Thursday, June 16, 2022

How To Freeze Your Social Security

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How To Keep Your Social Security Number Secure

Put a Security Freeze On Your Credit To Keep It Secure
  • Suggest an alternative form of identification. If a company or organization asks for your social security number, please provide your driver’s license number.
  • Ask why and how the citizen service number is managed. Ask questions if the company insists.
  • Leave the card at home.
  • Destroy mail and documents containing personal data.
  • Do not use your citizen service number as a password.

Who Really Owns The Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve System is not owned by anyone. The Federal Reserve was created in 1913 by the Federal Reserve Act to serve as the nations central bank. The Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., is an agency of the federal government and reports to and is directly accountable to the Congress.

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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.

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How To Call Social Security

Method 4 of 4. Contact Social Security outside the United States. Download the Meet Up article from your local embassy. The United States has embassies all over the world. Write to the Social Security Department. Even if you or one of your family members receives a benefit and you want to apply for it, write to this address. Contact social security by phone. Use another online social security service to resolve your issue.

How Can A Thief Use Your Social Security Number

What Is a Social Security âDisability Freezeâ??
  • He commits crimes under his own name. Surprise surprise.
  • Open financial accounts in your name. Banks use your social security number as the primary means of obtaining information about you.
  • Theft of medical data. Another type of Social Security number scam that has long-term consequences is medical theft.
  • File a false tax refund.
  • Steal your benefits.

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When Should I Add A Fraud Alert

You should learn more about fraud alerts and consider adding one if you:

  • Are a victim of fraud or identity theft, or suspect you are a victim.
  • Find information in your credit report that doesn’t belong to you.
  • Discover unexplained transactions or withdrawals from your bank account.
  • Receive notice that your personal data was exposed in a security breach.
  • Get notices you don’t understand from collection agencies or the IRS.

What Is A Security Freeze

A security freeze blocks access to your credit unless you have given your permission. This can prevent an identity thief from opening a new account or getting credit in your name. All consumers can get a free security freeze online, by phone or by mail. A security freeze, also known as a credit or a file freeze, can be lifted temporarily when you are applying for credit, or removed permanently. Parents and guardians can also shield their childrens credit report with a special Protected Consumer security freeze. These freezes can also be used to safeguard incapacitated adults.

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Make Sure Your Credit Is Actually Frozen

When you attempt to place a freeze on your credit report, theres a good chance a credit bureau will try to sell you extra credit monitoring services or talk you into a fraud alert instead. . The key here is theres no mandate saying the lender has to verify your identity meaning they might go ahead and open the account anyway.)

When you attempt to place a freeze on your credit report, theres a good chance a credit bureau will try to sell you extra credit monitoring services or talk you into a fraud alert instead.

Another thing a bureau might try to sell you? A credit lock, which usually comes as part of a credit monitoring service and gives consumers the option to lock and unlock their credit through the bureaus website or app. The result is similar to a freeze, but one big difference is the price of the service. For example, Experian offers a first-month introductory price of $4.99 then bumps it up to $24.99 a month after that. For TransUnion, a credit lock costs $19.95 a month. Equifax has said that starting January 31, it will offer free credit locks for life for consumers. A credit lock gets extremely expensive, and every bureau has a different fee range on it, says Jerry Irvine, CIO of Prescient Solutions. For Illinois, is $10 a request a heck of a lot cheaper than that $25 a month.

If Youre Over 18 Create A My Social Security Account

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Anyone over the age of 18 can set up an account with the Social Security Administration . Thats in case you need to apply for disability benefits or access income summary statements to plan ahead for how much you can expect once youre eligible for benefits. So why create an account even if retirement is far off? If you dont, a criminal could do it on your behalf and then apply for disability benefits , apply for Social Security benefits or redirect benefits into a new bank account. Ive had people where, when they turned 70, they contacted Social Security only to find out Social Security was paying someone under their identity for five years already, says Carrie Kerskie, director of the Identity Fraud Institute at Hodges University. Just make sure that if you plan on creating a my Social Security account and freezing your credit , create the account first.

Employment identity theft when someone uses your information to obtain a job is another form of identity theft.

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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.

Free Security Freezes By Mail

Your letter should include:

  • Your full name including middle initial and any suffix
  • Your home addresses for the last five years
  • Your Social Security number and date of birth
  • Two proofs of residence
  • Police or DMV report if youre a victim of identity theft

Note: The credit bureaus already have your name and other personal information in their files. You will be providing it to verify your identity.

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How Can I Check To See If Someone Is Using My Social Security Number

To see if your Social Security number is being used by someone else for employment purposes, review your Social Security Statement at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount to look for suspicious activity. Finally, youll want to use additional scrutiny by regularly checking your bank and credit card accounts online.

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Beware Of Familiar Fraud

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Unfortunately, many children are victimized by a family member or a close friend who gains access to their Social Security number. In fact, most children who are the victim of identity theft know the person who committed the crime. In addition, the personal devastation makes it one of the most under-reported crimes. Thatâs because many people are uncomfortable filing a police report that names a loved one.

If you find yourself in this situation, Ulzheimer says you have one other option: accepting tacit liability and going through the process of settling the debts yourself. Getting those balances in good standing wonât get those accounts off your childâs credit report, but it will stop any further attempts to collect the debt.

âThe problem, however, is that the damage has been done,â Ulzheimer says. âAnd the byproduct of that is going to remain on this credit report for up to seven years.â

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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.

