If You’re Not Sure Why You Received A Payment
If you receive a check or direct deposit payment from the Treasury Department and do not know what its for, contact the regional financial center that issued it.
If you received a check, look for the RFCs city and state at the top center. Then contact that RFC to find out which federal agency authorized the payment. It will be one of these:
If you received payment byelectronic funds transfer , or direct deposit, follow the directions under Find Information About a Payment.
Use the Treasury Check Verification System to verify that the check is legitimate and issued by the government.
How Can Someone Get A Hold Of Your Social Security Number
Find Your Lost Social Security Card
Losing your SSN card is a BIG deal, and it could end up in anyones hands. You hope its going to be a good Samaritan, but more often than not, its someone with bad intentions. If you ever need to carry your card with you, make sure its in a safe place where it wont fall out or get misplaced.
Steal Your Mail, Purse, or Wallet
Someone could get a hold of your SSN card if they steal your mail, wallet, or purse. Mail often contains private personal information that an identity thief can use to find out your social security number.
You would be surprised by the number of online scammers that are looking to get your personal information. They will say and do anything to manipulate you into providing your bank and credit card information, along with your SSN number. For example, they may pose as a legit business in your area who has an exclusive deal for you.
Any website, business, or information database is open to being hacked. When data breaches occur, hackers often look to steal peoples personal information to sell or exploit. This includes someones social security number. Once the information is stolen, there is no way to get it back. All that can be done by the entity that was hacked is notify you about the situation.
What Should I Do If My Ssn Has Been Stolen Or Being Used Without My Consent
Identity theft is alarming, especially that it can happen with just the last 4 digits of SSN and DOB. Now, your next question could be, how do you put an alert on your social security number that has been stolen?
When you receive suspicious notices, alerts, billings, or notice peculiar happenings, you need to do the following immediately:
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They Can Use Your Ssn To Pay For Their Utilities
For a customer to use their services, its pretty standard for utility companies to ask for your Social Security number as a way to check your credit history, according to the FTC. But this just means theres another opportunity for a hacker to get your personal information and unfairly wreak havoc on your finances. Once your SSN lands in the hands of hackers, they can freely open utility services under your name for their personal use. You might not see any signs of this until you receive a notice for a past due payment.
Pro tip: Before you mindlessly give out your SSN, take a moment to ask about the companys security policies and what measures are in place to protect you and your SSN.
What Can I Do To Protect My Social Security Number
There are a few things you can do to keep your personal information and identity safe. Keep all important documents, whether physical copies or digital, private and protected. Any record of your social security number online should be password protected. Take cyber safety steps such as having a good antivirus and malware software installed on your computer to ensure you do not fall victim to hackers. Advanced technology has been consistently abused and thats why you must protect your identity as much as you can.
If you notice suspicious activity, report it immediately to the relevant government agencies. The Social Security Administration and Federal Trade Commission are good places to start. You should also file a police report. Another thing you can do is freeze your credit with major credit bureaus. This stops your credit cards from being accessible to lenders and prevents new accounts from being opened in your name.
If you suspect your social security number has been leaked or compromised, contact the fraud department of the company involved with the breach. You can protect yourself from these attacks with identity theft protection programs like Identity Guard and LifeLock and weight the pros and cons so you can decide which one to get.
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How Can I Find My Social Security Number Online
You will need to have a My Social Security account to access your SSN online. If you have not already signed up for an account, then you will not be able to get one until you find your number using another method. Knowing your SSN is required to sign up for an account, but once you have the account, you can access it using your user name and password.
It’s Entirely Up To The Social Security Administration To Decide Whether You Can Get A New Number
If the agency doesn’t think you need a new one, you won’t get one.
If you do decide to get a new Social Security number, the first step is as easy as filling out a standard SSN application form. You’ll enter the old number on it. But be prepared to plead your case, and to have ample documentation to prove it.
Don’t forget that the old Social Security number never completely goes away, even if it goes dormant. The Social Security Administration never invalidates an SSN once it’s been issued.
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How Social Security Number Theft Occurs
How someone finds out and steals your identity can happen in a variety of ways. They could gain your Social Security number by exploiting data breaches, sifting through the trash for personal documents, or using any number of other approaches. The thieves can then sell your identity to the highest bidder on the dark web.
You’re Locked Up With Ransomware
Ransomware is ugly, and it’s taken down everyone from FedEx and Merck to the city government of Atlanta. Ransomware is malicious software that locks up your computer or files, making it impossible to access them.
Anyone can be a victim. Criminals have even targeted individual people, who have ended up paying a few hundred bucks to free up their photo albums.
If you’re a victim of ransomware, you will typically lose access to your files, and you may receive an automatic message from a criminal offering to give you an encryption key that will unlock your files for a fee.
Back important files up. The best defense against ransomware is a good offense. If you back up your most important home files, then you may lose the hardware locked up by the ransomware, but you won’t have to pay money to a criminal to get back your data. The easiest way to do this is using free or low-cost personal backup storage programs like , Apple’s iCloud or Microsoft’s OneDrive.
