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.
Having The Right Attitude
But above all of these, to recover from a successful cyberattack, it’s best to get mentally ready ahead of time.
I know that at your workplace, school, or through conversations with your kids or parents, you may have learned that stupid people cause cybersecurity incidents, and being not-stupid can prevent them. The conventional wisdom suggests it’s stupid to have an easy-to-guess password, to re-use passwords or to be fooled by a phishing email or to take a scammer’s call.
Stop thinking this way. Phishing emails that seek to convince you to give up account numbers, scam calls that are meant to trick you into providing your social security number — they are better than ever, and criminals are refining their tricks all the time.
The average person has hundreds of passwords — it’s inevitable that some of them are “bad” or subject to being mechanically uncovered by a simple algorithm. It’s inevitable that some may be reused.
Sure, it’s a great idea to use fresh and unique passwords, especially for financial accounts. But it’s impossible to imagine that everyone will do so perfectly every single time.
It is also important to pass on this attitude to your friends and family: The people closest to you can lose valuable time and money because they are too embarrassed to tell anyone they made a mistake.
Does Placing A Fraud Alert Hurt My Credit
Placing a fraud alert on your credit report has no effect whatsoever on your credit standing. The requirement that creditors verify your identity may limit your ability to get instant approval on in-store or online credit card applications, or financing at in-store kiosks . A credit alert may require you to take a few extra steps, such as talking with a service rep in the store or by phone, but by law a fraud alert cannot prevent you from being approved for a loan or credit if you qualify for it.
If you suspect your personal information has been compromised or that criminals have stolen your identity or are trying to do so, placing a fraud alert on your credit report is an easy form of protection you can initiate yourself quickly and easily, and remove whenever you like.
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Renew The Fraud Alert Or Request A Different Type If Necessary
After 90 days, you can renew the fraud alert if you wish. If you want, you can request an extended fraud alert, which can stay in effect for seven years. To do this, make sure youve created an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission. Dont forget, sometimes certain credit reporting companies or creditors will also require a police report before filing an extended fraud alert.
How Does Social Security Identity Theft Happen
There are several ways an SSN can end up with a thief. Some involve physical theft, and others can take the digital route. To what extent are SSNs at risk? Notably, there was the Equifax breach of 2017, which exposed some 147 million SSNs. Yet just because an SSN has been potentially exposed does not mean that an identity crime has been committed with it.
So, lets start with the basics: how do SSNs get stolen or exposed?
Thats quite the list. Broadly speaking, the examples above give good reasons for keeping your SSN as private and secure as possible. With that, its helpful to know that there are only a handful of situations where your SSN is required for legitimate purposes, which can help you can make decisions about how and when to give it out. The list of required cases is relatively short, such as:
- When applying for credit or a loan.
- Transactions that require IRS notification, like working with investment firms, real estate purchases, auto purchases, etc.
- Registering with a business as a full-time or contract employee .
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How To Report Identity Theft To Social Security In Three Steps
Lets say you spot something unusual on your credit report or get a notification that someone has filed a tax return on your behalf without your knowledge. These are possible signs that your identity, if not your SSN, is in jeopardy, which means its time to act right away using the steps below:
1. Report the theft to local and federal authorities.
File a police report and a Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Report. This will help in case someone uses your Social Security number to commit fraud, since it will provide a legal record of the theft. The FTC can also assist by guiding you through the identity theft recovery process as well. Their site really is an excellent resource.
2. Contact the businesses involved.
Get in touch with the fraud department at each of the businesses where you suspect theft has taken place, let them know of your situation, and follow the steps they provide. With your police and FTC reports, you will already have a couple of vital pieces of information that can help you clear your name.
3. Reach the Social Security Administration and the IRS.
What Is Identity Theft
Identity theft is when your personal informationanything from your name, your drivers license or Social Security Numberhas been hijacked by an imposter in order to commit fraud in your name. With that information, someone can easily open false lines of credit and rack up debt in your name, withdraw money from your accounts or get your tax refund, among other scams
Identity theft can also happen to children, and it can go undetected for years. You can learn more here about how to spot child identity theft and how TransUnion can help
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Reporting Identity Theft When Someone Is Using Your Social Security Number
If you are concerned that someone is using your Social Security number and see suspicious activity on your credit card statements or banking activities, you can take action immediately by doing the following:
1. Check your Social Security earnings record. Verify the accuracy of this report to make sure someone hasnt been using your number for employment. You will need to contact the Social Security Administration directly to order a copy of this report. As of March 2011, the Request a Social Security Statement service has been suspended for budget reasons.
2. Report theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Call 1-877-ID-THEFT to report the incident and visit the FTC Identity Theft website to educate yourself about the process.