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What To Do If Your Childs Identity Is Stolen

If you do happen to uncover a fraudulent account in your childâs name, you may want to consider filing a police report.

âYou have rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act that if you file some sort of report with an enforcement agency, you can take that to the credit bureaus to have that stuff purged and permanently removed,â Ulzheimer says. âYou can also get out from any liability issues with respect to the debt.â

Youâll also want to visit IdentityTheft.gov to report the fraud, unlock resources from the Federal Trade Commission and create a recovery plan.

No matter how you choose to move forward, freezing your kidsâ credit is one of the best tools for securing their identities and preventing future abuse. The process shouldnât take more than an hour or so of your time, which is a small price to pay to safeguard their financial future.

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What You Need For Request A Credit Report Security Freeze

  • Your full name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth
  • Addresses where you lived over the previous five years
  • Proof of current address such as a utility or phone bill
  • A photocopy of a government issued identification card
  • If you are an identity theft victim, include a copy of the police report, investigative report, or complaint

Do You Have A Security Freeze Or Fraud Alert On Your Credit Report

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If you have a security freeze, fraud alert, or both on your credit report, you can still open a mySocial Security account by temporarily lifting it.

  • Contact our Identity Services Provider and request that they temporarily lift your security freeze or fraud alert.
  • Create a mySocial Security account online after lifting the security freeze or fraud alert.
  • Reinstate the security freeze or fraud alert with the Identity Services Provider if needed. When you request a temporary lift of your credit freeze or fraud alert, the Identity Services Provider may automatically reinstate it after your temporary lift expires.
  • If you dont want to temporarily lift your security freeze or fraud alert, you can visit your local Social Security office to open an account in person. For more information on security freezes and fraud alerts, read the Federal Trade Commissions .

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    Youre Locked Up With Ransomware

    Ransomware is ugly, and its 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 youre 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 wont 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 , Apples iCloud or Microsofts 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.

    Is It Necessary To Freeze Your Credit

    Sometimes it is necessary to freeze your credit report. This can help prevent identity theft from opening new lines of credit and other accounts in your name. This is often recommended when it comes to the consequences of identity theft. Loan blocking allows you to restrict access to your credit report.

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    Manage Your Credit Freeze

    How long does it take to freeze your credit? According to federal law, if you request a credit freeze online or by phone, the credit agency must place the freeze within one business day. When youre ready to lift a freeze, the agency must lift it within one hour of your request.You can request or lift a credit freeze by mail. In that case, the credit agency must place or lift the freeze within three business days after it receives your request.

    Freeze Your Childs Credit Report

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    If your child is under 16, you can request a free credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, to make it harder for someone to open new accounts in your child’s name. The freeze stays in place until you tell the credit bureaus to remove it.

    To activate a credit freeze, contact each of the three credit bureaus. Find their contact information at IdentityTheft.gov.

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    What Is A Disability Freeze

    The Social Security Administration will review your work history and monthly income if you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance or retirement benefits. Both of these factors are taken into consideration when determining whether or not you qualify for benefits and the benefit amount. Therefore, periods of unemployment or lower earnings could make you ineligible for benefits or lower the amount of benefits you are awarded. To prevent this from happening, the SSA established the disability freeze.

    A disability freeze puts your work and earning history on pause during periods where your disability impacted your ability to work. Basically, a disability freeze ensures that your work and earning history from your period of disability does not impact your future benefits. The SSA will not look at your work or earning history from this period of time when calculating benefits for you in the future.

    Are A Credit Freeze And Credit Lock The Same Things

    A credit freeze and credit lock both have the same result: They restrict access to your credit. They both can be “turned on” and “turned off,” although credit locks are typically easier to unfreeze. The main difference, however, is that a credit freeze is free by law, whereas credit locks are services offered by the credit bureaus that come with a monthly fee.

    A direct deposit of news and advice to help you make the smartest decisions with your money.

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    How To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

    A month past the Equifax breach the largest known theft of Social Security numbers in history attorneys general around the country and members of Congress are launching both investigations into how this happened and bills to stop it from happening again. Those things, however, take time. And in the interim, your personal data is still at risk. Breaches continue to happen, an average of more than one every single day, according to the Privacy Rights Clearing House. So the big question is what can you do to protect yourself right now.

    The answer is more substantial than simply freezing your credit. Here are five things to consider.

    Check If Your Child Has A Credit Report

    Lifting or Removing a Security Freeze on Your Credit Report

    Generally, a child under 18 wont have a credit report unless someone is using his or her information for fraud. A good way to find out if someone is using your childs information to commit fraud is to check if your child has a credit report. To do that, contact the three credit bureaus and ask for a manual search for your child’s Social Security number. You may have to give the credit bureaus a copy of

    • your drivers license or other government-issued identification card
    • proof of your address, like a utility bill, or a credit card or insurance statement
    • your childs birth certificate
    • your childs Social Security card

    If youre not the childs parent, you may have to give the credit bureaus a copy of documents that prove you are the childs legal guardian.

    When Your Child Turns 16

    When your child turns 16, you may want to check if theres a credit report in his or her name. This could help you spot identity theft, since children under 18 usually dont have a credit report. If theres inaccurate information in your childs credit report, youll have time to correct it before he or she applies for a job, a college loan, a car loan, or a credit card, or tries to rent a place to live.

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