Monday, May 16, 2022

How To Protect Your Social Security Number From Being Used

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Use Strong Passwords And Add An Authentication Step

If Asked For Social Security Number, Keep These 3 Things In Mind

Use a password manager to create and store complex, unique passwords for your accounts. Dont reuse passwords. Adding an authenticator app can reduce your risk. Dont rely on security questions to keep your accounts safe your mothers maiden name and your pets name arent hard to find. Think carefully about what you post on social media so you don’t give away key data or clues about how you answer security questions.

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.

Tip : Leave Home Without It

There may be times when you need to show your card to someone. But, in general, its a good idea to avoid carrying your card or any documents that display your SSN. Its possible you might lose your wallet or leave your documents behind.

Not all thieves will want your Social Security number, but many will. Leaving your card at home decreases the chances that these scammers will gain access to your Social Security number.

Recommended Reading: Where Do I Apply For Social Security Retirement Benefits

What Is Social Security Number Protection

Identity theft can be stressful, time-consuming and expensive to resolve. Many people are turning to identity monitoring to better safeguard their most personal information. Social Security monitoring involves using a scanning system to alert users when any suspicious activity happens. Some advanced social security protection services utilize the help of licensed private investigators who then run advanced SSN Skip Trace searches to uncover hidden theft and fraud.

Important Resources For Identity Theft Victims:

How to Protect Your Social Security Number From Theft ...

Did you know that it is illegal for collection agencies to harass you once you have notified them that the debt is due to Identity Theft? Here are some steps to take if you find yourself in this situation:

  • Contact the fraud department of any one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your file.
  • Close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Use the ID Theft Affidavit when disputing new unauthorized accounts.
  • File a police report where you live.
  • Get a copy of the report or report number.
  • Contact any of the other agencies specific to your particular type of Identity Theft.
  • File your complaint with FTC.
  • Follow up in writing. Attach a police report/number along with any other documentation you may have. Send Certified Mail – Return Receipt Requested.
  • Document everything!

Read Also: How To Find Out My Current Social Security Benefits

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.

What To Do If Your Phone Number Is Spoofed

If your phone number is spoofed, there are several steps you can take to make things easier:

  • File a claim with the FCC if you live in the US.

  • Record a new voicemail letting callers know that your number is being used by scammers without your permission and ask them to be wary of calls coming from your number.

  • If you have an iPhone, you can use the built-in setting to silence unknown callers, as described above.

  • Use an app to temporarily block all calls from outside your contact list.

Scammers tend to cycle through phone numbers quickly to avoid being detected. And if your number is being used for a neighbor spoofing strategy, it will likely be abandoned once the scammer has moved on to a new area code.

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Stay Vigilant To Help Protect Your Personal Information

If your Social Security number and personal information fall into the wrong hands, it could take you months to undo the damage. Monitoring your credit helps prevent the likelihood of this happening. The sooner you catch fraudulent activity, the easier it can be to reverse.

However, if you find that someone is using your SSN, it’s possible to remove the activity from your credit file. Filing reports with the proper authorities can help reverse the impact of someone stealing your personal information.

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How Do Thieves Steal An Identity

Cybersecurity Tips: Protecting Your SSN

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

Also Check: What You Need To Know About Social Security

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 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.

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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What Should I Do If I Am Asked For My Sin

We recommend that you do not give the SIN to a private-sector organization unless there is a legal requirement to do so.

If you are asked for your SIN, here are some tips:

  • Ask if you are required by law to provide it.
  • Ask why the person needs it, how it will be used and to whom it will be given.
  • If it is not required by law , tell the person you prefer not to use the SIN and offer other identification. Your SIN is not a piece of identification.
  • If you cant resolve your concern with front-line staff, ask for the contact information for the person in their organization who is responsible for privacy issues. This person is often called the privacy officer. Discuss your concerns with that person. They may be able to address your issue.
  • If the organization refuses to give you the product or service unless you give your SIN, file a complaint with us.

Remember: You cant be denied a product or service for refusing to provide your SIN when its not legally required.

Someones Got Your Number What Can You Do

social security number

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.

