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How Can Your Social Security Number Be Stolen

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How Easy Is It To Detect Ssn Theft

Steps you should take if your social security numbers stolen

Usually, financial scams are difficult to detect because the victim is not aware that the fraud is occurring. The best way to ensure your information stays secure is to take a proactive approach, check all your accounts for any suspicious activity, and use an identity monitoring service for regular financial alerts.

Why You Need A Social Security Number

If youre unsure what an SSN is, the Social Security Administration loosely defines it as a nine-digit number for identity-tracking purposes. Whenever you start a new job or apply for government benefits, you need your Social Security number: it will be used to verify your identity and record earnings. You can locate your Social Security number on your Social Security card if you cant find your card, make sure you reach out to the Social Security Administration directly.

Stay Vigilant To Help Protect Your Personal Information

If your Social Security number and personal information fall into the wrong hands, it could take you months to undo the damage. Monitoring your credit helps prevent the likelihood of this happening. The sooner you catch fraudulent activity, the easier it can be to reverse.

However, if you find that someone is using your SSN, it’s possible to remove the activity from your credit file. Filing reports with the proper authorities can help reverse the impact of someone stealing your personal information.

Diligence with your credit is a round-the-clock effort. Tally1 makes it easier for you to keep track of your credit card accounts and manage your monthly payments with a low-interest line of credit.

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What Is Identity Theft

Identity theft is when someone uses your personal or financial information without your permission.

They might steal your name and address, credit card, or bank account numbers, Social Security number, or medical insurance account numbers. And they could use them to

  • buy things with your credit cards
  • get new credit cards in your name
  • open a phone, electricity, or gas account in your name
  • steal your tax refund
  • use your health insurance to get medical care
  • pretend to be you if they are arrested

They Can Use Your Ssn To Drain Your Existing Bank Accounts

What to Do If Your Social Security Number Is Stolen

Identity hackers also can use your stolen SSN to dip into any of your existing bank accounts. Armed with that knowledge, they simply can transfer money.

If they hacked your SSN, they might have obtained your passwords and the answers to secret security questions, too, such as your mothers maiden name. The drain on your accounts might be gradual or you might wake up to find your entire savings gone. Hackers also have begun to use apps such as Zelle to transfer money illegally.

Pro tip: Its important to protect yourself from hackers and scammers. Monitor your bank account on a daily basis to identify the slightest unfamiliar withdrawal or other changes to the account. The earlier you catch the fraud, the easier it will be to deal with it.

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What You Can Do To Detect Identity Theft

Heres what you can do to spot identity theft:

  • Track what bills you owe and when theyre due. If you stop getting a bill, that could be a sign that someone changed your billing address.
  • Review your bills. Charges for things you didnt buy could be a sign of identity theft. So could a new bill you didnt expect.
  • Check your bank account statement. Withdrawals you didnt make could be a sign of identity theft.
  • Get and review your credit reports. Accounts in your name that you dont recognize could be a sign of identity theft. Heres how you can get your free credit reports.

If you discover that someone is misusing your personal information, visit IdentityTheft.gov to report and recover from identity theft.

What To Do If Someone Steals Your Ssn

If you become aware that someone has stolen your Social Security Number or have a suspicion, take these steps immediately. Its essential to act quickly to prevent any further harm.

The first step is to contact one of the credit-reporting agencies, TransUnion, Experian or Equifax. Heres how to contact the Big Three credit bureaus.

When you get someone on the lie, tell them you would like to place a credit freeze and a fraud alert on your credit file.

Putting a credit freeze on your file will block lenders from your credit report without your approval. The good thing is, its easy to unfreeze your account. Better safe than sorry.

The next step is to report the identity theft to the Social Security Administration and other government agencies.

The first you should contact is the Federal Trade Commission via identitytheft.gov. You can also file a police report with your local police department, which can assist you down the road.

The third step is to report your identity theft to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. Doing so will distribute your report to local, state and federal authorities and create an official report. This step is the most important when asking what to do if someone steals your SSN.

