Thursday, September 29, 2022

How Can Social Security Identity Theft Occur

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Identity Theft Victim Checklist

Safeguarding Against Business Tax Identity Theft
  • Information Sheets
  • Identity Theft Victim Checklist
  • This checklist can help identity theft victims clear up their records. It lists the actions most identity theft victims should take to limit the damage done by the thief. For more information, see the Web sites of the Federal Trade Commission at , the Identity Theft Resource Center at www.idtheftcenter.org, and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse at www.privacyrights.org

    Kinds Of Id Theft Using A Social Security Number

    With the Equifax breach still fresh in our minds, many of us are wondering if our financeslet alone our identitiesare safe and secure. If youre one of the 145.5 million potential victims of the 2017 Equifax data breach, the hackers may have the so-called skeleton key to your finances and, ultimately, your identity: your one and only Social Security number.

    What exactly can a thief do with your Social Security number? The answer isnt pretty, especially if they also have access to other personal data, as the Equifax hackers may.

    Whether youve had your Social Security number stolen or are trying to keep it secure, its important to know what criminals can do with it, so you know how to recognize red flags.

    One of the identity theft-related crimes most people think of is credit card fraud. However, credit card fraud may be just one of the crimes that can be committed if a criminal assumes your identity with your Social Security number and other personal information.

    While stolen credit cards and the like can be cancelled and replaced, it can be difficult to obtain a new Social Security number. The Social Security Administration requires that you prove your identity and provide evidence that someone is misusing your Social Security number and causing you significant continuing harm. In fact, until you sort everything out, the Internal Revenue Service and other government entities may not know if you or the criminal who has stolen your identity is the real you.

    Ask Why They Want It And How It Will Be Handled

    If the business insists, ask questions. You have a right to know why its necessary to provide your SSN and how it will be handled. Ask questions such as:

    • Why is having my SSN necessary?
    • With whom will you share my number if I provide it?
    • How will my number be stored?
    • Do you have a privacy policy, and may I see it?
    • Will you cover my liability or losses if my number is stolen or compromised?

    Unfortunately, if you are asked to provide your SSN to a business or an institution that doesnt need it, and you say no, it can refuse to provide services to you or put conditions on the servicesuch as requiring a deposit or additional fees.

    Read Also: How To Check How Many Social Security Credits I Have

    Oregon Department Of Justice

    The Oregon DOJ/Consumer Protection site has been redesigned to offer a better user experience, while retaining the information and resources our visitors rely on.

    As with any transition, it may take a little extra time to find what you’re looking for. For your convenience, here are links to some important pages on the Consumer Protection section of the new website.

    The Impact Of Employment Identity Theft A Case Study

    Taxpayers in 19 states & D.C. now can get special IRS IP ...

    While most incidents of employment identity theft take months to uncover, even those detected promptly can cause distress and endanger your career, as UK journalist, Nicholas Fearn, discovered.

    Mr. Fearn had applied for a position at a company in Wales but, when he didnt hear back from them regarding his application, he got in touch with his contact there only to find that someone had sent an email, apparently from Mr. Fearns email address, asking that his application be withdrawn.

    Mr. Fearn said he felt shocked and violated by the incident, adding, As a journalist, I use email as a way to pitch for work and communicate with clients, so its really worrying that someone is impersonating me.

    Although there is, as yet, no evidence of who the culprit was or how they accessed Mr. Fearns private data, the victim believes that another candidate may have been responsible. During the application process, all applicants were asked to submit a written assessment, each of which was saved to a specific file.

    When Mr. Fearn completed his, he noticed that the file also contained the names of all the other candidates. He suspects this is where the leak began, and the imposter began shedding his skin and taking on the identity of Mr. Fearn.

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    What Do I Do If My Social Security Card Or Number Is Stolen Or Lost

    If your Social Security card or number is lost or stolen, you should immediately contact your local police department and the Social Security Administration to let them know about the incident. Once youve done that, there are a few other things that you can do to help mitigate the risks involved with losing your Social Security Card.

    Get The Best Identity Theft Protection Today

    If you think youve been victimized after experiencing a lost or stolen Social Security card, or your Social Security number has been exposed by a data breach, we can help you take the steps to protect what matters most. IdentityForce can help monitor your identity and credit while providing you with the latest news and information in identity theft protection. Our Smart SSN Tracker alerts you if an unfamiliar name, alias, or address is associated with your SSN, and our experts will be there to assist you every step of the way. IdentityForces Identity Vault provides online encrypted storage for your important PII including SSNs, credit cards, financial account information and birth dates, along with other important documents. Access to online and mobile digital organization and storage of digital copies of important legal and personal documents, medical records, and other items.

