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 Detect A Phishing Email Pretending To Be Social Security
- Most emails from Social Security will come from a .gov” email address. If an email address does not end in .gov, use caution before opening attachments or clicking on pictures or links in the email. Currently, Social Security sends emails from ,, , , and echosign.com.
- In a few instances, we use marketing firms to raise awareness of Social Securitys online services, and this includes creating amySocial Security account. We allow these firms to send email directly to individuals. Any links you find within these emails should always point to a .gov/ web address.
- Links, logos, or pictures in the body of an official Social Security email will always direct you to an official Social Security website. Rather than relying on the way a link looks, please follow these steps to confirm a links authenticity:
- To verify the web address of a link or picture, hover over it with your mouse until a text box appears with the web address. This is the actual address you will be directed to and it should always include .gov/ A forward slash should always follow the .gov domain.
- Example -https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/
- Links to the official Social Security website will always begin with or.
- Below are examples of fraudulent websites pretending to direct you to Social Security. Notice the location of the forward slash.
Tip : Memorize Your Social Security Number
Knowing your Social Security number by heart can be handy. Its there when you need it. Plus, you probably wont be tempted to carry your Social Security card with you or to jot down the number on a slip of paper.
This might seem like a small thing. But if youre not carrying your card with you, or youre not writing it down on slips of paper, youre far less likely to drop that paper or card on the ground or leave it behind at a local bank or government office. This means its less likely, too, that thieves might get their hands on your number.
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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.
How Do I Check To See If Someone Is Using My Social Security Number
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the country, and nearly one third of all adults in the United States have experienced some form of identity fraud. Safeguarding your Social Security number is one of the best ways to keep your identity safe. When a thief gets access to your SSN, they can open new bank accounts, drain existing finances, file fraudulent tax returns, and take many other nefarious actions. So, how do you know if someone is using your Social Security number before it is too late? There are some steps you can take to stay alert and make sure that no one is using your Social Security number.
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Visit Identitytheftgov To Get A Recovery Plan
You can visit IdentityTheft.gov to report identity theft and, more importantly, set up a recovery plan, or you can call 877-438-4338 to do so. Both will guide you through a process that includes:
What Is A Phishing Scam
A phishing scam is performed either over the phone or through email. The scammer attempts to fish for your personal information. They do this by tricking you into believing the communication is from a trusted source. For example, they might send an email that appears to be from your bank asking you to verify your SSN or account number. If you send this information, the scammer will have access to it and can use it for improper purposes. If you get any suspicious calls or emails, you should not respond to them. Instead, contact your financial institution directly to determine whether it is a valid communication.
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Tip : Leave Home Without It
There may be times when you need to show your card to someone. But, in general, its a good idea to avoid carrying your card or any documents that display your SSN. Its possible you might lose your wallet or leave your documents behind.
Not all thieves will want your Social Security number, but many will. Leaving your card at home decreases the chances that these scammers will gain access to your Social Security number.
Tip : Create Strong Passwords
Strong passwords that use a unique combination of numbers, letters, and symbols can help prevent identity thieves from accessing your personal information in online accounts. Heres one password you should never use: your Social Security number. And dont use your SSNs last four digits as a PIN.
Finally, dont use the same passwords repeatedly. Even if its a strong password, and its one that you can easily remember, all a hacker has to do is crack that password once. The thief will then be able to access all your important accounts that are protected by that password, even ones that contain your Social Security number.
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If You Want Extra Security
We offer you the choice to add extra security when you create an online account. In the past, we told you Social Security would never ask for your credit card number or other financial information. We have changed our policy for this one service. Now, we may ask you for the last eight digits of your Visa, Mastercard, or Discover credit card, or some other financial information. Once you give us this additional information, we will send you a letter in the mail in five to 10 business days. You will need this letter to complete the voluntary process to add extra security.
You can upgrade to extra security at any time. Adding extra security does not change the way that you sign in to your account. You must still sign in with your username, password, and a unique security code we will provide each time you sign in.
If You Have Been Issued A New Sin
If you receive a new SIN, contact all your banks, creditors, pension providers and employers so that they may update your files.
Note: Service Canada cannot correct a credit file.
A new SIN will not protect you from fraud or identity theft. If someone uses your old SIN and a business does no t check your account with the credit bureau, you may need to pay the impostors debts. Every time someone else uses your old SIN fraudulently, you will have to prove that you were not involved in the fraud.
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Replacing A Lost Social Security Card
Replacing a lost Social Security card is not extremely difficult, although you will need the proper documentation. If you have already registered online for a My Social Security account, then you are in a great position. In most states, you can request a replacement card using the online service through the Social Security Administration website at SSA.gov. You can simply use your account there to request the replacement as long as you are not requesting any other changes like a name change. However, if you do not already have an account, you will likely be unable to go that route since you must know your SSN to create the account.
In that case, you will need to head down to your local Social Security office. Be prepared to bring documents that will prove your identity such as a drivers license, U.S. Passport, or state issued ID card. If you do not have any of these documents, the SSA might accept other documents like a health insurance card, school identification card, or U.S. military ID or identification number. You should note that a birth certificate will not serve as proof of your ID. It proves your date of birth and age when obtaining a card for the first time, but it does not prove identity. You should also note that you will always have to provide original documents. Photocopies or even notarized copies are not valid for proving your identity.
