifically for the purpose of selling them to people who do not already have permission to work in the United States, so that those people can get a job.

    Nothing is wrong with people getting jobs, of course, but if they are using your Social Security Number, it can cause untold confusion and issues with your taxes and your Social Security benefits. You could even LOSE your Social Security benefits and that can be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    As you can see, it is very important for you to be able to tell whether someone is using your Social Security Number without your permission. In this article, I will show you several methods of detecting whether your Social Security Number has been compromised.

    What Is Social Security Number Theft

    Social Security Number theft or Social Security Number fraud is big business for thieves. The Social Security Administration estimates that in 2019 the administration made $7.9 billion in improper payments due to fraud. This boils down to an average cost of identity theft of over $1,000 per person!

    The problem is a growing one. In 2017 the number of Social Security Numbers compromised in data breaches surpassed the number of credit card numbers, according to a study by Javelin Strategy & Research.

    Social Security Number theft can wreak havoc on your credit score. The effort and time required to undo that sort of damage can often take years.

    Once hackers or thieves have your SSN, they can make false statements on claims, file claims under your SSN, file fraudulent tax returns for refunds, open bank accounts and credit cards and more. A SSN, especially one with a good credit score attached, can be used to extract serious money quickly via these scams.

    Related: How to know if someone is using your social security number

    Read Also: How Much Do You Get For Social Security

    How To Protect Your Identity When Your Social Security Card Is Stolen

    If your social security card has been stolen, youve lost important vital records that prove your identity. Taking steps to protect yourself will help prevent fiscal losses.

    • If you dont know your social security number, contact the Social Security Office first with a copy of your birth certificate or passport.
    • Then, report identity theft to the FTC. Visit IdentityTheft.Gov and fill out the wizard to make a report.
    • Also, call the IRS at 800-908-4490 to report the theft and to prevent someone from submitting a tax return in your name. You may have to prove your identity with your birth record.

    Contact The Internal Revenue Service

    Stolen Social security numbers used for new fraud

    You may also want to contact the Internal Revenue Service if you suspect an identity thief has filed a tax return in your name to get a refund. The IRS should also be on your list of contacts if you suspect someone is using your number for work purposes. Otherwise, the IRS could think you failed to report income when you file your own tax return. Use the IRS Identity Theft Central website or call 800-908-4490.

    Also Check: If You Receive Social Security

    Victim Of Identity Theft

    Identity Theft / Fraud Using your Social Security Number
    • If you suspect your Social Security Number has been used to commit identity theft, contact the Federal Trade Commission , which is charged with handling most identity theft complaints. at 1-877-IDTHEFT or go to: www.identitytheft.gov/ To order a copy of your Social Security Administration earnings and benefits statement, or to check whether someone has used your Social Security number to get a job or to avoid paying taxes, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/statement/. If you need a copy of your Free Annual Credit Report go: annualcreditreport.com.

    S To Take If Your Social Security Number Has Been Stolen

    Whether your personal information has been subjected to by hacking or youve been a victim of identity theft, before you panic, there are steps you can take to minimize the damage.

    Security breaches at large corporations are common. In fact, according to the National Cyber Security Alliance, over 143 million Americans have had their information stolen in recent years. Many of these individuals have had their Social Security numbers stolen, which has led to identity theft. These are just a few examples of the many large-scale security breaches that have occurred in recent years.

    If your Social Security number were stolen, it could be taken from documents in your mailbox or trash can, or by someone fraudulently posing as a representative of a trusted institution. If you think that your Social Security number has been stolen, here are three things you can do to protect yourself:

  • If you believe your identity has been stolen, report it to the proper authorities.The Social Security Administration suggests that you contact the FTCs website IdentityTheft.gov, or file a police report with your local jurisdiction. Your city or county may not be able to investigate identity theft, but having a police report is useful documentation when recovering from identity theft.

  • Choose SSN Protection. LifeLock is a comprehensive solution that I use myself.
  • Identity and SSN alerts
  • Stolen funds reimbursement up to $1M
  • Annual 3-bureau credit reports
  • Recommended Reading: How Do I Look Up My Child’s Social Security Number

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