Dont Give It Out To Strangers
You should never provide your SSN to someone you dont know who calls you on the phone and requests it. This same warning applies to unsolicited emails and any forms you fill out on the internet. In general, dont give your SSN to anyone unless you are absolutely certain they have a reason and a right to have it.
Can Someone Access My Bank Account Using My Social Security Number
Although a criminal may be able to steal your social security number and use it to access medical care, benefits and take out new accounts in your name, it is more complex when accessing your existing accounts.
Luckily, identity thieves may find it quite challenging to access your bank accounts with your social security number. Most banks have requirements for additional pieces of identifying information to access your accounts, such as a passport utility bill. Most banks have added layers of security measures to prevent thieves from accessing your accounts, such as security questions and one-time passwords.
However, unfortunately, hackers can find identifying information and personal data to get into your accounts if you do not have the right kinds of protections in place on your computer or mobile device.
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.
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What Can You Do With Someone’s Social Security Number
You can use your Social Security number to access victims’ tax returns and government benefits, such as Social Security benefits, disability checks, or unemployment benefits. A victim may not be aware of a stolen tax refund until the state tax authorities or the IRS inform them that their own tax return is a duplicate.
Q& a: Freezing Your Social Security Number
Dear Liz: Recently you answered a question about whether Social Security files could be frozen to help prevent fraudulent activity, and your response was no. I had just researched that question after the Equifax breach, and found out the Social Security Administration does have a way to block electronic access to your records now, so I had that set up for me. The administration advised that it can be done whether you have an online account or not . There is additional information about this on the Social Security website: https://secure.ssa.gov/acu/IPS_INTR/blockaccess
Answer: When you block electronic access to your Social Security file, no one, including you, is able to see your records or change your information online or through the administrations automated phone service. Blocking access could prevent someone from tampering with your record, but it also could prevent you from detecting misuse of your Social Security number if someone is using it for employment or tax fraud. Blocking access certainly wont prevent other kinds of identity theft involving credit, medical care or criminal arrest. A better approach might be to set up an online Social Security account to prevent someone else from doing so fraudulently, and to monitor that account regularly.
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Can I Freeze My Child’s Report
If your minor children have credit files, it can be a good precaution to freeze those files. Underage children ordinarily have credit files only if you’ve made them an authorized user on a credit card or as a result of identity theft.
To freeze a credit report for someone under 16, you’ll need to prove you have authority to make that request. Proof of this authority can include:
- A court order
- A lawfully executed and valid power of attorney
- A document issued by a federal, state or local government agency in the United States attesting to your parental relation to the minor
- A birth certificate
You can thaw the files when the children come of age and are ready to begin seeking credit on their own.
What Is The Purpose Of Social Security Administration
Its main function is the management of social protection, a government program that ensures the economic well-being of people through payments to the retired, the unemployed or the disabled. The U.S. Social Security program is funded by mandatory contributions from employers, employees, and the self-employed.
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What To Do When Someone Is Using Your Social Security Number
When an identity thief has a victim’s Social Security number, he or she has a passport to commit Social Security fraud, identity theft, and many other crimes. This is one of the many reasons why people should never carry their Social Security cards in their wallets or purses. From the time of issuance when we’re children, Social Security cards should be stored in a safe location at home, away from credit cards, drivers’ licenses, and other personal information.
If you suspect that a criminal has your Social Security number, the Social Security Administration can help point you in the right direction, but it can’t fix your credit. You’re the only one who can do that. To that end, here are some things to do if someone is using your Social Security number to commit identity theft and Social Security fraud:
1. Stay cool and focused.While identity theft is stressful, you’re the only person who can help with this problem, and you can’t solve it in a week or a month. It will take time. Stay as calm and focused as possible, and methodically address the problem.
2. Contact the credit reporting agencies.Contact TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian to place a fraud alert on your credit report. Each agency is required to alert the other two when you place an alert. The alert will prevent a thief from opening any new accounts in your name.
Experian: 1-888-397-3742 www.experian.com
What To Do If Your Social Security Number Was Found On The Dark Web
Many members of the UC Berkeley community have recently received alerts from Experian that their Social Security numbers were found on the dark web, a part of the web that does not show up in online searches.
This occurred following news from the University of California about a cyberattack impacting the UC and hundreds of other organizations.
Individuals who have not yet signed up for the free credit and identity monitoring, and consequently who may not be aware of potential exposure of their information, shouldnow, said Jenn Stringer, Berkeleys associate vice chancellor for IT and chief information officer. For help with enrolling, call 617-1923 and reference engagement number DB26512.
Stringer acknowledged that receiving a message from a credit monitoring service about your Social Security number being found on the dark web can be unsettling. She received one herself and advises everyone to continue to check their notifications and follow the instructions .
Anthony D. Joseph, a Berkeley engineering professor and an expert in cybersecurity, noted the importance of the Experian alerts. The alerts provide you with important and specific information that you should then act on to help protect your credit and identity, he said. The sooner you are notified, and take action, the better.
Both Stringer and Joseph strongly recommend that individuals with their Social Security numbers found on the dark web do the following:
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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.
How To Find Someone’s Social Security Number
5 Ways to Find Someone Who Can Use Your Social Security Number to File a Formal Application with the Social Security Administration. This method is tricky. Check the status of the websites. This is a common remedy that you can take if the authority does not help you. Using a private investigator. Excavations Official motion of the court.
