Can Someone Do Anything With Your Social Security Number
A dishonest person who has your Social Security number can use it to get other personal information about you. Identity thieves can use your number and your good credit to apply for more credit in your name. The Social Security Administration protects your Social Security number and keeps your records confidential.
Access To Medical Care
One thing you need to watch out for if someone steals your social security number is the possibility of them using it to gain access to medical care with your details. They may be able to undergo medical treatment using your identity, which will ultimately affect your personal medical records. Medical identity theft is a serious problem nowadays and has been continually growing in number of cases.
False information on your health records could lead to disastrousconsequences. For example, if you needed a blood transfusion and the wrong blood type was given, it could be life-threatening. It can also impact your ability to access your medical insurance when you need it.
Hackers Stole Millions Of Social Security Numbers From T
Hackers have found their way again into T-Mobile’s systems, the fourth reported breach of the company’s data since early 2020. This time, the haul included sensitive personal information associated with about 48 million people, most of whom were former or prospective customers of the self-styled “un-carrier.”
Here is a breakdown of what happened, the risks you might face and how you can protect yourself against them.
What information was taken?
According to the company, the stolen data included names, birth dates, Social Security numbers and driver’s license information. In most cases, the company said, “no phone numbers, account numbers, , passwords, or financial information were compromised.” However, some 850,000 customers with prepaid accounts had their names, phone numbers and account PINs exposed, T-Mobile revealed.
Hackers started offering the data for sale last weekend, according to security researcher Brian Krebs, who predicted that it would all wind up online soon.
Although the potential number of people affected is huge, by T-Mobile’s count it represents less than half the company’s current 105 million customers. T-Mobile has said it will notify the customers whose data was exposed and provide two years of identity theft protection service for free from the security company McAfee.
What are the risks?
How do you protect yourself?
So Should You Keep Your Ssn In A Safe
No, you shouldnt. Instead, you should keep all your personally identifiable information as safe as possible.
In todays world, our personal information is mostly digital. Online security, cyber hygiene, and browsing habits are more important than ever. Take some time to educate yourself on how to be safe online, and you wont have to worry about losing your personal data or resources!
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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.
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How Can I Find Out If Someone Opened An Account In My Name
The best way to find out if someone has opened an account in your name is to pull your own credit reports to check. Note that you’ll need to pull your credit reports from all three bureausExperian, Equifax and TransUnionto check for fraud since each report may have different information and reporting.
What Are The Risks
Social Security numbers are widely used by the federal government, banks, investment companies, government benefit programs and insurers to verify your identity. Your stolen Social Security number can be used to open fraudulent credit card accounts, divert or fraudulently collect benefits and commit workplace fraud, among other forms of deceit. Throw in your name, birth date and email address , and its significantly easier for someone to pretend to be you.
Identity thieves could use that information to target both you and the banks, insurers and other companies you do business with. For example, they could use it to make phishing emails seem more realistic, helping to persuade you to give up additional sensitive information such as a password or personal identification number . Or they could use it to dupe your bank into letting them change the password on your account, giving them access to your money.
The T-Mobile breach also exposed the phone numbers, device identifiers and SIM-card numbers for more than 13 million of its current customers. That creates an opening for at least one more malign possibility: a SIM-swap attack. Thats where someone persuades your mobile phone company to transfer your number to a different device, which he or she then uses to try to break into the accounts that youve tied to your phone number.
This is what happens when a malicious software attack turns a business owners life upside down.
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Hackers Can Take Flight With Your Airline Miles
Using your email and passwords, hackers can get access to your airline miles to book trips or even redeem for cash.
Airline miles can be converted to cash as easily as going to websites that buy miles, Lavelle says.
To help prevent this, use a different password than the one you have on other accounts, and keep track of your mile activity regularly.
What About Banking Without A Ssn
If you dont have a SSN then you might not have to worry about identity theft. However, in lieu of worrying about that, youll have to worry about accessing a bank account to begin with. Unfortunately, in the US, most major banks require a SSN to set up an account.