    Weve built;best-in-class, innovative capabilities that continue to be named the best identity theft protection service;throughout our industry. Additionally, our IdentityForce members receive full, white-glove;restoration services;to reduce the damaging effects of all types of fraud, theft, misuse, and unintended exposure of personal and financial data.

    Let us show you how IdentityForce can help you manage through a compromised Social Security number incident. Get this exclusive limited-time offer today and save 20%.

    **Originally published July 11, 2017. Updated April 14, 2021.**

    Read Also: How To Maximize Your Social Security Benefits

    Protecting Personal Information On Your Computer

    Now more than ever it is important to be extra careful when storing or providing personal information on your computer. Identity thieves can not only crack personal information stored on the large servers of Internet Service Providers and E-Commerce sites, but can also place programs on your personal computer that can retrieve any data, software, or personal information stored on your hard drive. To avoid identity theft via computer, keep the following tips in mind:

    Watch out for merchants who offer prices that seem too good to be true and don’t provide any offline way to contact them or verify their validity. This especially applies to offers you receive via e-mail in the form of spam.

  • Don’t post private information on discussion lists or forums, even if they claim to be private.

  • Keep passwords off your computer and have different passwords for each site that requires them. Make sure they are not obvious words, consecutive number strings, or anything that would be easy for someone to guess.

  • Always run good, up-to-date antivirus software and a personal firewall.

  • Remember …One of the best ways to minimize your risk of identity theft is to request a copy of your credit report each year and check it to make sure there are no inaccuracies or inconsistencies.

    Contact each of the following major credit reporting agencies for a copy of your report:

    Equifax: 1-800-685-1111

  • Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN

  • Trans Union: 800-888-4213

  • Keep Your Identity Safe

    Identity Theft and Credit History Damage

    If you use an online application to do your taxes, you can now log in with your username, password and a third personal item like a phone number. Using all 3 will keep your identity and data safer.

    Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen personal information, including your Social Security number, to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.

    If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must file a paper return.

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    Is Identity Theft A Crime

    Identity Theft is a Crime in the State of New Jersey. In New Jersey, Identity Theft is covered by the WrongfulImpersonation statute , which makes it anoffense to impersonate another, assume a false identity, orobtain personally identifying information pertaining to anotherperson and use that information or assist another in using thatinformation to obtain a benefit, services or attempt to avoid adebt or avoid prosecution for a crime by using the name of theother person. New Jerseys Wrongful Impersonation rangesfrom a Disorderly Persons offense to a crime of the 2nd degreein cases where five or more identities have been used to obtaina benefit or service in the amount of $75,000 or more or theidentities if five or more people have been used to obtain abenefit.

    How Often Does Child Identity Theft Happen

    “One of the first things you want to do is get a credit report for yourself and your child,” Chappell advises. “If your child is victimized, your information may have been stolen, too.” By law, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report once a year; simply go to annualcreditreport.com and follow the instructions.

    The good news: If your child has no credit history, odds are that everything is all right. The bad news: Anyone under 18 who has a credit history has most likely been victimized. If this is the case, contact a credit agencyTransUnion, Equifax, or Experianand place a 90-day credit alert on your child’s file. This requires them to get in touch with you before issuing credit in their name. After obtaining a credit report and placing an alert on your file, contact the police. Ask that each of your credit card companies place a note on your child’s file that the “account closed at consumer’s request,” Mason suggests. Follow up with credit card companies in writing; it is crucial to keep detailed records of everything that happens as you attempt to undo the damage.

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    What Can I Do If My Child Is An Identity Theft Victim

    The credit reporting agencies do not knowingly maintain credit files on minor children. If you suspect that your child’s information has been used fraudulently, you should notify the three major credit bureaus. You may be able to do this by calling the bureaus at the toll-free numbers below. Follow the cues for “fraud” on the automated phone systems.

    Experian 1-888-397-3742

    Give the child’s name, Social Security number, and other requested information. The phone systems will probably give you a response of “no file found” or “information does not match.” This is good news. You should follow up by writing to the credit bureaus. Report the suspected identity theft and ask them to confirm in writing that they have no file on your child. Sample letters are at the back of this Information Sheet.

    If there is a file in your child’s name, you will be told that a fraud alert is placed on the file. You will also be sent instructions on how to get a copy of the child’s credit report from each of the credit bureaus. There will be no charge for these copies.

    What should I do when I receive a credit report on my child?

    If any of the credit bureaus sends you a report, call the credit bureau at the number on the report. Explain that the report is associated with a minor who does not have a credit history. The credit bureau will help you begin the process of clearing your child’s credit records See Identity Theft Victim Checklist for more information.