Hunt for a decryption solution. There are also free databases of publicly available information that can help you decrypt many popular strains of ransomware, so if you are up to hunting down this information, you may be able to simply unlock your files without paying a cent to anyone or losing your computer. The No More Ransom project offers an easy-to-use interface, where you can type in details of the ransom demand or other information to find out if a solution already exists.
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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.
Lost Or Stolen Federal Payments
Report your lost, missing, or stolen federal check to the agency that issued the payment. It’s usually one of these paying agencies. If your documentation indicates it’s a different agency, and you need its contact information, look in the A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies.
To get an update on your claim, contact the Treasury Department Philadelphia Financial Center at 1-855-868-0151, option 1.
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Stay Updated With The Latest Cybersecurity News
on Thu Sep 06 2018
You probably already realize that keeping your social security number secure is really important. But have you ever thought about why its so important?
What an attacker can do with a stolen SSN
You Put An Account Number Into A Dummy Website
Some phishing emails or fraudulent URLs are created to look so convincingly like your bank’s, it is easy to mistakenly enter your username and password or, if they ask for it, your checking or savings account number. Other websites are made to emulate popular e-commerce or retail websites, tricking you into entering your credit card details.
If you’ve given away any of these numbers, call your bank immediately and describe the error in detail. Your bank should be able to read back any charges have been made fraudulently and connect you to the right department to help freeze or suspend the accounts that may have been comrpomised. You can typically find the fraud department directly by using the fraud services number on the back of your credit card, or on the bank’s website.
If fraudulent charges have been made, you may have to fill out a paper report, and any reimbursement may take time, typically a bit longer for debit cards than for credit cards. Here’s a version of one of these forms, used by Inova Federal Credit Union. A banker may call you to ask follow-up questions.
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The Purpose Of Having A Social Security Number
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A Social Security number is a nine-digit number that the U.S. government issues to all U.S. citizens and eligible U.S. residents who apply for one. The government uses this number to keep track of your lifetime earnings and the number of years worked.
When the time comes to retire, or if you ever need to receive Social Security disability income, the government uses the information about your contributions to Social Security to determine your eligibility and calculate your benefit payments. Most people will use the same Social Security number their entire lives, though some people might need to apply for a replacement number at some point because of identity theft.
Keep reading below to find out more about when and why you need a Social Security number as well as when you should avoid using it.
Hackers Can Use Your Ssn To Get Credit Cards In Your Name
The important thing for people to understand is that once someone has your Social Security number, particularly in combination with your name and address, they can do pretty much anything that requires your SSN, said Brian Focht, an attorney and head of the Law Offices of Brian C. Focht in Charlotte, North Carolina, who lists cybersecurity and privacy law among his practice areas.
Focht said that fraudulently obtaining credit cards is by far the most common SSN scam that he sees in his practice. It is possible for a hacker to get a credit card with just your name, address and Social Security number. Once the credit cards are in place, fraudsters can run up a lot of debt.
Generally speaking, criminals aim to get the most they can with the least effort, Focht said. In his view, keeping your SSN safe requires two things: understanding and implementing security best practices, and luck.
The best that anyone can do these days is be suspicious about anyone/anything that asks for personal information, Focht said. If it doesnt seem right, its probably not. Beyond that, theres just a lot that is way out of anyones control.
Pro tip: If you suspect someone has opened a credit card in your name, Focht said your first calls should be to the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Dont just contact one call all three.
Open Financial Accounts Under Your Name
Banks use your Social Security number as their main means of getting information about you. They use it to get your credit report and history and from there, decide if an account can be opened or a loan will be offered under your name.
If fraudsters manage to obtain your Social Security number and personal information, they can open credit card accounts and loans under your identity and never bother to pay them. When its time to collect payments for these accounts, guess whose name is on the line? Yep, yours.
These unpaid bills can definitely show up on your credit report, affecting your score and your chances of getting a loan or another credit account down the road. The worst part is this it can take years before fraudulent activities are stricken from your credit report, affecting your overall credit score in the meantime. Its a double whammy of sorts.
How Can I Find My Childs Social Security Number Online
You probably will not be able to find your childs number anywhere online. If you have claimed them as a dependent on your previous tax returns, you will be able to find their SSN there. If not, then you will need to contact the Social Security Administration so that they can advise you on the proper steps for requesting a replacement card for your child.
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What To Do If Your Social Security Number Is Stolen
A Social Security number may be the single most important piece of government-issued identification that U.S. resident can have.
It’s definitely the most valuable piece of ID that identity thieves can get their hands on, especially when the number is combined with the rightful bearer’s name and address. Even just by itself, a valid SSN can be sold to undocumented workers or to people trying to hide their true identities.
A stolen SSN lets the thief, or the person he or she sells it to, do almost everything a legitimate SSN holder can do and more.
“You can close a credit card if it is compromised,” said Adam Dolby, senior manager of Alkami Technology. “But the problem is, you can’t close your SSN.”
If you discover your Social Security number has been stolen or otherwise misused by another person, there are several steps you’ll need to take right away.