Odds Someone Else Has Your Ssn One In 7
What are the odds someone else has used your Social Security number? One in 7.
That’s the stunning conclusion of a San Diego company’s analysis of 290 million Social Security numbers, which found that 40 million of them have been attached to more than one name. The study, conducted by the fraud-fighting firm ID Analytics, is the first of its kind that’s been made available to the public.
We first wrote about the problem of “SSN-only” identity theft five years ago, and estimated that millions of Americans were on the “secret list of identity theft victims” whose SSNs had been misappropriated by an imposter to obtain work or credit.
The IRS often knows when this happens, when the imposter pays taxes. The Social Security Administration knows, too, for the same reason. And the nation’s credit bureaus usually know, because the imposter often ends up applying for some form of credit. Plenty of financial institutions also have access to this information.
But no one is telling you. In short, all these government agencies and financial firms don’t think you have a right to know.
We’re no closer to finding out who’s on that list today, but at least we now know how big the problem is: much bigger than we originally estimated.
20 million use more than one SSN
“A good fraction of that group, maybe 15 to 20 percent, of these mistakes are deliberate,” Coggeshall said. “There are systematic variations, deliberate manipulations. … I see many people who have a lot of Socials .”
Problems In Obtaining A Social Security Number
American Citizens Abroad, Inc. is following this issue, particularly with respect to US citizens abroad who are trying to come into conformity with new financial reporting legislation and regulation. If you have particular difficulties in obtaining a SSN, please submit your personal experiences via ACAs secure online portal. You can determine the degree of anonymity you wish to maintain and the extent to which ACA can share your story.
Disclaimer: American Citizens Abroad, Inc. is a non-profit organization formed under the laws of the State of Delaware. ACA does not provide legal, tax or accounting information. ACA makes no representations as to the accuracy, quality, utility, or any other aspect of the information contained herein. The reader is urged to obtain his or her own professional advice.
How To Find Your Social Security Number Online
The Social Security Number is a number that the U.S. government provides to all permanent residents, citizens and temporary residents. This number is required if you are applying for a new job or if you want to receive Social Security benefits or services from banks and credit card companies. Finding your SSN online is a simple process and can be done in a few steps.
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Letters In The Mail From The Irs Or The Bank
For whatever reason, the Internal Revenue Service will never contact you via phone. They will always communicate through the mail, so if you receive a letter from them, then that should be a red flag. Unless you have tax trouble, then communication from the IRS could signal problems. Someone might be using your SSN to illegally obtain tax refunds or perform other fraudulent activity. Letters from your bank could be a sign of similar problems.
Report The Identity Theft Immediately
You should immediately report the theft to all the proper agencies right away. Start with your local police department. While your local law enforcement might not be able to find out who is responsible, having that police report or theft affidavit is very important when you attempt to correct things on the back end. In addition, you should notify the IRS, Social Security Administration, and Federal Trade Commission of the theft.
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List Of Social Security Number Prefixes For Each State
Follow is a list of social security number prefixes for each state. The listing is organized in ascending order based on the SSN prefix, with the corresponding issuing state listed. Remember, these apply only to numbers issued prior to 2011 under the old system.
SSN Prefix = Issuing State
700-728 = Railroad Retirement729-999 = Currently not in use
Note: The number 666 has never been used and will not be used in the future.
Please post a comment below if you are aware of any new number ranges.
There is no law directly requiring a natural-born United States citizen to apply for a Social Security number to live or work in the United States. However, some people still live without a number because they view it as a voluntary government program. Those who dont get a number find it difficult to engage in normal acts of commerce or banking activities because they cant provide an SSN.
If youd like to learn more about the process, visit the Social Security Administration website. On the website, you can:
- Get more information on how numbers are assigned and the randomization process
- Find out where the offices are located near you and get directions using the office locator. Just enter your zip code.
- Learn how to get cards and how to request replacement cards
Questions and Comments
Obtaining A Social Security Number
The Social Security Administration assigns nine-digit Social Security numbers to U.S. citizens, permanent residents and eligible nonimmigrant workers in the United States. SSA uses SSNs to report wages to the government, track Social Security benefits and for other identification purposes. Every F and M student who U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services grants employment authorization to needs an SSN.
