Can Someone Access My Bank Account With My Social Security Number
It is very possible that someone can access your accounts with your SSN. They could call your bank and pretend to be you to gain access to your accounts. The bank typically verifies your identity by asking for your SSN or the last four digits of your SSN. If the thief has this information, then the bank might give out account information to them. Once the thief gains access to your account, they can move or withdraw money and drain your finances very quickly.
How Do I Check To See If Someone Is Using My Social Security Number
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the country, and nearly one third of all adults in the United States have experienced some form of identity fraud. Safeguarding your Social Security number is one of the best ways to keep your identity safe. When a thief gets access to your SSN, they can open new bank accounts, drain existing finances, file fraudulent tax returns, and take many other nefarious actions. So, how do you know if someone is using your Social Security number before it is too late? There are some steps you can take to stay alert and make sure that no one is using your Social Security number.
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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Placing A Fraud Alert And Credit Freeze
A fraud alert indicates to the credit bureaus that your information has been stolen and that they should be aware of the likelihood of unusual activity in your name.
A credit freeze goes one step further, locking your credit accounts so that no one can open a new account. Note that if you open a legitimate new account, you’ll need to give the lender a heads up that your credit file is frozen and that you need to unfreeze it before they can run a hard inquiry.
If you put a fraud alert on your credit file, you only need to contact one of the three major credit bureaus. But if youre placing a freeze on your file, you will need to do it with each of the three credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
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 Do I Do Next Ongoing Steps To Take
As weve talked about in some of my other blog posts, identity theft can be a long-term problem where follow-up instances of theft can crop up over time. However, there are a few steps you can take to minimize the damage and ensure it doesnt happen again. I cover several of those steps in detail in this blog here, yet lets take a look at a few of the top items as they relate to SSN theft:
Consider placing a fraud alert.
Look into an all-out credit freeze.
A full credit freeze is in place until you lift it and will prohibit creditors from pulling your credit report altogether. This can help stop thieves dead in their tracks since approving credit requires pulling a report. However, this applies to legitimate inquires, including any that you make, like opening a new loan or signing up for a credit card. If thats the case, youll need to take extra steps as directed by the particular institution or lender. Unlike the fraud alert, youll need to notify each of the three major credit bureaus when you want the freeze lifted.
Monitor your credit reports.
Once every 12 months, you can access a free credit report from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Doing so will allow you to spot any future discrepancies and offer you options for correcting them.
Sign up for an identity protection service.
Your Most Unique Identifier Calls For Extra Care And Protection
Of all the forms of identity theft, the theft of a Social Security Number is certainly one of the most potentially painful because it can unlock so many vital aspects of your life. Its uniquely you, even more than your name alone at least in the eyes of creditors, banks, insurance companies, criminal records, etc. Your SSN calls for extra protection, and if you have any concerns that it may have been lost or stolen, dont hesitate to spring into action.
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Tip : Beware Of Phone And Email Scams
Identity thieves may try to trick you into revealing your SSN. For instance, in a phone or email, they might pose as your employer or a government office requesting information. Avoid sharing your number unless youre positive its a legitimate request.
Better yet, consider calling the requesting organization at a verifiable telephone number to provide the information. Or visit in person.
How To Report Fraud
Do you suspect someone of committing fraud, waste, or abuse against Social Security? You can contact the OIGs fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271 or submit a report online at .
If you receive a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from our agency, hang up, and then report details of the call to the OIG at .
Our investigations are most successful when you provide as much information as possible about the alleged suspect and/or victim involved. The more you can tell us, the better chance we have of determining whether a crime has been committed. As you fill out a fraud allegation, please include the following about the alleged suspect and/or victim:
Its helpful to know facts about the alleged fraud, such as:
- Description of the fraud.
- Location where the fraud took place.
- When the fraud took place.
- How the fraud was committed.
- Why the person committed the fraud .
- Who else has knowledge of the potential violation?
OIG will carefully review your allegation and take appropriate action. However, they cannot provide information regarding the actions taken on any reported allegation. Federal regulations prohibit the disclosure of information contained in law enforcement records, even to the individual making the allegation.
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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.
Create A Social Security Account Online
Clark says relatively few people have created a Social Security account online, but doing so makes sense. Note that youll have to thaw your credit in order to do it. Once its set up, remember to freeze your credit again.
As far as having a mySocialSecurity account, If you were to temporarily thaw your credit files, set up a My Social Security account, that would be a good idea because you want to monitor to make sure that your work credits are being posted properly each year, because thats the only way you can make sure you get the Social Security benefit youre supposed to receive later, Clark says.
Go to the Social Security Administrations official website, ssa.gov/myaccount to create an account.
