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 Thieves Steal An Identity
Identity theft can start when someone gets and misuses your personal information such as your name and Social Security number, credit card number or other financial account information.
The thieves might use a variety of methods to steal your information, including:
- Skimming: Stealing credit/debit card numbers by using a special device on ATMs or when processing a purchase
- Phishing: Pretending to be a financial institution or other company and sending email or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information
- Pretexting: Pretending to be you when they call financial institutions, phone companies and other sources to get additional information
- Redirecting your mail: Filling out a change-of-address form to have your billing statements sent to an address they choose
- Old-fashioned stealing: Snatching wallets and purses, mail , pre-approved credit offers, new checks or tax information they can even steal a companys personnel records or enlist employees who have access to your information
- Dumpster diving: Rummaging through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it
Check Employer Verifications At My E
You can also check for the names of employers who have verified your eligibility to work in the U.S. if they went through the Department of Homeland Security E-Verify system. To do that, go to the myE-Verify webpage. If you see an employer whose name you do not recognize, someone else may be using your number to work in the U.S. The site also has a self-lock feature that lets you place a lock on your SSN.
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The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.
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
Regular Checks Of Your Credit Reports
Monitoring your credit reports on a regular basis provides early warnings of suspicious activity so you can take steps to deal with identity theft before extensive damage is inflicted on your financial accounts and credit scores. offers unlimited free TransUnion credit reports to its members. In addition to protecting against identity theft, regular reviews of credit reports can catch mistaken entries that may negatively affect your credit score.
Can I Get A Replacement If Ive Lost My Sin
- To replace your lost SIN, youll need to visit your local Service Canada branch. If you visit with all the appropriate documents, Service Canada will give you your SIN number on the spot.
- If you live more than 100 km from a Services Canada branch or cannot visit a Service Canada branch because of a special situation, you can make a SIN request by mail. But, before mailing your SIN request, you must first get permission from Service Canada by calling 1-800-206-7218 .
- Its important to note that you will only be issued a brand new SIN if you were the victim of identity theft or fraud. Check out Service Canadas Protecting your Social Insurance Number web page for details.
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Significant Changes In Your Credit Score
Your credit score is how the credit reporting agencies like Transunion, Equifax, and Experian track your credit history and creditworthiness. Your score is based on a number of factors like the length of time you have had credit, how much outstanding debt you have, and how many new accounts you have opened recently. If your score changes significantly, then it might be a sign that someone is using your SSN to open new credit accounts. If you notice this sudden change, then you should immediately get a copy of your credit report and examine it for accounts that do not belong to you.
Look For Unfamiliar Accounts On Your Credit Report
To find out how your Social Security number has been used, order credit reports from the three largest credit-reporting bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are entitled to one free report per year from each service. Take a close look at the entries on the reports for accounts that you don’t recognize, but don’t assume that every unknown name is fraudulent. For example, a department store credit card may be listed under the name of the financial institution that services the account. Generally speaking, when an SSN is stolen, accounts are opened quickly, so several unfamiliar accounts established over a short period could indicate identity theft.
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How Do You Check To See If Someone Has Been Using Your Social Security Number
In todays electronic world, it has become even easier for thieves to gain access to your sensitive personal information. Thousands of data breaches occur each year, and this only makes it more and more likely that you will become the victim of ID theft. All it takes is a scammer gaining access to your Social Security number, and then they are off to the races! These identity thieves show no mercy, and they can quickly wreck your finances.
There are steps you should take to make sure that no one has gained unauthorized access to your SSN. Staying ahead of things can make it much easier to fix any problems that might arise if you do happen to fall victim to Social Security identity theft. Here are some of the things that you need to do to see if someone is using your Social Security number.
You must keep a close eye on your credit report. You can obtain a free copy at annualcreditreport.com, and you should check it regularly. This is one of the first ways that you will notice someone has gained access to your SSN and is using it to open new accounts. Next, sign up for a My Social Security account at SSA.gov to view your latest Social Security statement. You can verify your earnings and work history to make sure that nothing suspicious appears there. It is also a good idea to get a copy of your latest tax transcript from the IRS. This will let you know whether anyone other than you has filed a tax return using your SSN.
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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Ask Questions Before Giving Out Your Social Security Number
Some organizations need your Social Security number to identify you. Those organizations include the IRS, your bank, and your employer. Organizations like these that do need your Social Security number wont call, email, or text you to ask for it.
Other organizations that might ask you for your Social Security number might not really need it. Those organizations include a medical provider, a company, or your childs school. Ask these questions before you give them your Social Security number:
- Why do you need it?
- How will you protect it?
- Can you use a different identifier?
- Can you use just the last four digits of my Social Security number?