Please note: If an F or M student is ineligible to receive an SSN, but receives non-wage income while in the United States , they must apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number . For more information, please visit our What is an ITIN? resource page.
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Overview Of Social Security Numbers
In the United States, a Social Security number is a number issued to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and people that are temporarily working in the country. The number is issued to an individual by the SSA, an agency of the federal government.
Its primary purpose is tracking working individuals for taxation purposes and to track Social Security benefits. Since it was initially introduced, the SSN has become the primary national identification number, even though it was not originally intended to be used as a form of identification.
When Applying For A Federal Loan
The government will use your Social Security number to make sure youre eligible when you apply for a federal loan, such as a federal student loan. For example, to qualify for federal student loans, you must not be in default on another federal loan, you must have eligible citizenship or visitor status, and most male applicants must have registered with the Selective Service.
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Your Social Security Number: How To Know If It’s Safe To Share It
There are legit reasons to share your digits. Here’s what privacy experts say.
Dan is a writer on CNET’s How-To team. His byline has appeared in Newsweek, NBC News, The New York Times, Architectural Digest, The Daily Mail and elsewhere. He is a crossword junkie and is interested in the intersection of tech and marginalized communities.
Nearly all US citizens and permanent residents have a Social Security number. Social Security numbers were initially developed in the 1930s to help administer government retirement and disability benefits. But over the decades, the nine-digit accounts have become nearly universal identifiers, essential for applying for a credit card, buying a home and even getting paid by your employer.
Because almost citizen and permanent resident in the US has their own unique number, the Social has also become the go-to authentication method for cell-service operators, utility companies and other businesses. That makes it a prime target for hackers — and makes people increasingly worried about their number being made public. A massive Equifax breach in 2017 may have exposed the Social Security numbers of nearly half of all Americans.
Here are some situations where you should — and shouldn’t — share your personal information.
It’s Incredibly Easy To Figure Out Someone Else’s Social Security Number
The way people talk about social security numbers would have you believe that keeping it a secret is vital. But, as CGP Grey explains in a new video, if someone is serious about stealing an identity via an SSN-assuming the card was issued before 2011-all they have to do is piece together a few facts.
The first three digits of a person’s SSN refer to the state in which the card was applied for. Easy enough. The second chunk of digits follow a regular pattern, and the last four digits count up in order. If you know where and when someone was born, you can probably just get the corresponding numbers off a chart and guess the rest. Alternatively, if you get the last four digits of someone’s SSN from a leak-these are regularly given to hospitals, universities, and other institutions for identification-the other digits aren’t too hard to deduce.
That also means that if you subtract one from the last four digits of your own SSN, you likely just identified someone born in the same hospital around the same time as you. All the while keeping in mind that your SSN was issued on a piece of flimsy cardboard without photo ID that you likely lost 15 years ago. Feeling secure?
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What Should You Do If Your Social Security Number Is Stolen
Identity thieves are everywhere. Contact the Social Security Administration if you suspect that your number is stolen. The agency can help fix any problems related to income. But if you have problems with your credit, you must contact your financial institution and the credit reporting agencies . You can also file complaints with IdentityTheft.gov, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Internet Crime Center to report any suspicious activity.
Original Card For A Noncitizen Adult
In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from the Department of Homeland Security can apply for a Social Security number . If you do not have permission to work but need an SSN for other purposes, see “If you do not have permission to work” for further information.
Enumeration Beyond Entry
You may be eligible to apply using our automated process called Enumeration Beyond Entry if you are applying to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for work authorization or lawful permanent resident status.
You may not need to visit a Social Security office or Social Security Card center if you apply using the Form I-765 or I-485. If you are approved for either application through USCIS, and elect to apply for an SSN, USCIS will send us the information to issue you an original SSN card or replacement card. You should receive your SSN card no later than 7 to 10 business days after you receive your Employment Authorization Document or I-551 from USCIS. We will mail the card to the address provided on the application. For more information, see âApply For Your Social Security Number While Applying For Your Work Permit and or Lawful Permanent Residencyâ.
You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current . We cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.
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Use Required For Federal Tax Purposes
Internal Revenue Code section 6109 provides: “The social security account number issued to an individual for purposes of section 205 of the Social Security Act shall, except as shall otherwise be specified under regulations of the Secretary , be used as the identifying number for such individual for purposes of this title .”
