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.
Contact One Of The Three Major Credit
To speak to Equifax, call its customer care number at 1-888-766-0008 or visit this web page to place a fraud alert. To start an Equifax credit freeze online, you’ll have to create an Equifax account, but you can do so without creating an account by calling 1-800-349-9960.
To contact Experian, call 1-888-397-3742 or go here for a fraud alert or here for a credit freeze. For TransUnion, the phone number is 1-800-680-7289 the fraud-alert link is here and the credit-freeze link is here.
A credit freeze can be inconvenient, but it’s the better option. With a freeze, no potential lender can access your credit file without your approval. That can be a bother if you plan to move, open a new bank account, buy a car or switch phone carriers, but you can easily “unfreeze” your credit and then freeze it again.
Thanks to a 2018 law, credit freezes are now free to implement, but you must contact each of the Big Three credit-reporting agencies separately to set them up.
Fraud alerts are easier to place the agency you place one with will contact the other two but they aren’t as useful. A fraud alert just requests that anyone pulling your credit file contact you first, but they don’t actually have to.
You can renew a fraud alert every year . Contact the Social Security Administration only to get a replacement card or replacement number .
If You Have Been Issued A New Sin
If you receive a new SIN, contact all your banks, creditors, pension providers and employers so that they may update your files.
Note: Service Canada cannot correct a credit file.
A new SIN will not protect you from fraud or identity theft. If someone uses your old SIN and a business does no t check your account with the credit bureau, you may need to pay the impostors debts. Every time someone else uses your old SIN fraudulently, you will have to prove that you were not involved in the fraud.
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You May Be Able To Apply For A Replacement Card Online
You can use a to apply for a replacement Social Security card online if you:
- Are a U.S. citizen age 18 or older with a U.S. mailing address
- Are not requesting a name change or any other change to your card and
- Have a drivers license or state-issued identification card from one of the many participating states or the District of Columbia.
If your drivers license or state-issued identification card was issued by one of the states listed below, this service is not yet available. If your state appears on this list, please check back. We are working to make this service available to additional states.
- West Virginia
This service is also not yet available if your drivers license or identification card was issued by a U.S. territory .
If you are a U.S. citizen, and have not gotten a replacement Social Security card or name change recently, you may not be eligible to use the online replacement card application inmySocial Security.
If you dont have a mySocial Security account, you can create one today. To set up your account, go to:
If you do not qualify to apply online for a card, please follow the instructions in the next section.
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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Check Your Banking Relationships
You will also want to check your major banking relationships because a stolen SSN could be just the beginning of a larger identity theft scheme aimed at your financial accounts, Pierson said. At a minimum, be sure to change your password and access to each of your bank accounts. Make sure your financial accounts also have dual-factor authentication turned on so that no one else can gain access to the account.
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 To Check If Someone Else Is Using Your Social Security Number
The rise of technology has brought new threats to your personal data and its security. Identity theft is a crime that strikes at the heart of a modern citizens wealth, employment, social services, and more. Our identity specifically, the electronically-encoded identity that serves as the gateway to our bank accounts, to our home security systems, to our e-mail and network resources can be stolen by unscrupulous people and used for crimes great and small.
At best, an identity thief may use part of your identity as the launchpad for some phony persona that they are using to commit acts of fraud and light scams. At worst, they can drain your bank accounts, destroy your credit rating, and wipe out your hard-earned retirement benefits. Identity theft is not a minor crime in 2018, more than 60 million Americans reported that they were affected by identity theft.
Take Action If You Are A Victim
There are steps you can take if your Social Security number or other personal information is compromised.
If your Social Security number is compromised and you know or suspect you are a victim of tax-related identity theft, the IRS recommends these actions:
- Respond immediately to any IRS notice: Call the number provided.
- If your e-filed return is rejected because of a duplicate filing under your Social Security number, or if the IRS instructs you to do so, complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit PDF. Use a fillable form at IRS.gov, print, then attach the form to your return and mail your return according to instructions.
- Visit IdentityTheft.gov for steps you should take right away to protect yourself and your financial accounts.
See Identity Theft Victim Assistance: How It Works for more information about how the IRS can help you.
If you previously contacted the IRS and did not have a resolution, contact us for specialized assistance at . We have teams standing by to help you.
If you believe someone has filed a fraudulent return in your name, you can get a copy of the return. See Instructions for Requesting a Copy of Fraudulent Returns.
Not all data breaches or computer hacks result in tax-related identity theft. Its important to know what type of personal information was stolen.
You can report other suspicious online or emailing phishing scams to .
