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.
How To Apply For A Replacement Social Security Card
If you lose your Social Security card, you may be able to apply for a replacement card online through the Social Security Administration website, if you meet certain requirements. Review them here. Otherwise, youll need to follow an application process that involves providing documentation and completing an application.
Here are 3 simple steps to prepare to apply for a replacement Social Security card:
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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Social Security Fraud: What Is It And How Do You Protect Yourself
Why do criminals want access to your social security number? One of the biggest reasons is so they can steal your identity, file false tax returns using your social security number, and collect a refund on the fake return they file.
The Social Security Administration first began issuing social security numbers in 1936. Since that year, more than 450 million social security numbers have been issued to people in the U.S.
Social security numbers are important identifiers for the population. They are used to verify identity, perform background checks, apply for credit, purchase a home, track earnings, pay taxes, determine benefits, and more.
Social security numbers are meant to be kept private, but people fall victim to social security scams and social security fraud every year.
In this article, well help you understand the basics of social security fraud. Well share the most common types of social security scams to watch out for, give you tips on how to recognize and protect yourself from fraud and provide you with resources that you can turn to if you fall victim to social security fraud.
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.
1To get the benefits of a Tally line of credit, you must qualify for and accept a Tally line of credit. The APR will be between 7.90% and 29.99% per year and will be based on your credit history. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
4 Late Fee Protection With a Tally line of credit, late fee protection is available on linked credits cards for users who are current on their account, in good standing, and have provided accurate credit card and bank account information.
6The portion of your credit line that can be paid to your cards will be reduced by the amount of the annual fee.
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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.
When Should I Use A Credit Freeze
It’s a good idea to consider a credit freeze in a few situations, including these.
- Youve been the victim of a data breach. If your personally identifiable information has been exposed, cybercriminals could try to open new accounts in your name. A credit freeze can provide an extra layer of protection. Lenders wont be able to access your credit file, making it unlikely that theyll grant credit to anyone using your Social Security number.
- You believe youve been the victim of identity theft. You may start receiving bills for accounts you dont recognize. Or you may receive calls from collection agencies seeking payment on accounts you never opened. These are likely signals that you might be the victim of identity theft. A credit freeze could help prevent criminals from opening more accounts using your personal information.
- You want to protect against identity theft for a child. A provision of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act authorizes parents or guardians of children under 16 to set up a credit report for their child and then freeze it at no cost. This can help you protect against child identity theft.
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Why Use Self Lock
Employment-related identity fraud could mean that someone else is working under your identity and using your SSN. If this happens, someone elses wages are being reported in your name to the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration and other authorities. By using Self Lock, you can block someone from committing this fraud if they start working for an E-Verify employer. Even if you are not currently working, you may want to protect your SSN and identity with Self Lock.
Protect Your Information Online
- Beware of phishing, emails that claim to come from a bank, Internet Service Provider, business or charity and ask you to confirm your personal information or account number. Forward the email to .
- Never send your SSN or financial account numbers by email or transmit these numbers online unless using a secure website or encryption software.
- Shop only on secure websites, and read website privacy policies
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Consider An Identity Protection Service
You can register with an identity protection service such as LifeLock, IdentityForce, or Identity Guard. Such companies charge fees that typically start around $10 a month. Banks and credit unions also have packages they sell to customers, as do major agencies such as Experian and TransUnion. Many of the best credit monitoring services also offer identity protection tools and services.
How To Know If Someone Is Using Your Childs Personal Information
In addition to taking steps to safeguard your childs personal information, keep an eye out for warning signs that someone is using your childs personal information. Here are a few:
- Youre denied government benefits because someone is already using your childs Social Security number to get those benefits.
- Someone calls you and says your child has an overdue bill, but its not an account you opened for the child.
- You get a letter from the IRS that says your child didnt pay income taxes. This could happen if someone used your childs Social Security number on tax forms for a new job.
- Youre denied a student loan because your child has bad credit. This could happen if someone used your childs Social Security number to get a credit card, open a cell phone account, or set up a utility service and has not paid the bills on time or at all.
Signs of Child Identity Theft
- Turned down for government benefits
- Letter from the IRS about taxes your child owes
- Childs student loan application is denied
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Safe Access To Your Account Information
We work with some financial websites and apps to give you control of your financial information and to keep it safe and private. When you use these websites to invest or help manage your finances, you’ll enter your chase.com username and password directly into a secure chase.com window from their website and you’ll only have to give access once.
If you’ve given access to one of our partners, you’ll see them in Linked Apps and Websites, where you’ll be able to remove their access. If you’ve linked your Chase account to apps and websites that aren’t included on that list, you can remove their access at any time by changing your password.
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.