3. File a complaint with the Internet Complaint Center . The IC3 makes it easy to give cyber crime victims a chance to report violations associated with their Social Security number and will contact law enforcement and regulatory agencies as needed.
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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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.
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:
Certegy Inc.: 437-5120
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How To Protect Yourself: Identity Theft
Identity theft is a serious problem that affects millions each year. When an imposter uses your name, Social Security number , credit card number or any other form of personal information without your knowledge and permission, its a crime.
Unfortunately, sometimes victims remain unaware that their identity has been stolen until they receive monthly statements for credit card accounts they never applied for, credit reports including unfamiliar debts or monthly statements that include unauthorized charges.
If someone has stolen your identity, immediately take these three steps:
Take control of your identity.
Although identity thieves can destroy your personal finances, there are some things you can do to take control of the situation.
Some ways to handle the most common forms of identity theft are:
A- If an identity thief has stolen your mail for access to new credit cards, bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers and tax information or falsified change-of-address forms, that person has committed a crime. Report it to your local postal inspector. You may contact the United States Postal Inspection Service online at .
G- If any identity thief is using your name or SSN to obtain a drivers license, report it to your states Department of Motor Vehicles. Also, if your state uses your SSN as your drivers license number, ask to substitute another number.
How To Put A Flag On Your Social Security Number Or Credit Report
There are a few ways you can flag your social security number. The primary way to do this is to through a fraud alert, which will put extra protections in place for people trying to access or use your social security number or other private account details associated with your credit.
To get a credit flag or fraud alert placed with any of the three credit bureaus, do the following:
You can contact the credit reporting agencies using the following information:
|P.O. Box 105069Atlanta, GA 30348-5069|
As stated earlier, youll only need to contact one credit reporting agency. By law, each of the agencies must contact the other agencies after you set up a fraud alert. This makes your life easier, as youll only need to do this once.
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Protect Documents With Personal Information
If you have documents with your childs personal information, like medical bills or their Social Security card, keep them in a safe place, like a locked file cabinet.
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.
How To Place A Fraud Alert With Equifax
To place an initial fraud alert with Equifax, either create or sign-in to your myEquifax account. Or you can call their automated line at 888-766-0008. You can also place an initial fraud alert by mail by downloading and following the instructions on the Alert Request form.
Once you complete the form, you can submit it to: Equifax Information Services LLC P.O. Box 105069 Atlanta, GA 30348-5069
Conversely, if you need to place an extended fraud alert, simply download and follow the instructions on the Extended Fraud Alert Request form. Note, however, that you will need to include additional documentation showing you are a victim of identity theft. The documentation can be a police report that you file about the theft or an identity theft report that you complete through IdentityTheft.gov.
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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.
How To Report Identity Theft To Social Security
8 MIN READ
In the hands of a thief, your Social Security Number is the master key to your identity.
With a Social Security Number , a thief can unlock everything from credit history and credit line to tax refunds and medical care. In extreme cases, thieves can use it to impersonate others. So, if you suspect your number is lost or stolen, its important to report identity theft to Social Security right away.
Part of what makes an SSN so powerful in identity theft is that theres only one like it. Unlike a compromised credit card, you cant hop on the phone and get a replacement. No question, the theft of your SSN has serious implications. If you suspect it, report it. So, lets take a look at how it can happen and how you can report identity theft to Social Security if it does.
Are There Any State Laws About Identity Theft
Massachusetts identity theft law requires businesses and others that own or license personal information of residents of Massachusetts to notify the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and the Office of Attorney General when they know or have reason to know of a breach of security. The law also requires that the breached entity notify consumers of any breach of their personal information that creates a substantial risk of identity theft or fraud as soon as practicable and without unreasonable delay after a breach occurs, except when a law enforcement agency determines that notice may impede a criminal investigation.
Contact The Credit Bureaus
One thing identity thieves are known for is using stolen Social Security numbers and other personal information to open credit accounts and bank loans in other peoples names. Typically, before giving you a new account, a lender will check with at least one of the CRAs to determine if youre a good credit risk based on your credit history.
Each credit reporting agency collects information about how you use credit, including whether a business has turned your debt over to a collections agency and if youve filed for bankruptcy. These agencies are essentially the gatekeepers for your credit activity, so its important to notify them if you suspect your identity has been stolen. Whichever one you reach out to must alert the other two, but it doesnt hurt to contact all three companies immediately to ensure the most immediate protection.
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What You Need To Know
- When you place a fraud alert on your three credit reports, you make it more difficult for identity thieves to open fraudulent accounts in your name
- Placing fraud alerts is simple and free. You can place one-year initial alerts online with a single credit bureau. That bureau must contact the other two bureaus so they will also set fraud alerts
- Fraud alerts require lenders to confirm your identity before they can extend credit in your name