Tip : Keep Your Social Security Card And Number In A Safe Place
Anything as important as your Social Security card deserves a home. This could be a lock box or a file folder kept in a secure place. And dont forget, your SSN may appear on important documents. They require a safe place, too.
Dont make the mistake of carrying your Social Security card in your wallet or purse. If you lose these items, or if theyre stolen, youve put your SSN at risk. A thief might consider it quite a bonus to get your Social Security number when they snatch your wallet or purse.
Leave Your Card At Home
Dont carry your Social Security card around with you in your wallet or purse. Dont enter your SSN into your phone, laptop, or other devices. It would be rare for you to need your card. Typically, reciting the number is all thats required. Keep the number in your head and the card locked up at home.
Your Social Security Card
Whether youve lost your social security card or someone an acquaintance used the number, this is another common way that someone has obtained this information. Keeping your social security card safe, not keeping it in your wallet, and making sure that no one can get to it is another way to protect your identity.
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How To Use Self Lock
To access Self Lock, you must be logged in to your myE-Verify account.
To lock your SSN, you must enter your SSN and date of birth. myE-Verify does not store your SSN when you create your account, so you must provide your SSN to “lock” it.
In addition, you must select and answer three challenge questions. Select questions you can easily answer, because you will need to answer them again to verify your identity if you receive an E-Verify Tentative Nonconfirmation due to Self Lock.
If you are about to start a new job with an E-Verify employer, you should log into your account and unlock your SSN.
Subscribe to the myE-Verify website to receive email updates. Follow on Twitter . Got questions on myE-Verify? Contact us
Dont Give It Out Unless Necessary
Questioning why somebody needs your SSN is a great habit to get into. Its standard to need to provide it to your bank or employer, but there arent too many other situations that will require it. If someone asks for your SSN, ask them what exactly it will be used for and whether or not you can provide an alternative form of identification instead.
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Tip : Monitor Your Accounts And Be Aware Of New Accounts Being Opened
If someone obtains your SSN, you may find evidence of unlawful use in your bank, credit, or other accounts. Consider setting up alerts with your financial institutions to flag unusual activity, such as withdrawals or purchases over a certain amount. Watch for changes in your credit score. And check your credit reports. Youre entitled to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Go to AnnualCreditReport.com.
What You Need To Know Before Locking Your Social Security Number
While locking your SSN can help protect you from fraud, it may be an unnecessary step if you put some other precautions in place to help keep your sensitive data safe. Before locking your data, consider some of these best practices you can implement right away to reduce the risk of your personal information being compromised.
- Use strong passwords and two-step verification on financial accounts and any other sites or apps that store personal data.
- Dont give out your SSN over the phone or via unsecured online networks. Look for Web addresses that include https:// at the beginning of the URL before providing sensitive information .
- Shred paperwork with personal information listed on it dont just throw it in the trash.
- Use secured Wi-Fi networks and be cautious about replying to emails with requests for personal info.
- Install anti-virus software on any Internet-connected devices you use.
- Check your credit report annually and confirm its accurate. If you find an error, report it immediately.
Ultimately, theres no major downside to locking your Social Security number if you have no plans to take out loans or apply for new jobs in the near future.
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Store Your Ssn Card Somewhere Safe
This one ties in really nicely with tip number four. If youve got your SSN committed to memory, it means you can store it somewhere super secure. You could keep it locked away in a safe or lock box, for example. Although pretty much anywhere is safer than walking around with it in your wallet or purse.
What If Someone Steals My Social Security Number
All of this is of course very interesting, but lets bring it back to the point of this article: what if some bad guy steals, obtains, guesses at, or otherwise gets hold of your Social Security Number? As it happens, all kinds of bad things!
Because you have to have a Social Security Number to get a job in the United States , crooks are very fond of stealing SSNs specifically for the purpose of selling them to people who do not already have permission to work in the United States, so that those people can get a job.
Nothing is wrong with people getting jobs, of course, but if they are using your Social Security Number, it can cause untold confusion and issues with your taxes and your Social Security benefits. You could even LOSE your Social Security benefits and that can be hundreds of thousands of dollars.
As you can see, it is very important for you to be able to tell whether someone is using your Social Security Number without your permission. In this article, I will show you several methods of detecting whether your Social Security Number has been compromised.
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Keep An Eye On Your Accounts And Credit Score
If your SSN has fallen into the wrong hands, its quite likely that there will be some unusual and unlawful activity with your bank accounts. Measures might be in place by default, but check with your banks that any strange use of your accounts withdrawals or purchases over a specific amount, for example will be flagged for usual activity.You should keep a watchful eye out for changes in your credit score, too. You can do this by checking your credit report. Youre entitled to a credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, free of charge. Click here to learn more.
Create A My Social Security Account
Creating a my Social Security account is fast and easy. You can use your account to request a replacement Social Security card, check the status of an application, estimate future benefits, or manage existing benefits. Whats best of all though, is that by creating an account yourself, you stop cybercriminals from creating one using your SSN.
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Why Use Self Lock
Employment-related identity fraud could mean that someone else is working under your identity and using your SSN. If this happens, someone elses wages are being reported in your name to the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration and other authorities. By using Self Lock, you can block someone from committing this fraud if they start working for an E-Verify employer. Even if you are not currently working, you may want to protect your SSN and identity with Self Lock.
Check If Your Child Has A 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 childs 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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How To Match A Social Security Number With A Name
Social security numbers can be matched with a name by using an FCRA approved background check or approved credit check. Social security numbers are issued by the Social Security Administration and have become the main identifier for US taxation and other official purposes. SSNs are used as a way of verifying identity for things like background checks, tenancy, bank loans, and credit purposes. There are only select authorized purposes for requesting this information and they almost always require the approval of the person being researched.
