Finding Your Social Security Number
If you find yourself thinking, What is my SSN, then one of the easiest ways to find it is by looking on existing documentation that you may already have. Believe it or not, your Social Security number is listed on many documents that you might already have in your possession. It is a nine-digit number that will usually contain two hyphens. First, try and locate your Social Security card. Your number will be plainly displayed there. If you cannot find your card, there is still hope.
You can still try some of these other documents that are likely to have your number on them. Look for some of your old tax returns. Your number will be listed typically on the first page of your tax return. You can also check your W-2 from your employer and maybe even your bank statements. Both of these documents are common places to find your SSN listed. If you still have no luck, check your drivers license. While most states no longer display your SSN on your license, it is worth a look. If you have an immigrant visa, then your USCIS Forms are the next place you should look. SSNs are common on your visa paperwork, so you can often find your number there. If you are unable to find your number anywhere you look, then youll need to contact the SSA to start the process of getting a replacement Social Security card.
How Can I Find My Childs Social Security Number Online
You probably will not be able to find your childs number anywhere online. If you have claimed them as a dependent on your previous tax returns, you will be able to find their SSN there. If not, then you will need to contact the Social Security Administration so that they can advise you on the proper steps for requesting a replacement card for your child.
Get Identity Theft Protection
Thereâs simply too much for one person to monitor when keeping your childâs identity safe online. Thatâs why an identity theft solution like Auraâs family protection plan is the best safeguard.
Youâll get 24/7/365 credit monitoring, proactive alerts about data breaches, and notifications of any suspicious activity, along with a $1M insurance policy which may cover eligible losses as a result of identity fraud.
Contact The Internal Revenue Service
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.
We Are There For Those Who Need It Most
The Supplemental Security Income program helps children with qualifying disabilities by providing critical financial assistance. Children and youth with specific medical conditionswhose families meet certain income and resource limitscan receive SSI from birth until age 18.
If you think your child or someone you know could be eligible for SSI, visit our webpage to learn more and apply.
Assisting Youths with Disabilities Transition to Adulthood
The transition to adulthood is one of the most important periods in lifes journey. For foster children living with a disability, it can be even more challenging. Turning 18 triggers an important change in SSI benefits: Social Security must make a new determination on their SSI eligibility using the adult disability standards. About one-in-three such beneficiaries lose their SSI benefits.
For more information, please visit our .
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Secure Your Childs Mobile Device
Your childâs smartphone, tablet, or laptop can open the floodgates for identity theft.
Enable Face ID and/or an access password in order to unlock your childâs device. This is the default on most smartphones today but if your childâs device isnât password-protected, go update that mobile device setting immediately. Hereâs how to do it for iOS, and for Android.
Consider going the extra mile and encrypting your child’s data. This means that even if a thief can access whatâs on the deviceâs memory, the information will be meaningless without the password.
If you decide to sell an old smartphone, tablet, or computer â be sure to wipe the memory clean and restore everything to factory default settings.
Pay Attention To Privacy Policies
Practically all organizations that gather data on kids have privacy policies that detail how the child’s private information will be used and protected. Reading these policies can help you identify potential risks to your child’s information. If in doubt, never hesitate to ask questions, and don’t disclose your child’s information if you’re not comfortable with what you see in the policy.
Shred Mail And Documents With Personal Details
Discarded mail and documents are a magnet for identity thieves. Dont just throw out papers that contain personal details such as your SSN. Get a paper shredder and use it on a regular basis. While youre at it, dont leave mail in an outside mailbox for long periods. Stealing mail is another way thieves can make off with your information.
Self Lock Helps Protect You From Employment
Self Lock is the unique feature that lets you protect your identity in E-Verify and Self Check by placing a “lock” on your Social Security number . This helps prevent anyone else from using your SSN to try to get a job with an E-Verify employer. If an employer enters your locked SSN in E-Verify to confirm employment authorization, it will result in an E-Verify mismatch, called a Tentative Nonconfirmation . With Self Lock, you are always in control – you can unlock your SSN any time a new employer needs to verify your employment authorization in E-Verify. Your Self Lock remains active as long as your account remains valid and you have not unlocked your SSN. The Self Lock feature is only available to myE-Verify account holders.
Resources On What To Do If Your Childs Identity Is Stolen
Even when you take precautions, identity theft can still happen. If it happens to your child, its important to be prepared and understand the necessary steps to take. The following trusted resources will help you understand what to do if your childs identity is stolen, and how to strengthen your familys cybersecurity protocols after the fact.
- What to Do If Your Child Is the Victim of Identity Theft an article offering guidance for what to do if your child is already a victim of identity theft.
- How to Reclaim Your Childs Identity this guide discusses how to reclaim your childs identity in wake of identity theft.
What Do I Do If I Think My Child’s Identity Is Stolen
Don’t panic. Your first step should be to contact the three major credit bureaus to ask whether your child has a credit file. The credit bureaus should check for files relating to the childs name and Social Security number, as well as files related only to the childs Social Security number. To check the file, the bureaus will likely request copies of documents including your child’s birth certificate and Social Security card, as well as your own drivers’ license and proof of address.
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How Locking Your Social Security Number Works
Locking your Social Security number is a simple process of accessing the governments myE-Verify website. The site walks you through the necessary steps:
The lock lasts for a year unless you take steps to reverse it, and youll be notified in advance when the lock is about to expire so you can renew it if you want to.
