Protect Documents With Personal Information
If you have documents with your childs personal information, like medical bills or their Social Security card, keep them in a safe place, like a locked file cabinet.
When you decide to get rid of those documents, shred them before you throw them away. If you dont have a shredder, look for a local shred day.
Get An Identity Protection Pin
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.
Whether And How To Get A New Social Security Number
Many stolen Social Security numbers are used simply to gain employment, with no detrimental effect to the legitimate holders of the SSN. But others are used to defraud banks, retailers, the IRS and other government agencies, which could trash your credit.
If several years pass after the theft of your Social Security number, and the problems arising from the theft have not gotten any better, then you may want to apply for a new SSN. But before you take that step, there are several things to consider.
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Checking Your Credit Score
The most common way to catch unauthorized activity is by checking your credit information. If an account appears that you did not initiate, someone is using your Social Security number.
You can check your credit score using a third-party service like or check with your credit card company to see if they have such a feature.
If youre applying for a new line of credit and get turned down, this could mean that there are fraudulent accounts or activities that are affecting your credit score.
Kinds Of Id Theft Using A Social Security Number
With the Equifax breach still fresh in our minds, many of us are wondering if our financeslet alone our identitiesare safe and secure. If youre one of the 145.5 million potential victims of the 2017 Equifax data breach, the hackers may have the so-called skeleton key to your finances and, ultimately, your identity: your one and only Social Security number.
What exactly can a thief do with your Social Security number? The answer isnt pretty, especially if they also have access to other personal data, as the Equifax hackers may.
Whether youve had your Social Security number stolen or are trying to keep it secure, its important to know what criminals can do with it, so you know how to recognize red flags.
One of the identity theft-related crimes most people think of is credit card fraud. However, credit card fraud may be just one of the crimes that can be committed if a criminal assumes your identity with your Social Security number and other personal information.
While stolen credit cards and the like can be cancelled and replaced, it can be difficult to obtain a new Social Security number. The Social Security Administration requires that you prove your identity and provide evidence that someone is misusing your Social Security number and causing you significant continuing harm. In fact, until you sort everything out, the Internal Revenue Service and other government entities may not know if you or the criminal who has stolen your identity is the real you.
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How Identity Theft Affects You And Your Taxes
Identity theft happens when your name and social security number are stolen and used fraudulently. This can include filing a tax return, making purchases, obtaining credit cards or loans, committing crimes, obtaining employment, establishing bank accounts, and obtaining housing or medical services. Any of these fraudulent activities could result in financial debt and unfavorable entries on your credit report. Children and deceased persons with SSNs can also become victims of identity theft.
Often you are unaware your identity has been stolen until you attempt to file your own tax return and learn that one has already been filed using your SSN. This leaves you faced with the daunting task of clearing your name and credit history by providing countless documents to prove your identity, and causes an extended waiting period for your tax refund, if any, to be processed. Additionally, in many instances fraudulent refunds cannot be recovered, and negatively impact state resources.
Follow these guidelines to help reduce the risk of having your identity stolen:
Tax return filing tip:
- File early! Although filing early does not guarantee that your identity will not be stolen, it may help prevent an attempt at stolen-identity tax fraud .
Using An Ip Pin To File
Enter the six-digit IP PIN when prompted by your tax software product or provide it to your trusted tax professional preparing your tax return. The IP PIN is used only on Forms 1040, 1040-PR and 1040-SS.
Correct IP PINs must be entered on electronic and paper tax returns to avoid rejections and delays. An incorrect or missing IP PIN will result in the rejection of your e-filed return or a delay of your paper return until it can be verified.
Dont reveal your IP PIN to anyone. It should be known only to your tax professional and only when you are ready to sign and submit your return. The IRS will never ask for your IP PIN. Phone calls, emails or texts asking for your IP PIN are scams.
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More Identity Theft Protection Resources
The IRS also advises that if you believe you may become a victim of identity theft, you should call the Identity Protection Specialized Unit , toll-free at 1-800-908-4490. The IPSU is available from 7 A.M to 7 P.M. in your local time zone.
If you believe your identity has been stolen, you should also report your stolen identity to the Federal Trade Commission and the local police.
Some other actions you can take to protect your identity are to not carry documents with your social security number or taxpayer identification number, shred your official documents, protect your financial information, and use an identity theft protection service. Check your credit once a year, and make sure you regularly update all of your passwords. Finally, you should not give personal information over the phone or electronically unless you know who you’re speaking with, and it is necessary to do so.
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 Employers Can Do If You Suspect Id Theft
Employers may receive a Notice of Application for Unemployment Benefits, a Request for Work Separation Information, or other form from TWC requesting information on a claim. If you receive a notice for an employee who is still working, or for a person who never worked for you, please respond to the notice immediately. See Responding to a Notice of Application for more information.