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What To Do If Someone Steals Your Ssn
If you become aware that someone has stolen your Social Security Number or have a suspicion, take these steps immediately. Its essential to act quickly to prevent any further harm.
The first step is to contact one of the credit-reporting agencies, TransUnion, Experian or Equifax. Heres how to contact the Big Three credit bureaus.
When you get someone on the lie, tell them you would like to place a credit freeze and a fraud alert on your credit file.
Putting a credit freeze on your file will block lenders from your credit report without your approval. The good thing is, its easy to unfreeze your account. Better safe than sorry.
The next step is to report the identity theft to the Social Security Administration and other government agencies.
The first you should contact is the Federal Trade Commission via identitytheft.gov. You can also file a police report with your local police department, which can assist you down the road.
The third step is to report your identity theft to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. Doing so will distribute your report to local, state and federal authorities and create an official report. This step is the most important when asking what to do if someone steals your SSN.
Why Do You Need One
A Social Security number is important because you need it to get a job, collect Social Security benefits and get some other government services. You should keep your Social Security card in a safe place with your other important papers and avoid giving it out unnecessarily. Keep in mind that in many cases, even if you lost your card, you may not need a replacement. In most cases, simply knowing your Social Security number is enough. But if you do need a replacement, we make it easy.
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Report The Identity Theft Immediately
You should immediately report the theft to all the proper agencies right away. Start with your local police department. While your local law enforcement might not be able to find out who is responsible, having that police report or theft affidavit is very important when you attempt to correct things on the back end. In addition, you should notify the IRS, Social Security Administration, and Federal Trade Commission of the theft.
How Do You Check To See If Someone Is Using Your Social Security Number
The FTC recommends following these additional steps if your Social Security number is being used by a cybercriminal:
If your information was exposed by a third-partys data breach, take advantage of their restoration offer, which should include free credit monitoring for at least a year. Or sign up for an identity protection plan that includes full-service expert restoration assistance. Alert the FTC immediately if you see any transactions or accounts you dont recognize.
You can freeze your credit to block any new accounts or lines of credit. Or you can place a fraud alert on your account to make it more difficult for anyone trying to use your stolen identity for financial gain.
File your taxes early. This way, the right tax return is processed and cybercriminals with your Social Security number wont be able to fraudulently file.
Check your credit report regularly to watch out for any new activity.
If someone is misusing your personal information, report your identity stolen here.
Safe browsing, friends! The internet should make life easier, more fun, and more productive. But identity theft is very real. Use caution and know what to look out for to protect your identity and personal information.
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Visit Identitytheftgov To Get A Recovery Plan
You can visit IdentityTheft.gov to report identity theft and, more importantly, set up a recovery plan, or you can call 877-438-4338 to do so. Both will guide you through a process that includes:
How To Protect Your Sin
To protect your SIN:
- do not carry your SIN in a wallet or pursestore it in a safe place
- never use your SIN as a piece of identification
- only provide your SIN when you know it is legally required
- give your SIN by phone ONLY if you made the call and know that it is legally required
- do not reply to emails that ask for personal information, such as your SIN
- shred paper records that contain your SIN once you no longer need themdo not recycle them
- update the SIN Program with changes to your name or citizenship status, or to indicate if your SIN record is wrong or incomplete
- take action right away to protect your SIN if you suspect someone is using it fraudulently
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The Rise Of Social Security Number Theft
Heists like his dont show any sign of ending. U.S. consumers lost $1.7 billion to identity theft in 2018, nearly double the cash victims lost in 2016, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Social Security numbers were in 1936 to track peoples earnings toward Social Security benefits. Now, these nine-digit numbers have become key data used to fill out a range of everyday forms, whether at the doctors office, bank, school, and more. As a result, Social Security numbers open up a range of fraud and identity theft opportunities.
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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Can You Apply For A New Social Security Number Online
Unfortunately, the SSA doesnât allow you to change your SSN online. Even more frustrating is that their local offices are no longer accepting in-person appointments due to the pandemic.
So where do you go to apply for a new SSN?
Your best option is to use the Social Security Office Locator to find the address and phone number for the SSA office location closest to you. Call them and explain your situation. They should be able to help guide you through the next steps of your application.
How Do You Change Your Social Security Number
Your Social Security number is unique and one of the few things that should stay the same for your entire life. But thatâs not always the case.
Your SSN is a golden ticket for identity thieves. With your numbers, a scammer can max out your credit, steal your medical benefits, or even illegally obtain employment in your name. Even worse, stolen Social Security numbers are available to hackers on the Dark Web for as little as $2 .
Unfortunately, getting a new SSN isnât always a possibility. And if it is, there are still hoops to jump through in order to get your new number.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about when, why, and how to change your SSN.
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