Tip : Rarely Share Your Number
You may have to provide your Social Security number to your bank or employer. But theres no reason your pizza delivery guy needs it. If someone asks for your Social Security number, ask questions. Why? How will it be used? What if I refuse to share it?
You may be able to offer an alternative form of identification, such as a drivers license number, student ID, or utility bill.
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How Can I Find My Social Security Number Online
You will need to have a My Social Security account to access your SSN online. If you have not already signed up for an account, then you will not be able to get one until you find your number using another method. Knowing your SSN is required to sign up for an account, but once you have the account, you can access it using your user name and password.
Legitimate Companies And Protected Sites
Provide your Social Security number to a legitimate company through a protected site. There are only two ways you run the risk of identity theft: someone at the company steals your Social Security number, or your computer has a key-logger. Look at the address bar once you’re on the application page that requires your Social Security number. At the left or right of the address bar, you should see “Https,” typically colored gray or green, and a padlock. Instead of seeing “https” colored green, you might see the company’s name colored green on the right side of the search bar. These features indicate you’re visiting an encrypted website. If you do not see them, do not enter your Social Security number, even if you’re certain the company you’re applying to is legitimate.
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What Do I Do Next Ongoing Steps To Take
As weve talked about in some of my other blog posts, identity theft can be a long-term problem where follow-up instances of theft can crop up over time. However, there are a few steps you can take to minimize the damage and ensure it doesnt happen again. I cover several of those steps in detail in this blog here, yet lets take a look at a few of the top items as they relate to SSN theft:
Consider placing a fraud alert.
Look into an all-out credit freeze.
A full credit freeze is in place until you lift it and will prohibit creditors from pulling your credit report altogether. This can help stop thieves dead in their tracks since approving credit requires pulling a report. However, this applies to legitimate inquires, including any that you make, like opening a new loan or signing up for a credit card. If thats the case, youll need to take extra steps as directed by the particular institution or lender. Unlike the fraud alert, youll need to notify each of the three major credit bureaus when you want the freeze lifted.
Monitor your credit reports.
Once every 12 months, you can access a free credit report from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Doing so will allow you to spot any future discrepancies and offer you options for correcting them.
Sign up for an identity protection service.
Monitor Your Credit Reports
One of the most important things that you can do to avoid becoming a big victim of the improper use of your social security number would be to properly monitor your credit reports. You want to monitor everything from your credit. That way, you will be able to tell whether or not someone is actively using your social security number to try to pose as you to open new accounts. This is a great way to really ensure that no one is actively using your social security number other than yourself. Because you will be able to see exactly what accounts you have open and everything, you will be able to figure out whether or not someone is improperly using your social security number. You can do this by getting free credit reports, requesting reports from different agencies on a yearly basis, and more.
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What Can Someone Do With Your Social Security Number
There are many things that someone can do with your SSN, and none of them are good. They can gain access to your banking or financial accounts as well as open new accounts in your name. Getting a loan, obtaining credit cards, or applying for other types of credit are just a few examples. In addition, they can file fraudulent tax returns with the IRS and even claim your My Social Security account to manipulate your Social Security statements and work history.
Tip : Keep Your Social Security Card And Number In A Safe Place
Anything as important as your Social Security card deserves a home. This could be a lock box or a file folder kept in a secure place. And dont forget, your SSN may appear on important documents. They require a safe place, too.
Dont make the mistake of carrying your Social Security card in your wallet or purse. If you lose these items, or if theyre stolen, youve put your SSN at risk. A thief might consider it quite a bonus to get your Social Security number when they snatch your wallet or purse.
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Important Resources For Identity Theft Victims:
Did you know that it is illegal for collection agencies to harass you once you have notified them that the debt is due to Identity Theft? Here are some steps to take if you find yourself in this situation:
- Contact the fraud department of any one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your file.
- Close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Use the ID Theft Affidavit when disputing new unauthorized accounts.
- File a police report where you live.
- Get a copy of the report or report number.
- Contact any of the other agencies specific to your particular type of Identity Theft.
- File your complaint with FTC.
- Follow up in writing. Attach a police report/number along with any other documentation you may have. Send Certified Mail – Return Receipt Requested.
- Document everything!
Someone May Be Using Your Ssn
People can use your Social Security Number to access bank accounts, open new accounts, and more. If this is happening it may go undetected.
A lot of times there are indications that something is amiss. These are the top five signs your information has been compromised.
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How To Protect Your Social Security Number: 10 Ssn Tips
If you want to help protect yourself against identity theft, protecting your Social Security number is a good start. Your Social Security number is a high-value target for ID theft. Getting an identity theft protection plan is one step to consider.
Your Social Security number, or SSN, is a key piece of personally identifiable information. In the wrong hands like, in the hands of an identity thief your Social Security number might lead to various types of identity theft or fraud.
What can identity thieves do with your Social Security number? Heres a sample:
- Open bank accounts
- Open new credit cards or lines of credit to make purchases in your name
- File tax returns to obtain your refund
- Open new service accounts in your name, such as utilities or internet service
- Put you in major debt
- Destroy your credit score across all three credit bureaus
The Equifax data breach in 2017, which exposed Social Security numbers and other U.S.-consumer information, raised the risk for identity theft of more than 145 million Americans.
Although you cant do anything about a breach, its a good idea to learn what you can do to protect yourself following a breach, and before a subsequent breach. No matter how big or small, no business or industry is immune to cyberthieves who may have identity theft in mind.
Here are some tips for protecting your Social Security number and identity.