Letters In The Mail From The Irs Or The Bank
For whatever reason, the Internal Revenue Service will never contact you via phone. They will always communicate through the mail, so if you receive a letter from them, then that should be a red flag. Unless you have tax trouble, then communication from the IRS could signal problems. Someone might be using your SSN to illegally obtain tax refunds or perform other fraudulent activity. Letters from your bank could be a sign of similar problems.
Use Identity Theft Monitoring
The best way to keep an eye on your information and other personal data is to use identity monitoring. You will receive notifications and alerts every time a breach or exposure of your personal information occurs, or your details are found on scam sites. Prevent becoming a victim of financial scams by proactively monitoring your identity with identity theft protection and credit monitoring.
You must protect your SSN with every available protection. Your social security number is your unique identifier, and it could be used against you in many ways. Do all you can and do yourself the favor of signing up for credit and identity theft monitoring to keep yourself safe.
Dont Give Out Your Social Security Number If You Dont Have To
Medical forms and school forms, for instance, should not require Social Security numbers. If someone demands it, ask how it will be used and how it will be stored. See if you can give an alternative form of ID instead, such as your passport or drivers license. If you are a contractor who must provide a Social Security number to numerous firms, ask your accountant whether its worth creating an LLC . This will then allow you to apply for a federal tax ID number, which can be used in place of a Social Security number, Basically, only institutions that need to submit to the IRSâsuch as the company youre employed at, the unemployment office or banksâactually need your Social Security number. After all, said Steinberg, if you give your number to 20 parties, your chances of having it stolen is that much bigger.
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Measures You Can Take To Prevent Identity Theft
- Do not routinely carry your SSN.
- Never say your SSN aloud in public.
- Beware of phishing scams to trick you into revealing personal information.
- Create a personal account to help you keep track of your records and identify any suspicious activity.
- Consider adding these blocks to your account with us:
- The eServices block It prevents anyone, including you, from seeing or changing your personal information on the internet. Once we add the block, you or your representative will need to contact your local office to request removal of the block.
- The Direct Deposit Fraud Prevention block This prevents anyone, including you, from enrolling in direct deposit or changing your address or direct deposit information through or a financial institution . Once we add the block, you or your representative will need to contact your local office to request removal of the block or make any future changes to direct deposit or contact information.
Someones Got Your Number What Can You Do
Figuring out that someone has your Social Security Number is one thing. Fixing the problem is another. If you think someone is using your Social Security Number, you need to move quickly.
You have four things you need to do. You need to contact the Federal Trade Commission to report identity theft, contact the credit reference agencies to report the theft, contact the Social Security Administration, and contact your local police.
- The FTC is at 1-877-438-4338 or . There is a form to complete to report identity theft.
- Contact the three credit reference agencies and ask them to place a freeze on your credit report. This will prevent any new applications being created in your name. This will stop more debt from piling up.
- Contact the SSA on 1-800-269-0271 or Log on to the IRS Identity Protection website to alert them and prevent any tax returns from being filed in your name.
- Optionally, but recommended, alert the Internet Crime Complaints Center at . They alert other agencies that your SSN has been compromised.
Once all that has been done, report the crime to your local police. If you know how the theft took place, for example, you had your wallet stolen, the police will want to know where the theft would have happened, and what transpired.
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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.
Avoiding Social Security Fraud: Leave Your Social Security Card At Home
Once you receive your replacement Social Security card, lock it away in a safe place until you absolutely need it. Experts advise to avoid carrying your card around on a regular basis partly because of the risk of losing it again, and partly because you really dont need to present your Social Security card on a regular basis. In fact, one Social Security expert says that Social Security cards are irrelevant in the digital age, and the real priority should be targeted at fraud protection.
Its extremely rare that you need your actual Social Security card, says Steven J.J. Weisman, Esq., an Amherst, Massachusetts-based college professor whose expertise is in investigating white-collar crime. A Social Security number is the most important piece of information that a criminal can use to make you a victim of identity theft so you shouldn’t carry it with you in your wallet, anyway.
But if you do lose your card, Weisman recommends taking direct action to protecting the cardholder from financial fraud.
Because of the danger of identity theft if your Social Security card is lost, you should put a credit freeze on your credit reports at each of the three major credit reporting agencies in order to prevent someone from leveraging the Social Security number into accessing your credit or establishing accounts in your name, he says.
Other data security experts agree, citing the high risk of losing a card if you cart it around in your wallet or pocketbook.
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Where Do I Report Fake Social Security Calls
You should report fake Social Security calls to the Office of the Inspector General . You can use the Scam Reporting Form on their website to report these calls. Providing as much detail as possible will help the SSA investigate these calls and attempt to find the parties responsible for the calls. You can also notify the FTC of these calls, although they encourage you to make your report to the OIG. You can also report Social Security fraud to the OIG Social Security fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271.