To hear Clarks full take on this question, listen to the segment:
If you have a question but dont want it included in the podcast, contact Clarks Consumer Action Center for free money help.
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If You Suspect Someone Is Using Your Sin
If you think someone else is using your SIN, act quickly. This will help prevent loss and minimize the negative impact.
Be vigilant Watch for signs that someone else is using your SIN. For example, ifCRA contacts you with a Notice of Reassessment for undeclared earnings, it may mean that someone else used your SIN to work or to receive other taxable income.
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.
Your Social Security Number Is The Key
Originally, your Social Security number was a way for the government to track your earnings and pay you retirement benefits. But over the years, it has become much more than that. It is the key to a lot of your personal information. With your name and SSN, an identity thief could open new credit and bank accounts, rent an apartment, or even get a job.
Getting A New Social Security Number Is Probably Not A Good Idea
Victims of identity theft sometimes want to change their Social Security number. The Social Security Administration very rarely allows this. In fact, there are drawbacks to changing your number. It could result in losing your credit history, your academic records, and your professional degrees. The absence of any credit history under the new SSN would make it difficult for you to get credit, rent an apartment, or open a bank account.
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What To Do When Someone Is Using Your Social Security Number
When an identity thief has a victim’s Social Security number, he or she has a passport to commit Social Security fraud, identity theft, and many other crimes. This is one of the many reasons why people should never carry their Social Security cards in their wallets or purses. From the time of issuance when we’re children, Social Security cards should be stored in a safe location at home, away from credit cards, drivers’ licenses, and other personal information.
If you suspect that a criminal has your Social Security number, the Social Security Administration can help point you in the right direction, but it can’t fix your credit. You’re the only one who can do that. To that end, here are some things to do if someone is using your Social Security number to commit identity theft and Social Security fraud:
1. Stay cool and focused.While identity theft is stressful, you’re the only person who can help with this problem, and you can’t solve it in a week or a month. It will take time. Stay as calm and focused as possible, and methodically address the problem.
2. Contact the credit reporting agencies.Contact TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian to place a fraud alert on your credit report. Each agency is required to alert the other two when you place an alert. The alert will prevent a thief from opening any new accounts in your name.
Experian: 1-888-397-3742 www.experian.com
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
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How Long Will It Take To Receive A New Social Security Card
If the SSA has all the information it needs, you could receive your new Social Security card in as little as one week, depending on your situation. Hereâs the typical timeline you should expect when applying for a new card or SSN:
- When requesting a replacement Social Security card: 7 â 10 business days.
- When applying to change your Social Security number: Within two weeks.
- If the SSA needs to verify your legal status: Noncitizens who can legally work in the United States can get a SSN. Unfortunately, thereâs no specified timeline for situations where a government agency needs to verify your files relating to immigration documents, immigration status, U.S. citizen status, or your certificate of naturalization.
How To Get Ssn For An Adopted Child
If the child being adopted is already a citizen of the United States, then there is a chance they already have a Social Security Number and Card. However, if you are adopting a child domestically and if he/she does not have one, you would need to obtain an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number to claim the related benefits while the process of adoption is pending. You would need to complete an IRS Form W-7A for adoptions that are pending in the United States. The ATIN is valid for two years and can be extended if the adoption is not through yet. Once the adoption is through, you can get a Social Security Number for your child by following the above procedure. You would need to complete the form and submit it to your local Social Security Administrative Office.
If you are adopting a child from a different country, then you will have to wait until the adoption is final and the child has entered into the United States to obtain a Social Security Number. You can then complete the form and submit it with the required documents to your local Social Security Administrative office. You can only make an application once all the formalities have been completed and the child has entered the United States of America.
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California Law Limits The Public Display Of Social Security Numbers
A California law bars organizations from publicly displaying SSNs2. The law prohibits:
- Printing SSNs on ID cards or badges
- Printing SSNs on documents mailed to customers, unless the law requires it or the document is a form or application
- Printing SSNs on postcards or any other mailer where its visible without opening an envelope
- Avoiding legal requirements by encoding or embedding SSNs in cards or documents, such as using a bar code, chip, or magnetic strip
- Requiring people to send SSNs over the Internet, unless the connection is secure or the number is encrypted
- Requiring people to use an SSN to log onto a web site, unless a password is also used
- The law applies to businesses, government, and other entities.
What Are The Consequences Of Someone Using My Social Security Number
So, what can someone do with your SSN? The consequences of someone using your SSN can be dire. At the least, your credit score might be affected by someone opening unauthorized credit in your name. On the other end of the spectrum, your bank accounts could be drained even including retirement accounts and other savings. This is why it is vitally important for you to be vigilant in protecting your SSN and keeping a watchful eye on all the signs that might point toward illegal usage.
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