Read Also: How To Find Out My Current Social Security Benefits

Get A Social Security Statement

The Social Security Administration maintains an online service that lets you find out what you have paid into Social Security, how many hours of work your employers have reported each quarter, and what your expected benefits would be if you were to retire or go on disability in the near future.

You may think that would be wonderful since the worker reporting hours to your Social Security account is moving you closer to vesting your Social Security benefit, but in fact, you can have your expected Social Security payments greatly reduced if someone is reporting low-wage labor to your account. So you want to clear up any double-dipping of your Social Security account.

Requesting your statement is straightforward. You will need to create a my Social Security account if you dont already have one. You can access the sign-in/account creation page here. Once logged in, you can request a Social Security statement to print out from your account. If you prefer a low-tech approach, you can fill out a request form and mail it in, and get a statement mailed to you in 4 to 6 weeks.

Identity Theft: What You Need To Know

Thieves with access to personal information Social Security number, birth certificate, PIN or credit card numbers, even pre-approved credit card solicitations can steal your identity and apply for credit in your name, racking up huge debts without you even knowing that it has happeneduntil its too late. Stay safe. Follow these simple suggestions.

Safeguard Your Personal Information:

Protect Your Bank Accounts and Your Mail:

Protect Yourself on the Internet and Protect Your Computer:

  • If you must use a public computer, confirm first that it is not running a desktop search engine and that the proprietor has denied users administrative privileges so they can’t install any programs that might be used to capture your emails or passwords.

If You Are a Victim of Identity Theft:

  • Have them place a fraud alert in your file. A fraud alert generally lasts for 90 days, although it can be extended.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission to file a complaint and create an Identity Theft Affidavit.
  • Call the Social Security Administrations fraud hotline at 269-0271 or go to www.ssa.gov/oig. If you suspect that someone is using your Social Security number, you can check your earnings record by calling 772-1213.
  • If your bank account has been compromised at all, close the account completely and open a new one.
  • Certegy Inc.: 437-5120

    Read Also: How To Find Out My Current Social Security Benefits

    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.

    Apply For A New Ssn As A Last Resort

    1 Simple Way To Protect Your Social Security Number

    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.

    Also Check: How To Find Out My Current Social Security Benefits

    Social Insurance Number Scam: How It Works

    Beware of a new Social Insurance Number scam going around nationwide. It comes as one of the many Service Canada scam calls done by crooks saying that your Social Insurance Number has been suspended. Later on, in this article, we have an audio recording of a crook who happened to call our number at Scam Detector.

    Anyway, you can rest assured that these criminals are not from the Government of Canada. Lets dive in.

    The phone rings. You respond. An automated system something like this:

    Hello, this call is from the Government of Canada. We have got an order to suspend your Social Insurance Number on an immediate basis because your social has been found suspicious for some illegal and criminal activity. It is time-sensitive and urgent to hear back from you before we proceed with the suspension of your Social Insurance Number or assets. Please press 1 to speak with our officer, thank you.

    Listen to the audio file below to hear a scammer who called our number:

    The phone number used was 430-2860, but dont get fooled criminals change these numbers very often, as soon as one has been reported.

    So, how does the Social Insurance Number scam works? Lets see.

    If You Have Been Victim Of Fraud

    You can ask for a new SIN only if you can prove that your SIN was used fraudulently.

    However, getting a new SIN will not necessarily protect you from fraud or identity theft. If someone else uses your old SIN as identification and the business does not check the person’s identity with the credit bureau, credit lenders may still ask you to pay the impostor’s debts. Each time, you will have to prove that you were not involved in the fraud.

    If we issue you a new SIN, you will need to contact all your financial institutions, creditors, pension providers and employers to ask them to update your files.

    Note: Service Canada cannot correct a credit file. It is up to you to contact your financial institution, report any discrepancies and have them resolved.

    If you have proof that someone else is using your SIN, an investigation is required.

    An indication that your SIN is being used fraudulently is when you receive a Notice of Reassessment from the Canada Revenue Agency concerning undeclared earnings. This means that another person has used your SIN for employment purposes or to receive other taxable income.

    You must visit your nearest Service Canada Centre with your original proof of identity documents and provide proof that another person has used your SIN.

    Here’s what you will need to provide to Service Canada if you suspect someone is using your SIN:

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