If your employee receives material from TWC for an unemployment claim they did not file, you should advise your employee to report the ID theft claim using TWCs online portal. While either you or your employee may report the suspected ID theft using the portal, we prefer that the information comes directly from the person whose identity was stolen. Your employee can find information about how to report ID theft in the section above.
Are There Any State Laws About Identity Theft
Massachusetts identity theft law requires businesses and others that own or license personal information of residents of Massachusetts to notify the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and the Office of Attorney General when they know or have reason to know of a breach of security. The law also requires that the breached entity notify consumers of any breach of their personal information that creates a substantial risk of identity theft or fraud as soon as practicable and without unreasonable delay after a breach occurs, except when a law enforcement agency determines that notice may impede a criminal investigation.
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Keep It In The Family Or Not
With family identity theft, the most common way you might handle it is by keeping it between yourselves. You are under no legal obligation to report identity theft to the police or authorities, nor are you obligated to file a lawsuit or pursue any other remedy that involves the government or the courts. If you so choose, you can do nothing at all.
Instead, you can try to resolve the situation between yourselves. Asking the family member to pay you back can be effective. Writing a basic contract that states the terms of repayment can also help. You might choose to forgive some, or all, of the owed debt, as long as the family member agrees to behave responsibly or assist you in clearing up any complications caused by the theft.
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:
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Request Information On Fraudulent Accounts
When you file your police report of identity theft, the officer may give you forms to use to request account information from credit grantors, utilities or cell phone service companies. If the officer does not do this, you can use the form in our Consumer Information Sheet 3A: Requesting Information on Fraudulent Accounts. When you write to creditors where the thief opened or applied for accounts, send copies of the forms, along with copies of the police report. Give the information you receive from creditors to the officer investigating your case.
Oregon Department Of Justice
The Oregon DOJ/Consumer Protection site has been redesigned to offer a better user experience, while retaining the information and resources our visitors rely on.
As with any transition, it may take a little extra time to find what you’re looking for. For your convenience, here are links to some important pages on the Consumer Protection section of the new website.
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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 PII including SSNs, credit cards, financial account information and birth dates, along with other important documents. 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. Get this exclusive limited-time offer today and save 20%.
**Originally published July 11, 2017. Updated April 14, 2021.**
If You Have Been Victim Of Fraud
You can ask for a new SIN only if you can prove that your SIN was used fraudulently.
However, getting a new SIN will not necessarily protect you from fraud or identity theft. If someone else uses your old SIN as identification and the business does not check the person’s identity with the credit bureau, credit lenders may still ask you to pay the impostor’s debts. Each time, you will have to prove that you were not involved in the fraud.
If we issue you a new SIN, you will need to contact all your financial institutions, creditors, pension providers and employers to ask them to update your files.
Note: Service Canada cannot correct a credit file. It is up to you to contact your financial institution, report any discrepancies and have them resolved.
If you have proof that someone else is using your SIN, an investigation is required.
An indication that your SIN is being used fraudulently is when you receive a Notice of Reassessment from the Canada Revenue Agency concerning undeclared earnings. This means that another person has used your SIN for employment purposes or to receive other taxable income.
You must visit your nearest Service Canada Centre with your original proof of identity documents and provide proof that another person has used your SIN.
Here’s what you will need to provide to Service Canada if you suspect someone is using your SIN:
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If You Are Contacted By A Debt Collector
Tell the debt collector that you are the victim of identity theft. Say that you dispute the validity of the debt. Say that you did not create the debt and are not responsible for it. Send the collector a follow-up letter saying the same things. Include a copy of your police report and of any documents youve received from the creditor. Write in your letter that you are giving notice to a claimant under California Civil Code section 1798.93, subsection that a situation of identity theft exists. Send the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested. If the debt collector is not the original creditor, be sure to send your letter within 30 days of receiving the collectors first written demand for payment.
Additional Suggestions For Victims Of Id Theft
Victims of identity theft are advised to take the following actions:
What Are The Dangers Of Losing My Social Security Card
Scammers will use stolen or highjacked phones and an SSN to access one-time passwords that allow them entry to bank accounts, credit cards, and other sensitive financial information. The thief can use this information to commit account takeover fraud and steal your money and additional personal information. One of the fastest-growing COVID-19-related identity theft crimes is tax fraud and identity theft, whereby thieves file a phony tax return in your name, hoping to snag a refund before you catch on. If your Social Security card is stolen, be sure to report the loss to the Internal Revenue Service. Another recent COVID-19 scam that cruelly exploits job losses involves filing phony unemployment claims using your SSN, birth date, name, or address.
Even if you havent had your Social Security card stolen or lost, you need to remain vigilant for scammers who call you claiming theres a problem with your SSN or account and try to get you to divulge personal information. If theres a legitimate problem with your number or account, the Social Security Administration will mail you a letter with your Social Security number. To learn how to respond to unsolicited robocalls or calls using caller ID spoofing, visit this SSA webpage.