    What Is Social Security Fraud

    Ultimate Guide to Identity Theft Protection Online & Offline

    Through April 20, 2022, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax will offer all U.S. consumers free weekly credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com to help you protect your financial health during the sudden and unprecedented hardship caused by COVID-19.

    Social Security fraud usually occurs when an unauthorized third-party gains access to an individual’s Social Security number and exploits it for their own financial benefit.

    There are other definitions of Social Security fraud that are important to know as well. For example, if you hide information from the federal government that influences retirement security payouts or present fraudulent information on a Social Security form, those are also deemed as Social Security fraud.

    Social Security fraud is a serious threat, given the fact that U.S. Social Security Administration has given out 453 million Social Security numbers since the program’s inception in 1936, and issues 5.5 million new numbers every year.

    Thus, it’s important to educate yourself about Social Security fraud, and understand how to both prevent and respond to it.

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    Tax Identity Theft: Important Notice

    In 2017, the IRS received 242,000 reports from taxpayers reporting themselves as identity theft victims. ;Although the overall number fell by 40 percent from 2016, the loss to the American taxpayer is still in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The IRS advises taxpayers and tax professionals to remain vigilant to the various scams and schemes used by data thieves.; The IRS has published a yearly list of their Dirty Dozen tax scams and what you can do to help protect yourself.

    If you know you are or think you may be a victim you can contact Community Tax;and they can assist you in requesting an IRS Investigation.

    You can also visit www.freeirsreport.com this service allows you to receive a confidential IRS tax report that will contain a complimentary analysis and review from a licensed tax practitioner of your tax return filings.; It can flag any areas of concern which include potential identity theft.

    Protect Documents With Personal Information

    If you have documents with your childs personal information, like medical bills or their Social Security card, keep them in a safe place, like a locked file cabinet.

    When you decide to get rid of those documents, shred them before you throw them away. If you dont have a shredder, look for a local shred day.

    Read Also: How Much Have I Put In Social Security

    Report Identity Theft To Other Organizations

    You can also report the theft to other organizations, such as:

    • Credit Reporting Agencies – Contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies to place fraud alerts or freezes on your accounts. Also get copies of your credit reports, to be sure that no one has already tried to get unauthorized credit accounts with your personal information. Confirm that the credit reporting agency will alert the other two credit reporting agencies.

    • National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center – Report cases of identity theft due to a stay in a nursing home or long-term care facility.;

    • Financial Institutions – Contact the fraud department at your bank, credit card issuers and any other places where you have accounts. ;

    • Retailers and Other Companies – Report the crime to companies where the identity thief opened credit accounts or even applied for jobs.

    • State Attorney General;Offices – Your state’s attorney general;might;offer tips, checklists, or an advocate;to help you recover from identity theft. These resources don’t replace filing an ID theft report with the FTC.

    You may need to get new personal records or identification cards if you’re the victim of ID theft.;;Learn how to replace your vital identification documents;after identity theft.;

    Dealing With Ssn Identity Theft

    Eye on Oversight: Medical Identity Theft

    The Social Security Administration strongly encourages people to resolve identity theft issues through other avenues before pushing for a change to their SSN. However, in extreme cases, they will issue a new number to someone dealing with persistent hardships or harassment due to their number being exposed.

    For most people, locking your credit at the three major bureaus and working with your banks to secure your accounts is the best way to deal with SSN identity theft. Identity theft monitoring services can provide ongoing protection by;continuously monitoring the dark web, a major hub for hackers and cybercriminals dealing in personal information. By investing in basic identity theft monitoring, you can be proactive and keep past problems from recurring.

    Recommended Reading: Can You Get Disability If You Are On Social Security

    How Common Is Identity Theft

    The Federal Trade Commission estimates that as many as 9 million Americans experience some form of identity theft each year.; However, that number is subject to fluctuation as both crime fighting tactics and the methods that criminals use to steal identities evolve over time.; A single statistic cant really convey the full scope of the issue either.

    You may therefore be interested to know that:

    • The FTCs Consumer Sentinel Network received roughly 360,000 identity-theft related complains in 2012 18% of all the complaints made that year.

    Most Common Identity Theft Complaints

    Identity Theft Complaints by Year

    • ;8.6 million households experienced some form of identity theft in 2010, according to the FTC.
    • 5% of people age 16+ fell victim to identity theft in 2006 and 2007, leading to $17 billion in financial losses, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.; In other words, each instance of identity theft carried a $10,000 price tag.

    What can you infer from these statistics?; Well, its clear that a large number of Americans are victims of identity theft each year.; However, when you consider the total number of people in the U.S., its also obvious that identity theft isnt all too common.

    In addition, while identity theft leads to billions of dollars in losses each year, we consumers arent necessarily on the hook for the full tab.; In fact, financial institutions assume most of the liability for spending-related fraud.

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