Internet Crime Complaint Center
The IC3 is a joint venture between the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and the National White Collar Crime Center. If a crime has occurred, complete a complaint form at www.ic3.gov/Home/FileComplaint. They will share the information you give them with relevant law enforcement organizations in your local area and state, plus federal and international agencies.
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Notify Your Bank And Cancel Your Accounts
When identity theft occurs, you’ll need to contact your bank. They’ll assist you through the process of canceling your checking account, savings account and obtaining new credit cards. You’ll need to transfer all your funds from the old accounts to your new accounts, and set up a new instance of online banking as well.
When To Provide Your Sin
The most common uses of your SIN are :
- after being hired
- when completing your income tax information
- when opening an account from which you earn interest at a bank or credit union
- when accessing government programs and benefits
The Social Insurance Number Code of Practice lists the federal programs that are permitted to use the SIN.
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File A Police Report Documenting Your Identity Theft
After youve contacted the FTC, report the matter to your local police department. Youll need to file an Identity Theft Report, which is a particular kind of police report that contains specific details related to instances of identity theft.
Filing a police report/Identity Theft Report is vital. You must do it order to be entitled to certain legal rights . Before you leave the police station, get a point person. Write down the full name, badge number and phone number of the police officer that will be investigating your case.
What Should You Do If You Think Your Social Security Number Has Been Stolen
If you think your SSN has been stolen, you should immediately reach out to your banks, credit card companies and other financial services providers to let them know. Youll also want to inform the three main credit bureaus. Its a good idea to file a police report to have an official record, and make sure to check the FTCs official recommendations, which list who to notify and how.
Having your identity stolen can wreak havoc on your personal and financial life, but being as careful as possible with your SSN can help protect you. If you do find yourself the victim of identity theft or fraud, you may need to seek help from a or legal counsel.
Reviewed by Anna Grozdanov, Associate Attorney at Lexington Law Firm. by Lexington Law.
Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.
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How Does Identity Theft Happen
Your personal or financial information can be stolen in several ways. Losing your wallet, not logging out of public computers, or accessing public WiFi without encryption can all leave your valuable information in the wrong hands. Likewise, clicking on dangerous links that run vicious viruses or not being careful enough while browsing the dark web are risky behaviors too.
Your information could also be compromised by large-scale corporate data breaches. In 2017, Equifax was hacked, with millions affected. 2019 saw another malicious attack when Capital Ones database was breached, with over 100 million Americans affected. Here are some tips that can keep you safe:
And remember, your best bet is to use an abundance of caution when online.
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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How Will I Know If My Identity Was Stolen
Here are ways you can tell that someone is using your information:
- You see withdrawals from your bank account that you cannot explain.
- You find credit card charges that you didnt make.
- The Internal Revenue Service says someone used your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job.
- You do not get your bills or other mail.
- You get bills for utilities or medical services you did not use.
- Debt collectors call you about debts that are not yours.
- You find strange accounts or charges on your credit report.
Tips For Recognizing Identity Theft
Below are some tips for recognizing when you have possibly been a victim of identity theft:
- If you did not receive an expected bill or statement by mail – or you receive a bill for something you didn’t order.
- If unexpected charges occurr on your account credit cards.
- If there are charges on your account from unrecognized vendors.
- If posted checks appear on your Bank account significantly out of sequence.
- If you receive credit cards that you didn’t apply for, in your name or someone else’s!
- If you are denied credit or are offered less than favorable credit terms for no reason.
- If you get calls from creditors or debt collectors regarding merchandise or services that you did not buy.
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on Thu Sep 06 2018
You probably already realize that keeping your social security number secure is really important. But have you ever thought about why its so important?
What an attacker can do with a stolen SSN
Different Types Of Identity Theft
Identity Theft and your Driver’s License Number / Fraud
- If your driver’s license number has been used to open accounts or verify checks, contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
Identity Theft / Fraud Involving Your Passport
- Notify the U.S. State Department’s Passport Services Department of the identity theft so that it can intercept anyone ordering a new passport in your name.
When dealing with authorities regarding your Identity Theft issues:
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What Comes First In My Recovery Plan
The first step of your recovery plan is to call the credit bureaus. Ask the credit bureau for an initial fraud alert. It is free and lasts for 90 days. The fraud alert makes it harder for thieves to open accounts in your name.
The next step is to ask all three credit bureaus for a credit report. If someone stole your identity, your credit report is free. Look at your credit report for things you do not recognize.
What Is Identity Theft
Identity theft is when a cybercriminal steals your personal and/or financial information. This could be personal information like your birthdate, Social Security number, or email address and phone number. Or and even more dangerous when your financial information is stolen, giving someone access to your bank account, login information, or credit card numbers.
Identity theft is all too common. The Federal Trade Commission estimates as many as 9 million Americans have their identity stolen each year. With the rise of telehealth and other online experiences, this number is expected to grow. The resulting headache istime-consuming, costly, and stressful the average cost of resolving identity fraud was $1,343, and it can take weeks or even months to unravel.
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