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Is It Safe To Give Someone A Copy Of Your Driver’s License
An identity thief gets direct access to your complete name, driver’s license number, birth date, and other personal information if they have a driver’s license or a photo of one. Since 2017, the driver’s license information of over 150 million US drivers has been exposed as a result of a data breach or a failure to safeguard a database. There have been several high-profile cases where this information has been used to commit fraud or harass victims.
If you give or sell your driver’s license information, you can never get it back. You should always delete or destroy any mail that comes from licensing agencies.
People who buy or borrow your driver’s license information can use it to create false identities for themselves. They can use this information to open fraudulent accounts in your name at banks, credit unions, PayPal, and other financial institutions. This may cause you to lose money if the fraud is not reported promptly. In some cases, these criminals may even use your picture on social media under the names you gave out.
If you are a victim of identity theft, contact local law enforcement officials to report the crime. They can help you file a police report and take other steps to recover from the abuse.
Identity theft is a major problem that can have many negative effects on its victims. It is important to know how to protect yourself and your information.
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How Can Your Social Security Number Be Stolen
Its surprisingly easy for hackers and criminals to get your Social Security number. This usually happens either by physically getting the information or through a security breach of some kind online. Below are a few of the ways a person can steal your Social Security number:
- Getting documents out of the trash. Its common for papers such as medical bills or financial statements to have your SSN on them. If you toss these papers in the trash, criminals might actually go through it and then use the information.
- Overhearing you say your SSN. You may be asked for your Social Security number when you register at the hospital or when youre dealing with banks and other financial entities. If someone hears you say your SSN, they can then use it for their own activities.
- Obtaining it through a data breach. Even if you take all the necessary precautions to keep your SSN safe, you have to hope that other companies will do the same. Data breachessuch as the 2017 Equifax breachhappen when hackers are able to access companies data banks.
Keep in mind that while a lot of paperwork may ask for your SSN, you dont always have to share it. For example, your childrens school enrollment forms may have a line for your SSN, but this isnt something they actually need. In any situation, you can ask why the other party needs your SSN and refuse to give it if youre not comfortable.
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You Gave Your Social Security Number Away
If you suspect somebody has your Social Security Number — whether they stole it from a company or you gave it to them voluntarily — it’s important to set up credit monitoring. Typically your bank or the company that was breached will provide this to you for free.
You generally shouldn’t pay for credit monitoring, as high quality free products have proliferated in the marketplace particularly after the incident at Equifax. Paid credit monitoring services can be tricky to cancel, and you can typically achieve the same level of service with a free product.
Set up alerts so you know the instant anything changes with your credit score — you can usually do this through the credit monitoring program offered by your bank or credit card company, which is almost always a free service. Some of these services are free even if you’re not a customer of the bank, such as Capital One’s Credit Wise. In fact, you may want to do this anyway — monitoring your credit in this manner is good for everyone, not just victims of cybercrime.
If you provided a scammer with your Social Security Number directly, or you already think your number was used fraudulently, you will need to act more urgently. You can place a credit freeze on your account with the three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Transunion and Experian.
Is It Dangerous To Share Your Drivers License Number
Hackers might even build a fake identity using your driver’s license. They would do this by obtaining your name and birth date from government databases and creating a new ID card with a photo of an unknown person.
The best course of action in this situation is to contact the department that issued your license and have them put a stop order on your record. This will prevent other people from using your information, so if you haven’t done so already, change your social security number immediately. If someone else uses your license, they could be putting themselves at risk. For example, if there is an accident caused by someone with a suspended license, you could be held responsible.
Also, make sure to keep your driver’s license in a safe place. If it is lost or stolen, it can be used to commit crimes in your name like driving without insurance or committing fraud by applying for loans in your name.
Sharing your license number is very risky because it makes you vulnerable to crime. If you decide to do so, only share it with people you trust completely.
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What To Do If You Think Youve Been Hacked
Starting to notice some strange online activity? There are a couple of ways you can try to get ahead of it before it gets too bad. If you hear about spam emails being sent from your address, change your password immediately. You should also tell your contacts so that they know to ignore anything coming from you. Finally, Lavelle offers some other suggestions: Change your email settings to the highest privacy setting, scan your computer for malware and viruses, and be sure your browsers are updated, he says.