Access To Medical Care
One thing you need to watch out for if someone steals your social security number is the possibility of them using it to gain access to medical care with your details. They may be able to undergo medical treatment using your identity, which will ultimately affect your personal medical records.
False information on your health records could lead to disastrousconsequences. For example, if you needed a blood transfusion and the wrong blood type was given, it could be life-threatening. It can also impact your ability to access your medical insurance when you need it.
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You’re Locked Up With Ransomware
Ransomware is ugly, and it’s taken down everyone from FedEx and Merck to the city government of Atlanta. Ransomware is malicious software that locks up your computer or files, making it impossible to access them.
Anyone can be a victim. Criminals have even targeted individual people, who have ended up paying a few hundred bucks to free up their photo albums.
If you’re a victim of ransomware, you will typically lose access to your files, and you may receive an automatic message from a criminal offering to give you an encryption key that will unlock your files for a fee.
Back important files up. The best defense against ransomware is a good offense. If you back up your most important home files, then you may lose the hardware locked up by the ransomware, but you won’t have to pay money to a criminal to get back your data. The easiest way to do this is using free or low-cost personal backup storage programs like , Apple’s iCloud or Microsoft’s OneDrive.
Hunt for a decryption solution. There are also free databases of publicly available information that can help you decrypt many popular strains of ransomware, so if you are up to hunting down this information, you may be able to simply unlock your files without paying a cent to anyone or losing your computer. The No More Ransom project offers an easy-to-use interface, where you can type in details of the ransom demand or other information to find out if a solution already exists.
What To Do If Your Social Security Number Is Stolen
A Social Security number may be the single most important piece of government-issued identification that U.S. resident can have.
It’s definitely the most valuable piece of ID that identity thieves can get their hands on, especially when the number is combined with the rightful bearer’s name and address. Even just by itself, a valid SSN can be sold to undocumented workers or to people trying to hide their true identities.
A stolen SSN lets the thief, or the person he or she sells it to, do almost everything a legitimate SSN holder can do and more.
“You can close a credit card if it is compromised,” said Adam Dolby, senior manager of Alkami Technology. “But the problem is, you can’t close your SSN.”
If you discover your Social Security number has been stolen or otherwise misused by another person, there are several steps you’ll need to take right away.
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How Do I Replace My Lost Or Stolen Social Security Card
In normal times, the best ways to apply for a replacement card are to visit the Social Security Administrations website, go to a local SSA office or apply over the phone. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all local Social Security offices were closed to the public for in-person service starting March 17, 2020. The SSA no longer allows you to order a replacement card online or over the phone.
Currently, the only way to apply for a replacement card is to fill out an application and mail it to your local SSA Field Office, along with one proof of your identity, such as your drivers license, U.S. Passport, U.S. birth certificate, U.S. Military ID, or your last Physicians report showing your date of birth.
Once you receive your replacement card, dont put it in your purse or wallet. Keep it stored securely in a safety deposit box, or at home.
Contact One Of The Three Major Credit
To speak to Equifax, call its customer care number at 1-888-766-0008 or visit this web page to place a fraud alert. To start an Equifax credit freeze online, you’ll have to create an Equifax account, but you can do so without creating an account by calling 1-800-349-9960.
To contact Experian, call 1-888-397-3742 or go here for a fraud alert or here for a credit freeze. For TransUnion, the phone number is 1-800-680-7289 the fraud-alert link is here and the credit-freeze link is here.
A credit freeze can be inconvenient, but it’s the better option. With a freeze, no potential lender can access your credit file without your approval. That can be a bother if you plan to move, open a new bank account, buy a car or switch phone carriers, but you can easily “unfreeze” your credit and then freeze it again.
Thanks to a 2018 law, credit freezes are now free to implement, but you must contact each of the Big Three credit-reporting agencies separately to set them up.
Fraud alerts are easier to place the agency you place one with will contact the other two but they aren’t as useful. A fraud alert just requests that anyone pulling your credit file contact you first, but they don’t actually have to.
You can renew a fraud alert every year . Contact the Social Security Administration only to get a replacement card or replacement number .
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Filing An Ftc Report Report The Incident To The Ssa And Alert The Irs
Even if you contact the company in the previous step, consider filing a formal report with the FTC via IdentityTheft.gov. This government website will help you create a plan of recovery for your situation.
Lastly, report the incident to the Internal Revenue Service so that the identity thief does not file for your tax refund.
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.
When To Consider A Credit Freeze
If you experience a data breach or identity theft, consider suspending your credit report. This prevents an unauthorized person from using your personal information to request new credit accounts. Freezing your credit is important in these situations, as most lenders check your credit report before approving a new account.
How To Lock Your Ssn
To lock your Social Security number, visit the U.S. governments myE-Verify website and complete the necessary steps online. Youll need to enter your personal data, take a quiz, enter document data, and then get your results, says Katie Gampietro Burke, CFP and founder of Wealth by Empowerment. The Self Lock service is free and lasts for one year, she says, and participants will be given the opportunity to renew 30 days prior to the expiration date. The website also offers instructions to unlock your number at any time.
In addition, Adam Funk suggests writing to the three major credit bureaus Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax to lock your Social Security number. There may be a nominal fee of about $10 to process the request.
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