Monday, May 16, 2022

How Do You Protect Your Social Security Number

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What To Do If You Lose Your Social Security Card

Protecting your social security number

Reading time: 5 minutes

Highlights:

  • Your Social Security number can be valuable information for identity thieves
  • Consider placing a security freeze or fraud alert on your credit reports if your Social Security card is lost
  • If you know your Social Security number has been stolen, there are some additional steps you can take

Your Social Security number is a valuable piece of information to identity thieves. Its a key element of your identity and is also linked to taxes and credit information. And except in limited circumstances, it cant be changed. Thats why its so worrisome to have your card lost or stolen.

Here are some steps to take for a lost or stolen Social Security card:

1. Consider placing a fraud alert or a security freeze on your credit reports or locking them. With an initial fraud alert, potential lenders and creditors are encouraged to take additional steps to verify your identity, such as contacting you by phone, before extending new credit. A fraud alert lasts for one year and can be renewed. Fraud alerts are free. Contact one of the three nationwide credit bureaus Equifax, Experian or TransUnion to request a fraud alert, and that bureau will notify the other two.

Options for locking your credit report may also be available from the three nationwide credit bureaus. Learn more about fraud alerts, security freezes and credit report locks.

You might also consider calling the Social Security Administration at 772-1213 to report the lost card.

What To Do If Someone Asks For Your Sin When Its Not Required

If someone asks for your SIN, ask questions. Ask why they need it, ask how they will use it, and ask who else will receive it. Explain that your SIN is not required by law and that you do not want to provide it. Offer to use a different proof of identity.

Ask to speak with the person in charge if you are denied service without providing your SIN. Many people are unaware of the appropriate uses of a SIN. Once they understand, they may change their practices.

If you are not happy with the response, you should file a complaint. To file a complaint call 1-800-282-1376 or visit the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada website.

You may choose to contact the association, ombudsman or complaint office of the group for the entity that asked for your SIN.

Protect Yourself From Sim Swapping

SIM swapping occurs when a bad guy calls your mobile service provider and asks for a replacement SIM card. This unauthorized SIM swapping is possible when a hacker has access to some of your confidential information and uses it as part of their social engineering scam.

If theyre successful in convincing your mobile provider to port your number, the attacker can intercept all your phone calls, SMS text messages, and potentially gain access to all accounts and services that are linked to your phone number.

Pro Tip: To protect yourself from unauthorized SIM swapping or number porting, set up a unique PIN or passcode with your mobile service provider. This would be a number that only you know that you have to use to access or make changes to your mobile account .

You can also use apps like , Authy, or method to add another layer of security. Apples two-step verification feature can send an OTP to a registered device whenever someone tries to log in from a new device. This adds an additional layer of non-SMS-based MFA security to your device.

In other words, even if the perpetrator inserts a replacement SIM card into a new device, they still cant activate it until they provide the OTP, which iOS sends only to your device or to another phone number linked/connected to your primary phone number. You can also set an app-specific password, so no one can open your apps without providing those passwords.

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How To Use Self Lock

To access Self Lock, you must be logged in to your myE-Verify account.

To lock your SSN, you must enter your SSN and date of birth. myE-Verify does not store your SSN when you create your account, so you must provide your SSN to “lock” it.

In addition, you must select and answer three challenge questions. Select questions you can easily answer, because you will need to answer them again to verify your identity if you receive an E-Verify Tentative Nonconfirmation due to Self Lock.

If you are about to start a new job with an E-Verify employer, you should log into your account and unlock your SSN.

Subscribe to the myE-Verify website to receive email updates. Follow on Twitter . Got questions on myE-Verify? Contact us

How Can You Protect Your Social Security Number

Money reVerse

Protecting your Social Security number comes from monitoring your credit at least once a month. When someone uses your Social Security number, there will be a note on your record, and you can check and notice transactions that were not made by yourself. When this happens, be sure to consult a fraud agency to help you keep your losses to a minimum.

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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

Why Would Someone Want To Steal Your Ssn

Identity thieves want your Social Security number essentially so they can commit fraud and steal money.