Whenever You Hear News About A Data Breach You May Wonder Exactly What Hackers Can Do With Your Information As It Turns Out Quite A Lot
Unfortunately, hackers work fast, too. According to May 2017 research by the Federal Trade Commission, it took only nine minutes before the hackers tried to access the information from a fake data breach.
If youve recently found out your data was compromised, then you should know the various ways identity thieves can use your information. This knowledge can prepare you for managing the effects of identity theft as soon as it happens.
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Social Security Number Theft: What To Do If Someone Steals Your Ssn
- Post author
Social Security number theft and identity theft are major headaches that can crush your credit score. Heres what to do if someone steals your SSN number.
The importance of your Social Security Number cant be exaggerated. The nine-digit number is your connection to the Social Security Administration but goes far beyond that. It has become one of the most commonly used numbers for verifying identity. Unfortunately, identity thieves realize the potential of these numbers and Social Security theft costs victims billions of dollars in damages each year.
You need a Social Security number to get a job, collect Social Security benefits, apply for federal loans, open bank accounts, buy a home and sign up for private insurance.
The unique number is a way for the government to keep track of your lifetime earnings and the number of years worked to calculate Social Security benefits later in life.
Social Security Number theft happens when a thief gains control of your unique number and uses it for their own advantage. There are many ways a thief can use this number and the damage they can do with it is significant.
The Changing Nature Of Fraud
Armed with your personal information, such as Social Security number, date of birth, and password, criminals can take over your existing financial accounts to steal money or go shopping or open new accounts in your name for their nefarious purposes.
New-account fraud skyrocketed 70 percent in 2017, Javelin found, as fraudsters used stolen information to open new mobile phone accounts, online payment accounts, and e-commerce accounts.
Account takeover losses hit $5.1 billion last year, a 120 percent increase from 2016. ATO fraud continues to be one of the most challenging fraud types, with victims paying an average of $290 in out-of-pocket costs and spending an average of 16 hours to resolve.
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Everyones Social Security Number Has Been Compromised Heres How To Protect Yourself
All of our SSNs have been compromised, say experts.
Every day, it seems, another data security disaster puts our personal information at risk. If its not a major hotel or restaurant chain getting hacked, its a financial institution.
Following breaches at Capital One, Equifax and a slew of other financial and healthcare organizations, theres little doubt that your social security number has been compromised, say cybersecurity experts. Not just yours. Mine, too, as well as those of our spouses, neighbors, friends and colleagues.
Your social security number is somewhere out there on the dark web, says Charles Henderson, who heads up X-Force Red, a team of hackers at IBM Security that companies hire to break into their computer systems to expose vulnerabilities.
It’s totally reasonable to assume that your social security number has been compromised at least once, if not many times, says Mike Chapple, associate teaching professor of information technology, analytics and operations at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.
A compromised social security number is much more problematic than when other types of personal data hacked. If your credit card number is stolen, your bank can issue a new one within days. If your passport or driver’s license is stolen, you can get a replacement issued with brand new numbers.
With Marriott and the other hotel breaches, all of those credit cards got revoked and re-issued, points out Henderson.
What Do You Do If Someone Uses Your Social Security Number
If you know your Social Security number has been stolen, here are some additional steps to take: 1. File a police report or 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.
They Can Use Your Ssn To Open A Bank Account In Your Name
If you think back to when you opened your first bank account, youll remember that the bank didnt require much information other than your name, address and SSN. That means that anyone with your SSN can easily open a bank account in your name, especially if the identity thief already obtained a drivers license in your name.
Why would someone want to open a bank account in your name? You can be sure it is not to add to your savings. The hacker could use it as a landing spot for transfers from your legitimate bank account.
Pro tip: The minute you suspect your SSN has been stolen, call the fraud departments of the three credit reporting agencies and place a fraud alert on your file. This tells creditors to call you before they open any new accounts in your name.
Its also critical to keep on top of your money. Using an online banking app makes it easier to monitor your account.