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They Can Use Your Ssn To Claim Your Tax Refund

In 2020, nearly 170 million people filed tax returns for tax year 2019, including traditional non-filers who submitted information to get their economic impact payments. That year, the Internal Revenue Service issued nearly 126 million refunds, accounting for about 74% of all filers. The average refund was $2,549.

So, imagine the shock if rather than that long-awaited check you instead received notice that someone else already filed a return in your name and received your tax refund.

This can happen if a scammer gets your name and SSN and simply files a return in your name. While your best bet is to keep your SSN private, both the IRS and Federal Trade Commission can assist you if this happens.

Pro tip: There are many things you can do to help protect your tax refund. Learn to recognize phishing emails seeking your personal information and calls from scammers posing as your bank, credit card company or the IRS. No bank, taxing authority or responsible business typically asks for your SSN online. Treat any such request as a scam.

Contact Fraud Department Of Various Companies

What To Do If Your Social Security Number is Stolen

Once that is done, you are going to want to contact any fraud department of various companies where you suspect your social security number was improper assessed and used. This is going to allow you to have these documents and they will be able to begin internal investigations.

Overall, there is a lot that you are going to want to keep an eye on when it comes to keeping your social security number safe. By following the tips above, you should be able to effectively minimize the damages that occur if you were to get your

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Identity Theft: What You Need To Know

Thieves with access to personal information Social Security number, birth certificate, PIN or credit card numbers, even pre-approved credit card solicitations can steal your identity and apply for credit in your name, racking up huge debts without you even knowing that it has happeneduntil its too late. Stay safe. Follow these simple suggestions.

Safeguard Your Personal Information:

Protect Your Bank Accounts and Your Mail:

Protect Yourself on the Internet and Protect Your Computer:

  • If you must use a public computer, confirm first that it is not running a desktop search engine and that the proprietor has denied users administrative privileges so they can’t install any programs that might be used to capture your emails or passwords.

If You Are a Victim of Identity Theft:

  • Have them place a fraud alert in your file. A fraud alert generally lasts for 90 days, although it can be extended.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission to file a complaint and create an Identity Theft Affidavit.
  • Call the Social Security Administrations fraud hotline at 269-0271 or go to www.ssa.gov/oig. If you suspect that someone is using your Social Security number, you can check your earnings record by calling 772-1213.
  • If your bank account has been compromised at all, close the account completely and open a new one.
  • Certegy Inc.: 437-5120

    Verify Your Social Security Number & Wages

    After you apply for benefits, we send you documents that include your name, the last four digits of your SSN, and wage records from your last employer. Check all documents carefully to ensure that we have the right name, SSN and wages on your claim.

    An error could be due to a simple mistake such as a typing error or it could be due to someone else using your SSN.

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    How Likely Am I To Become A Victim Of Ssn Theft

    Almost 1 in 4 people are affected by identity fraud, and a large part of identity theft is financial fraud. Unfortunately, the chances of the average person experiencing financial scams are very high. We strongly recommend a free scan to check on what information is available out there on the Internet about you.

    What Are You Liable For If Your Identity Is Stolen

    How to Protect Your Social Security Number From Theft ...

    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.

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    Here’s Where To Get More Information On Social Security Numbers

    Identity Theft: If you think an identity thief is using your SSN to work or to collect benefits, call the Social Security Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271. If you think someone may be using your SSN to work, check your Social Security Personal Earnings and Benefit Statement. You can get a copy by calling 1-800-772-1213, or online at www.ssa.gov/online/ssa-7004.pdf. Also see the Social Security Administration’s booklet “Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number,” at www.ssa.gov/pubs/10064.html.

    History of SSNs: For a chronology of the laws relating to SSNs, see www.ssa.gov/history/ssn/ssnchron.html.

    What the Numbers Mean: For an explanation of the meaning of the numbers in SSNs and answers to other questions about SSNs, see www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/.

    More on Protecting your SSN: “Fact Sheet 10: My Social Security Number: How Secure Is It?” from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, at www.privacyrights.org.

    Recommended Practices: For recommendations on how organizations can protect privacy in their handling of SSNs, see Recommended Practices for Protecting the Confidentiality of Social Security Numbers on the Business page at www.privacy.ca.gov.