Child Identity Theft By The Numbers
Remember the 2015 data breach at Anthem, the health insurance company? It reportedly exposed the Social Security numbers of tens of millions of children. That exposure puts those kids at risk of identity theftnow and for years to come.
In its Consumer Sentinel Network report of consumer complaints, the Federal Trade Commission reported that four to six percent of identity theft complaints the FTC received from 2014 through 2016 involved victims aged 19 years and under. And the Identity Theft Resource Center says it saw a 300 percent increase in inquiries and reports of child identity theft in 2014.
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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.
Monitor Your Bank And Credit Card Accounts
Keep close tabs on your bank and credit card balances. This is one way to make sure your SSN and identity have not been compromised. Many banks let you sign up for account alerts. They will send you text messages or call you if transactions exceed a certain amount or if someone tries to use your SSN to access your account.
Check your on a regular basis at AnnualCreditReport.com. You can usually only do this once a year for free, but due to COVID-19, you are allowed to get free weekly credit reports through April 20, 2022. If the Social Security Administration is still sending you an annual statement detailing your earnings, and it looks out of whack, someone might be using your number for employment purposes. You can register to get statements at the SSA website.
The three credit reporting bureaus are offering free weekly credit reports via AnnualCreditReport.com through April 20, 2022, due to the hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Dangers Of A Stolen Children Social Security Number
Criminals have figured out that stealing a childs SSN gives them a free pass to open new accounts, wrack up debt, take out loans, rent property, and even get a drivers license. Some scammers even buy houses, get jobs and sign up for utilities using your childs name and social security number. The FTC reports that children as young as six months old are victims of this type of fraud.
The real danger is that this type of thing can go on for many years without you even being aware of it. By the time your child reaches high school or college and applies for credit and is rejected, the credit history damage is already done and will be very difficult to repair.
Sometimes these scammers use stolen SSNs to file fake tax returns, get refunds, claim exemptions, or even use the child tax or earned income tax credit.
Often the thieves steal childrens social security numbers and then turn around and sell them on the dark web for profit. There is a huge market for fresh, unused SSNs. Sometimes a stolen identity is worth $2 on the dark web, and organized crime has tapped into this lucrative market.
Depending on the damage done, if your child receives government benefits for a disability, those benefits may be at risk if your childs identity is stolen.
Check Employer Verifications At My E
You can also check for the names of employers who have verified your eligibility to work in the U.S. if they went through the Department of Homeland Security E-Verify system. To do that, go to the myE-Verify webpage. If you see an employer whose name you do not recognize, someone else may be using your number to work in the U.S. The site also has a self-lock feature that lets you place a lock on your SSN.
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Check The Child’s Credit Report
It is a good idea to check a minors credit report yearly, particularly while there is still time to dispute and eliminate errors before the child turns 18. Contact each of the three major credit reporting agencies and request a search to see if the child has a credit report on file with them. In addition to asking for the childs credit report, ask each company to perform a manual search based only on the childs Social Security number. This way, if the childs Social Security number is associated with a different name and personal information, it will be discovered. The three major credit bureaus can be contacted at:
Keys For Preventing Child Identity Theft
Here are five steps you can take to help protect your children from becoming victims of identity theft:
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Resources For Checking Your Childs Credit Report
Monitoring your childs credit report is one of the most important ways to ensure their personal information is not being used in a fraudulent way. The following resources can help you find, monitor, and freeze your childs credit report in order to protect their information.
- How to Use Credit Monitoring to Protect Your Childs Identity an article discussing how to use credit monitoring to keep your child safe from identity theft.
- Freezing Your Childs Credit Report an FAQ and guide to freezing your childs credit report, which can help you restrict certain access.
Advantages Of Locking Your Ssn
There are several advantages of locking your Social Security number:
- No one can use your Social Security number when its locked
- No one can apply for a job in your name and run up a tax bill for money you never earned
- No one can use your Social Security number to apply for credit or open new accounts in your name
- Anyone attempting to verify your number will receive a notice of tentative nonconfirmation, which is effectively a mismatch the number is not in use
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What To Do If You Suspect Your Childs Identity Has Been Stolen
If you suspect your child is a victim of identity theft, take the following steps:
- Review and freeze your childâs credit report. Review your childâs credit file , as this will help you understand the damage. Setting up a security freeze is the best protective measure to prevent future identity fraud.
- Notify credit bureaus and impacted companies. If your child has an active credit report, ask all three credit bureaus to investigate the possibility of fraud. Alert any listed companies and let them know the activity was fraudulently done with a minorâs information, and ask them to investigate.
- File a report with the FTC . Report the stolen identity to the FTC at IdentityTheft.gov. Youâll need this report for the next step.
- Alert local law enforcement. Take all supporting documentation, including your FTC report, and file a police report for identity theft.
Were There To Provide Comfort During Difficult Times
The loss of a parent or guardian can be both emotionally and financially difficult. Social Security helps by providing benefits to help stabilize the familys financial future. Widows, widowers, and their dependent children may be eligible for .
In fact, 98 of every 100 children could get benefits if a working parent dies. And Social Security pays more benefits to children than any other federal program.
Providing protection for parents too
Even if you have never worked in a job covered by Social Security, as a parent, there are two ways that you may still qualify for benefits.
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