Report The Crime To The Police
Under California law, you can report identity theft to your local police department.1 Ask the police to issue a police report of identity theft. Give the police as much information on the theft as possible. One way to do this is to provide copies of your credit reports showing the items related to identity theft. Black out other items not related to identity theft. Give the police any new evidence you collect to add to your report. Be sure to get a copy of your police report. You will need to give copies to creditors and the credit bureaus. For more information, see Organizing Your Identity Theft Case” by the Identity Theft Resource Center, available at
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Password Reset Emails In Your Inbox
If you begin receiving mysterious password reset emails, then this could signal a problem. This could be a sign that someone is attempting to change the password to your accounts without your knowledge. Never click on the links in these emails. It could be a phishing scam designed to capture your SSN or other sensitive information. If the email is from an account or company you recognize, then you should log on directly to their website and change your password immediately. If someone has gained access to your account, then changing your password should keep them out going forward.
How Do I See If Someone Is Using My Social Security Number
Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing whether someone has your Social Security number until they use it. Some companies offer dark web monitoring, which tracks your information across areas of the internet typically reserved for criminal activities. Your information often ends up on the dark web if you are the victim of a data breach.
However, even if your information appears on a dark web scan, there’s no way to guarantee that someone has your SSN specifically or that they are using it.
To check to see if someone is using your SSN, consider checking your credit report. You can do this online through AnnualCreditReport.com, the only authorized website for free credit reports. You can also use the Annual Credit Report phone number to request your credit report.
Once you have your credit report, review it to see if anything is out of the ordinary. Carefully confirm your accounts and open lines of credit to make sure all of the information in these sections is legitimate. If not, someone may be fraudulently using your information.
Lastly, you may also want to view your Social Security Statement. This document will show whether someone has begun withdrawing against your Social Security account earnings, which is another tell-tale indicator that someone is using your SSN.
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Signing Up For Credit Monitoring
Your credit card company or one of the credit bureaus may offer free credit monitoring, especially if you have previously been the victim of identity theft or a data breach. If not, you can purchase the service. These services monitor your credit reports for suspicious activity and alert you when a new account is opened using your information.
Protect Documents That Have Personal Information
Keep your financial records, Social Security and Medicare cards, and any other documents that have personal information in a safe place. 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, or use a marker to block out account numbers.
If you get statements with personal information in the mail, take your mail out of the mailbox as soon as you can.
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If You Are Wrongly Accused Of A Crime Committed By An Identity Thief
“Criminal identity theft” is a label given to a particular type of identity theft. Criminal identity theft occurs when a suspect in a criminal investigation identifies himself or herself using the identity of another, innocent person. A special database in the California Department of Justice can help victims of this kind of identity theft. See our Consumer Information Sheet 8: How to Use the California Identity Theft Registry- A Guide for Victims of “Criminal” Identity Theft.
Sowhat Do You Do If Someone Is Using Your Social Security Number
A stolen SSN causes endless headaches. So its important to act as soon as you notice that someone is using your Social Security number. Any delay could mean loans taken out in your name or a stolen tax refund in other words, hours of your time to unravel the mess!
The Social Security Administration recommends the following:
Even if your Social Security number isnt being used improperly, there are still a litany of other threats to your privacy. But there are ways to counter those threats! Heres what to do if your identity is stolen.
You’ve Found Your Old 401s Now What
Once you’ve located your old 401s, you have a few options. Some come with penalties, some require taxes to be paid, and some don’t require either.
You have the option to cash out all of the funds in your old 401s. However, the IRS will charge you a 10% early withdrawal penalty. In very few cases, can this penalty be waived, so it’s best to leave it saved until you’re at least 59Â½.
Secondly, you can rollover your old 401s into your current employer-sponsored plan. This comes with no penalty or taxes. Because you are rolling it over into another retirement account, you won’t incur any additional costs in doing so.
Lastly, you can consolidate your 401s into an IRA. Like a 401, an IRA is a retirement account, so it’s free from any penalties and taxes. These are held outside of your employer’s 401 plan, but they’re easy to set up and come with many more investment options.
Report The Fraud To The Three Major Credit Bureaus
You can report the identity theft to all three of the major credit bureaus by calling any one of the toll-free fraud numbers below. You will reach an automated telephone system and you will not be able to speak to anyone at this time. The system will ask you to enter your Social Security number and other information to identify yourself. The automated system allows you to flag your file with a fraud alert at all three bureaus. This helps stop a thief from opening new accounts in your name. The alert stays on for 90 days. Each of the credit bureaus will send you a letter confirming your fraud alert and giving instructions on how to get a copy of your credit report. As a victim of identity theft, you will not be charged for these reports. Each report you receive will contain a telephone number you can call to speak to someone in the credit bureaus fraud department.
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