    Ask Questions Before Giving Out Your Social Security Number

    Some organizations need your Social Security number to identify you. Those organizations include the IRS, your bank, and your employer. Organizations like these that do need your Social Security number wont call, email, or text you to ask for it.

    Other organizations that might ask you for your Social Security number might not really need it. Those organizations include a medical provider, a company, or your childs school. Ask these questions before you give them your Social Security number:

    • Why do you need it?
    • How will you protect it?
    • Can you use a different identifier?
    • Can you use just the last four digits of my Social Security number?

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    You Wired Money To A Scammer

    In a typical wire fraud scam, a criminal breaks into the email of someone who you know, usually professionally — an attorney, realtor or business associate. He or she squats on the email until he or she knows how you interact with this person, and then strikes, sending you a message — usually an urgent one — convincing you to wire money to an unfamiliar bank account, in order to facilitate a legal matter, home transaction or vendor payment.

    Usually, the bank account is offshore. Because the transaction involves email fraud, your bank won’t reimburse you. It’s a more involved type of cybercrime and for a good reason — because criminals get money wired directly to their accounts, and often very large sums.

    Drop everything and call your bank. If you have fallen victim to this type of crime, drop everything you’re doing and contact your bank’s wire department to attempt to halt the wire. If you are successful, this can save you enormous headaches later. If you know the real identity of the receiving bank, you can attempt to contact its wire department as well, although the fraudster’s bank is usually overseas and may be more difficult to reach.

    What Should I Do If My Identity Is Stolen

    Identity Theft Expert on Your Social Security Number

    Notify all your banks and financial companies as soon as you realize your identity has been stolen or an account is at risk. If you bank with us, . We’ll work with you to help correct any unauthorized transactions in your Chase accounts, fix any incorrect information weve sent to the credit reporting agencies and help protect you from any future identity theft or account fraud.

    We also urge you to take these steps immediately:

    • TransUnion:
  • File a report with your local police. Even if the police can’t catch the identity thief, having a police report can help you clear up your credit records later on.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission . Trained counselors staff the FTC’s identity theft hotline toll-free at . Or you can file a complaint by going to www.ftc.gov/idtheft.
  • Fill out the Identity Theft Affidavit , which will help you when you tell other companies an identity thief has opened a new account in your name.
  • You can also check out these resources for more tips and information:

    Requirements for Requesting Credit Card Documentation

    We realize you may be a victim of credit card identity theft and would like details from a credit card application or account business records. Before we can send you specific details from any application or business record, were required by the FACT Act of 2003 and our own identity protection policies to obtain the following information from you:

    Chase Card Services

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    Is Your Ssn Scan Tool Free To Use

    To check the health of your identity and associated private information, you can run a free SSN scan and receive a complimentary quick summary of what is available about you and what types of personal records are exposed on the Internet. The scan is free if you want to take advantage of all our benefits and alerts, you can sign up and pay a minimal monthly fee.

    If You Suspect Someone Is Using Your Sin

    If you suspect that someone is using your SIN fraudulently, act quickly to prevent personal loss and minimize the negative impact.

  • File a complaint with the police. Ask for the case reference number and the officer’s name and telephone number. If you choose to obtain a copy of the police report, make sure it states your name and SIN.
  • Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. The national anti-fraud call centre is jointly managed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ontario Provincial Police and Competition Bureau Canada. They provide advice and assistance about identity theft.
  • Ask for a copy of your credit report. Review it for any suspicious activity. Also check to see if your credit file should be flagged . To obtain additional information regarding fees and other requirements, please contact:
  • TransUnion: 1-800-663-9980
  • Inform your bank and creditors by phone and in writing about any irregularities.
  • Report any irregularities in your mail delivery to Canada Post, for example, opened envelopes, missing financial statements or documents.
  • Visit a Service Canada office and bring all the necessary documents with you proving fraud or misuse of your SIN. Also bring an original identity document . One of our officials will review your information and provide you with assistance and guidance.
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    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 personally identifiable information including SSNs, credit cards, financial account information, and birth dates, along with other important documents. It also provides 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. .

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

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