How To Lock Your Credit Report At Equifax
Equifaxs credit lock program is called Lock & Alert, and its free. Once enrolled via the Equifax website, users can lock their credit themselves on the app or the website, without additional help from Equifax. If you want to apply for new credit, or a new employer or landlord needs to run your credit, you can temporarily unlock your credit report just as easily.
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How To Search For People Using Ssn
If youre trying to search for someone by SSN, read this first as it will help you either perform an SSN Search free, enable you to check SSN validity, perform an SSN Search by number or just a straight forward social security number search by name using a social security records search
Before we dive in to what running an SSN background search, using SSN verify online or the ins and outs of a social security office search, lets look at what an SSN actually is, and what its used for:
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How To Lock Your Credit Report At Transunion
TransUnions credit lock program is called TrueIdentity, and its also free. Like with Equifax, you can lock and unlock your credit quickly on a smartphone or computer. The program also gives you access to your TransUnion® credit report, free monitoring alerts and up to $25,000 in identity theft insurance. TransUnion also has a premium product, called Credit Lock Plus, that allows you to lock your credit reports with both TransUnion and Equifax but it costs $19.95 a month. You can sign up for the free TrueIdentity program on TransUnions website.
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What Is Child Identity Theft
Child identity theft happens when someone takes a childs sensitive personal information and uses it to get services or benefits, or to commit fraud. They might use your childs Social Security number, name and address, or date of birth. They could use the stolen information to
- apply for government benefits, like health care coverage or nutrition assistance
- open a bank or credit card account
- apply for a loan
- sign up for a utility service, like water or electricity
- rent a place to live
Be Careful When Using Electronic Devices
There are extra risks that come with sharing your SSN using an electronic device via email, text message, or voicemail, for example. Although you might think it would be fairly unlikely, your message could be intercepted and your SSN could end up in the hands of criminals. When possible, it is best to share your SSN with others face to face.
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Commit Your Ssn To Memory
If youve got your SSN seared into your brain it means you dont have to carry your card or keep writing the number down onto scrap bits of paper. Youll always have it to hand if you need it, but you wont have to worry about potentially losing it. Those scraps of paper are far too easy to misplace, too.
Check Your Credit Report
The Social Security Administration can tell you if someone is working on your SSN and the IRS can tell you if someone is filing taxes on it, but only your credit agencies can tell you if someone is using your SSN to acquire and use credit in your name.
There are three major credit reporting agencies in the United States: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. They each have slightly different methodologies and scoring programs, but they all more or less provide the same service.
You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report every 12 months . By contacting each service and requesting your report, you can immediately spot any suspicious activity on your credit accounts. Look for credit card applications, loan applications, and any debt you dont recognize.
Requesting your reports is simple:
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289 transunion.com
is a reputable service, and if you sign up for it you can keep a monthly eye on your credit score and your credit history, making it very difficult for an identity thief to put one over you in the long run.
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Tip : Create Strong Passwords
Strong passwords that use a unique combination of numbers, letters, and symbols can help prevent identity thieves from accessing your personal information in online accounts. Heres one password you should never use: your Social Security number. And dont use your SSNs last four digits as a PIN.
Finally, dont use the same passwords repeatedly. Even if its a strong password, and its one that you can easily remember, all a hacker has to do is crack that password once. The thief will then be able to access all your important accounts that are protected by that password, even ones that contain your Social Security number.
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:
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What To Do If You Lose Your Social Security Card
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- Your Social Security number can be valuable information for identity thieves
- Consider placing a security freeze or fraud alert on your credit reports if your Social Security card is lost
- If you know your Social Security number has been stolen, there are some additional steps you can take
Your Social Security number is a valuable piece of information to identity thieves. Its a key element of your identity and is also linked to taxes and credit information. And except in limited circumstances, it cant be changed. Thats why its so worrisome to have your card lost or stolen.
Here are some steps to take for a lost or stolen Social Security card:
1. Consider placing a fraud alert or a security freeze on your credit reports or locking them. With an initial fraud alert, potential lenders and creditors are encouraged to take additional steps to verify your identity, such as contacting you by phone, before extending new credit. A fraud alert lasts for one year and can be renewed. Fraud alerts are free. Contact one of the three nationwide credit bureaus Equifax, Experian or TransUnion to request a fraud alert, and that bureau will notify the other two.
Options for locking your credit report may also be available from the three nationwide credit bureaus. Learn more about fraud alerts, security freezes and credit report locks.
You might also consider calling the Social Security Administration at 772-1213 to report the lost card.
How To Lock Your Ssn
To lock your Social Security number, visit the U.S. governments myE-Verify website and complete the necessary steps online. Youll need to enter your personal data, take a quiz, enter document data, and then get your results, says Katie Gampietro Burke, CFP and founder of Wealth by Empowerment. The Self Lock service is free and lasts for one year, she says, and participants will be given the opportunity to renew 30 days prior to the expiration date. The website also offers instructions to unlock your number at any time.
In addition, Adam Funk suggests writing to the three major credit bureaus Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax to lock your Social Security number. There may be a nominal fee of about $10 to process the request.
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Pros Of Locking Your Credit
- A credit lock can reduce your chances of becoming an identity theft victim, since lenders cant check your credit reports while theyre locked.
- You can lock and unlock your reports yourself at any time, making it faster than a freeze if you need to authorize a legitimate credit check.
- TransUnion and Equifax allow you to lock and unlock your credit for free.