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What You Need To Know Before Locking Your Social Security Number
While locking your SSN can help protect you from fraud, it may be an unnecessary step if you put some other precautions in place to help keep your sensitive data safe. Before locking your data, consider some of these best practices you can implement right away to reduce the risk of your personal information being compromised.
- Use strong passwords and two-step verification on financial accounts and any other sites or apps that store personal data.
- Dont give out your SSN over the phone or via unsecured online networks. Look for Web addresses that include https:// at the beginning of the URL before providing sensitive information .
- Shred paperwork with personal information listed on it dont just throw it in the trash.
- Use secured Wi-Fi networks and be cautious about replying to emails with requests for personal info.
- Install anti-virus software on any Internet-connected devices you use.
- Check your credit report annually and confirm its accurate. If you find an error, report it immediately.
Ultimately, theres no major downside to locking your Social Security number if you have no plans to take out loans or apply for new jobs in the near future.
Stop Junk Mail Spam Email And Unsolicited Phone Calls
Tear off the label, write your request to be removed on the label:
Fax it to the company.
Enclose the label in the postage-paid ordering envelope. Mark envelope “ATTN: customer service”.
You could pave the nation with the free discs these people send out. Call 1-800-605-4297, 24 hours a day, to get off the list. Tell them your first name is “current”, last name “resident” only.
- Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes You can get the Clearinghouse to stop clogging your mailbox by contacting customer service at 1-800-645-9242 , sending a fax to 1-800-453-0272, mailing to 101 Channel Drive, Port Washington, NY 11050, or you can send email to email@example.com. PCH will remove any number of names from a specific address, but you have to list each name exactly and insist nicely.
- American Family Sweepstakes Ed McMahon and Dick Clark will stop telling you “You have definitely won 11 million dollars ” if you call them at 1-800-237-2400. AFP is a division of Time-Warner.
- Local Business & Supermarket Fliers All mailings must be identified, by postal regulations. Each loose-leaf bundle of fliers, by postal regulations, must be delivered at the same time as an address card.
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Block Social Security Number
Electronic and phone access to SSN information can be blocked by contacting the Social Security Administration directly. They will ask you to verify your identification and confirm your intention to block access to Social Security information.
Blocking your number will prevent access by anyone, including you. If conditions change or you need access to your information, the block can be lifted either permanently or temporarily by contacting the Social Security Administration.
For questions and assistance with blocking your SSN, you also can call the Social Security Administration toll-free at 1-877-772-1213, or visit a Social Security office.
How Can I Place A Free Credit Freeze
Experian, TransUnion and Equifax maintain dedicated webpages where you can set up credit freezes. When requesting a credit freeze online, the bureau may supply, or have you create, a personal identification number or password to use when thawing or reactivating your freeze.
- Complete addresses for the past two years
- Date of birth
- One copy of a government issued identification card, such as a driver’s license, state ID card, etc.
- One copy of a utility bill, bank or insurance statement, etc.
Make sure that each copy is legible and displays your name and current mailing address and the date of issue. Send copies of any documents you wish to provide to us and always retain your original documents.
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Drawbacks Of Locking Your Ssn
It might not make sense to lock your Social Security number if you dont have reason to believe that your identity has been compromised or that youre at serious risk of identity theft.
- When your Social Security number is locked, you cant use it either
- You cant use it to apply for a new job
- You cant use it to apply for credit
- Potential lenders wont be able to access your credit report or credit score
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An Identity Protection PIN is a six-digit number that prevents someone else from filing a tax return using your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. The IP PIN is known only to you and the IRS. It helps us verify your identity when you file your electronic or paper tax return. Even though you may not have a filing requirement, an IP PIN still protects your account.
If you are a confirmed victim of tax-related identity theft and we have resolved your tax account issues, well mail you a CP01A Notice with your new IP PIN each year.
If you don’t already have an IP PIN, you may get an IP PIN as a proactive step to protect yourself from tax-related identity theft.
If you want to request an IP PIN, please note:
- You must pass a rigorous identity verification process.
- Spouses and dependents are eligible for an IP PIN if they can pass the identity verification process.
Tip : Consider An Identity Theft Protection Service
As identity thieves continue to evolve their methods for obtaining personal information, protecting your Social Security number is vital to protecting your identity.
Protecting your Social Security number doesnt have to be a do-it-yourself affair. An identity theft protection service can help. For instance, it may be able to alert you if your SSN has been found on the dark web. The cost of an identity theft protection service typically ranges from $10 to $35 per month.
Some identity theft protection services include features to monitor your credit reports, alert you when new accounts are opened in your name, or when banks, credit card companies or other financial services providers check your credit.
For example, if you recently bought a car, you might receive an alert for the new loan. However, if you receive an alert that a new credit card was opened in your name, and you didnt apply for one, that might be a sign of fraud. Some identity theft protection services allow you to respond to alerts via email, phone, and text messages.