They do this by using your Social Security number in a variety of different ways such as:

  • Applying for jobs
  • Draining your existing bank account
  • Enrolling in health insurance
  • Getting medical treatment under your name
  • Signing up for a credit card
  • Applying for a passport
  • social media
  • websites that identity thieves use to trade stolen information

IDShield offers protection beyond identity theft with complete privacy and reputation management services to help keep your online identity and personal information private.

We have the most comprehensive coverage for identity protection and Social Security monitoring.

Our plans include:

Over half of consumers will experience identity theft each year if you experience identity theft it can take an average of six months to restore your identity. Protect yourself now and avoid future stresses, headaches, and financial issues that come from identity theft and fraud.

Learn how IDShield can help protect sensitive personal information

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Dont Share It When Organizations Dont Need It

While plenty of entities ask for your Social Security number, they dont always need it. Organizations that report information to the Internal Revenue Service such as employers, banks, states, and government entities may need your Social Security number for legitimate reasons. But other third parties, such as doctors offices, may ask for it even if they dont really need it . You should consider refusing to share your Social Security number with organizations that dont need it for a legitimate reason, as you arent legally required to share it with these entities. While the organization may tell you its required, they may not be able to provide a valid reason when asked. Consider telling them youd prefer not to share your Social Security number for privacy and security reasons and see how they respond.

Why Should You Care Your Phone Number

Protecting your Social Security number

As mobile phone numbers may leak your information. If others get our mobile phone number, they can directly search it to obtain more infromation If you have previously posted your mobile phone number online, or what you have sold in a second-hand platform forum, this information can also be easily accessed.

Also, hackers can save your cell phone number in the address book, then download various social software, add you as a friend through the address book. For example, add your tweets to your address book so that they can get more information of you.

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Alternate Identifiers: Not Necessarily A Foreign Concept

An organizations collection and use of SSNs can increase the risk of identity theft and fraud. Each time an individual divulges his or her SSN, the potential for a thief to illegitimately gain access to bank accounts, credit cards, driving records, tax and employment histories and other private information increases. Because many organizations still use SSNs as the primary identifier, exposure to identity theft and fraud remains.

We strongly urge all organizations that use SSNs as the identifier in their record keeping systems to use alternate identifiers. In recent years, a number of nationally known professional businesses and schools have moved from an SSN-based identification system to an alternate employee/student identifier. In fact in our region, which includes Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia, many places have found the cost of this conversion to be reasonable. Some have also stated that the increased peace of mind for all concerned has made any costs worthwhile.

A good example for using an alternate identification number relates to foreign-born students. Foreign students who do not have jobs or valid job offers are no longer eligible for SSNs under SSA regulation changes published in September 2004. Various educational institution record systems had to be changed to handle these students under alternate ID numbers.

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.

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Less Drastic Secure Options

Unless youre concerned that your identity is imminently at risk for theft, locking your number through your Social Security online account might not be necessary.

Here are 4 essential practices to protect your Social Security number and keep it secure:

  • Shred any paperwork that includes your number before throwing it away
  • Make sure your computers anti-virus software is up to date
  • Dont invite trouble by using open Wi-Fi networks
  • Be very suspicious of anyone who asks for your SSN, whether over the phone or by email
  • You might be asked to provide your Social Security account when you apply for certain services or when you seek medical care. You can decline to give your number, but the provider can then choose to deny you service.

    Before you provide your Social Security number, ask a few questions to help you decide whether that makes sense:

    • Why do they need your number?
    • How will it be stored?
    • Will it be shared with other companies?

    Contact The Social Security Administration

    Dont give your Social Security number at these places ...

    If you believe your Social Security number has been compromised, you should contact the Social Security Administration. Order a copy of your Personal Earnings and Benefits Estimate Statement and compare it to your work history. If you notice any employers or earnings you do not recognize, someone may be using your Social Security number for employment. Report any discrepancies to the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General and to the Federal Trade Commission.

    If necessary, the Social Security Administration may change your Social Security number. However, changing your number will be done only as a last resort when a very specific set of criteria have been met. Contact the Social Security Administration directly to determine the best course of action for you.

    Office of the Inspector GeneralSocial Security Administration 269-0271

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    What Are Other Tips I Can Use For Detecting Phishing Emails

    • Verify the sender. Exercise caution when receiving email from a sender you dont know or havent heard from in a long time. Hover over the From email address to ensure it matches the displayed email or name of the sender.
    • Look for poor choices in wording, phrasing, or spelling.
    • If an email includes a business name, telephone number, or website link, verify the legitimacy of these items by searching for the official number or website in a search engine.
    • Do not respond to emails requesting personal information. Reputable businesses and public agencies will not ask you for personal information in an email.