The Internal Revenue Code also provides, when required by regulations prescribed by the secretary of the treasury or their delegate:
- Inclusion in returns: Any person required under the authority of this title to make a return, statement, or other document shall include in such return, statement, or other document such identifying number as may be prescribed for securing proper identification of such person.
- Furnishing number to other persons: Any person with respect to whom a return, statement, or other document is required under the authority of this title to be made by another person or whose identifying number is required to be shown on a return of another person shall furnish to such other person such identifying number as may be prescribed for securing their proper identification.
According to U.S. Treasury regulations, any person who, after October 31, 1962, works as an employee for wages subject to Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes, or U.S. federal income tax withholdings is required to apply for “an account number” using Form SS-5.
Social Security Administrations User
The Social Security Administration web site provides clear and reader-friendly information: www.ssa.gov/ssnumber. All applications for SSNs, whether original, replacement, or for change of name or data, use the same form, the SS-5 form . The different purposes may occasion differing degrees of documentation.
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How To Protect Your Social Security Number
By the time you’re an adult, your Social Security number has been entered into so many databases it’s impossible to keep it 100% secure. But there are steps consumers can take to better protect their account numbers.
Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or purse. Keep it in a safe place at home. And shred any documents or pieces of mail that include your number, rather than just throwing them out. Also, If you’re asked for your SSN, find out why.
“You should feel empowered to ask, ‘Why do you need this? Where are you storing this?'” Hanson said. “‘Is there another piece of information I can use instead?'”
If a company asks for your Social Security number, find out if there’s an alternate form of identification you can use.
Hanson recently took her daughter for a doctor’s visit, and the form at the counter requested both of their SSNs.
“There was really no need for them,” Hanson said. “So I left it blank on the form and they didn’t say anything.”
Another way to protect your Social Security number is by “freezing” your credit reports with Transunion, Equifax and Experian.
If someone tries to use your number to open a credit card or get a loan, the request for your credit report will be declined. You can freeze your report indefinitely or set a specific “thaw” date.
What Do I Do If I Dont Remember My Social Security Number
If you cannot remember your Social Security number, the first thing you might be wondering is how to find your Social Security number. The quickest thing to do is find your Social Security card so that you can read your number from it. If you have misplaced or lost your card, then you should check your tax returns, W-2, or bank statements to locate your number. These documents will often contain your number. If you still cannot find it, then head down to your local SSA office to request a replacement card and get access to your number.
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List Each Year’s Earnings
Your earnings history is shown on your Social Security statement, which you can now obtain online.
In the table below, sample earnings for a hypothetical worker born in 1953 are shown in Column C. Only earnings below a specified annual limit are included. This annual limit of included wages is called the “Contribution and Benefit Base” and is shown as Max Earnings in Column H in the table.
Checking Your Application Status
After you apply for your Social Security number, we recommend checking on your application status after seven to ten days. If you return to the office at which you applied, take all of your original documents as well as the receipt of application. Checking on your application status can minimize any delays or problems with your application. Your Social Security number may even be available to you prior to your card being mailed out. If you have any questions, please call the Social Security Administrations toll-free number: 1.800.772.1213.
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Do I Have To Give Out My Sin
You must give it to anyone who prepares information slips for you. Each time you do not give it when you are supposed to, you may have to pay a $100 penalty which is levied by the CRA. For this reason, it is important that if you receive any of these information slips that you check over the information on the slips, and if your SIN is missing or is incorrect, inform the slip preparer.
Your SIN is also used by the CRA when you make enquiries about your Income Tax, benefits such as the GST/HST Credit, Canada Child Benefit and other Government programs such as Employment Insurance , Canada Pension Plan , etc.
However, with the recent number of scams and fraudulent activity surrounding the CRA and identity theft, taxpayers should be vigilant when they receive, either by telephone, mail, text message or email, a fraudulent communication that claims to be from the Canada Revenue Agency requesting personal information such as a Social Insurance Number. More information on recognizing a scam and protecting yourself against fraud can be found here.
A complete list of who can ask for your SIN, as well as when you dont have to provide your SIN, can be found in this CRA document.
With more than 20 years experience helping Canadians file their taxes confidently and get all the money they deserve, TurboTax products, including TurboTax Free, are available at www.turbotax.ca.