    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.

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    Getting A New Social Security Number Is Probably Not A Good Idea

    Victims of identity theft sometimes want to change their Social Security number. The Social Security Administration very rarely allows this. In fact, there are drawbacks to changing your number. It could result in losing your credit history, your academic records, and your professional degrees. The absence of any credit history under the new SSN would make it difficult for you to get credit, rent an apartment, or open a bank account.

    Be Judicious About What You Download And Install On Your Phone

    Protect YOur Social Security Number

    Not everything is as it appears. Be vigilant when installing apps or downloading images, videos, files, songs, email attachments, etc. from the internet. There are a few general rules of thumb to follow when downloading content from the internet:

    Only Download Files from Well-Known, Reputable Websites

    Scan all the files with your antivirus and antimalware programs before downloading them.

    Do Your Homework

    If youre installing a new or unknown app, research the app publishers and read the customer reviews online. 70% of mobile fraud originates from malicious apps.

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    California Law Limits The Public Display Of Social Security Numbers

    A California law bars organizations from publicly displaying SSNs2. The law prohibits:

    • Printing SSNs on ID cards or badges
    • Printing SSNs on documents mailed to customers, unless the law requires it or the document is a form or application
    • Printing SSNs on postcards or any other mailer where its visible without opening an envelope
    • Avoiding legal requirements by encoding or embedding SSNs in cards or documents, such as using a bar code, chip, or magnetic strip
    • Requiring people to send SSNs over the Internet, unless the connection is secure or the number is encrypted
    • Requiring people to use an SSN to log onto a web site, unless a password is also used
    • The law applies to businesses, government, and other entities.

    Contact Your Local Department Of Public Safety Driver License Office

    The Department of Public Safety can check their database to determine the last time a driver’s license was issued in your name. If that issue date is more recent than the last time you personally received a driver’s license, you should immediately report the fraud. Your local Driver License Office will determine the best course of action for your individual situation. Determine which DPS Driver License Office you should contact via the Internet or by contacting the Texas Department of Public Safety Driver License Division Customer Service Bureau.

    Texas Department of Public SafetyDriver License Divisionwww.txdps.state.tx.us

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    If You Have Been Affected By A Data Breach

    The Government of Canada is committed to protecting the integrity of the SIN program from fraud and misuse. It takes any breach of information very seriously.

    If you have been affected by a data breach, contact Canadas 2 major credit bureaus to monitor your file.

    • Equifax: 1-800-465-7166
    • TransUnion: 1-800-663-9980

    Regularly review your banking and credit card statements, especially after the credit monitoring service ends.

    If you notice any suspicious activity, immediately report it to the police, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, and inform Service Canada. This will help reduce the potential impact.

    Service Canada does not issue a new SIN for those affected by a data breach.

    How To Protect Your Social Security Number After A Hack

    Don

    If you clicked here just to confirm that you have nothing to worry about, sorry theres plenty to worry about. This is the part in the movie when the doctor takes off her mask and gloves with a defeated sigh and delivers the dreaded news: something went horribly wrong and were all potentially the patient shes talking about.

    You should have already done what I am about to tell you because theres a good chance your Social Security number has been compromised.

    Its Not About Breaches

    Well, it is but its not ONLY about breaches.

    But first, about those breaches More than 21 million Social Security numbers were exposed in the Office of Personnel Management compromise alone. Add Anthem, Premera, and Excellus and the tally of vulnerable numbers reaches more than 120 million, and thats not including the countless smaller, documented breaches involving SSNs that have occurred over the past five years or so.

    But like I said, its not only about breaches. Think of all the places that have your Social Security number that may not have the extra security protections of a government agency . Were talking about family doctors, schools, colleges, travel agents, lawyers, accountants and the measures taken to ensure that your SSN is not stolen are often minimal to non-existent.

    Here are some tips to better protect and monitor your credit, or contain the damage in the event you detect you are having an issue.

    1. Check Your Credit At Least Once a Year

    2. Look Into Credit Monitoring

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