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What Can Happen If Someone Gets My Social Security Number

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How Can You Protect Your Social Security Number

Did Someone Steal Your Social Security Number to File Taxes? Here’s What to Do

Protecting your Social Security number comes from monitoring your credit at least once a month. When someone uses your Social Security number, there will be a note on your record, and you can check and notice transactions that were not made by yourself. When this happens, be sure to consult a fraud agency to help you keep your losses to a minimum.

Where Can I Find My Social Insurance Number

  • On your SIN card;or confirmation letter: Service Canada;used to issue SINs in plastic card format, however presently, they are issued in paper format. Check your records for either;your;card or confirmation letter.
  • On CRA documents:;Your SIN is used to identify you with the Canada Revenue Agency so youll find your SIN number on the first page of your tax returns and on any other documents or correspondence from the CRA.

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The rise of technology has brought new threats to your personal data and its security. Identity theft is a crime that strikes at the heart of a modern citizens wealth, employment, social services, and more. Our identity specifically, the electronically-encoded identity that serves as the gateway to our bank accounts, to our home security systems, to our e-mail and network resources can be stolen by unscrupulous people and used for crimes great and small.

At best, an identity thief may use part of your identity as the launchpad for some phony persona that they are using to commit acts of fraud and light scams. At worst, they can drain your bank accounts, destroy your credit rating, and wipe out your hard-earned retirement benefits. Identity theft is not a minor crime in 2018, more than 60 million Americans reported that they were affected by identity theft.

Also Check: How Can Social Security Identity Theft Occur

How Do Thieves Steal An Identity

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

California Law Limits The Public Display Of Social Security Numbers

Social Security Number Lookup for Professionals

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.

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What To Do If Your Social Security Number Was Found On The Dark Web

Many members of the UC Berkeley community have recently received alerts from Experian that their Social Security numbers were found on the dark web, a part of the web that does not show up in online searches.

This occurred following news from the University of California about a cyberattack impacting the UC and hundreds of other organizations.

Individuals who have not yet signed up for the free credit and identity monitoring, and consequently who may not be aware of potential exposure of their information, shouldnow, said Jenn Stringer, Berkeleys associate vice chancellor for IT and chief information officer. For help with enrolling, call 617-1923 and reference engagement number DB26512.

Stringer acknowledged that receiving a message from a credit monitoring service about your Social Security number being found on the dark web can be unsettling. She received one herself and advises everyone to continue to check their notifications and follow the instructions .

Anthony D. Joseph, a Berkeley engineering professor and an expert in cybersecurity, noted the importance of the Experian alerts. The alerts provide you with important and specific information that you should then act on to help protect your credit and identity, he said. The sooner you are notified, and take action, the better.

Both Stringer and Joseph strongly recommend that individuals with their Social Security numbers found on the dark web do the following:

Giving Your Ssn Over The Phone

Never give out your Social Security number over email or the phone if you didnt initiate the call. If someone calls you and is asking for sensitive information, they could simply be posing as a government agency that needs your SSN. Fraudulent calls happen frequently and its important to keep your ear out for them. If they talk about debt or bills that you potentially own, they are probably just fishing for your information. Dont give in unless you can verify the callers identity.

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When Applying For A Federal Loan

The government will use your Social Security number to make sure youre eligible when you apply for a federal loan, such as a federal student loan. For example, to qualify for federal student loans, you must not be in default on another federal loan, you must have eligible citizenship or visitor status, and most male applicants must have registered with the Selective Service.

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Knowing Their Secrets Can Help You Trip Them Up

What To Do If Your Social Security Number is Stolen

I came across an excellent article that explains how easy it is for scammers to decode your social security number.; Ive always wondered how they did this.

Carnegie Mellon University researchers found that only two pieces of information are needed to guess SSNs. A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences implies that knowledge of your hometown and your birth date allows scammers to discover most, if not all, of the nine digits of your social security number.

For $50, your SSN can be bought from dozens of websites used by private investigators, businesses conducting credit checks, and savvy scammers who know your name, birth date, and current address. And if the scammer doesnt have your birth place and date information, its easy to find.;; There are many websites and database where one can access the birth dates of thousands of people easily and cheaply, said Alessandor Acquisti, the studys lead researcher.

Public databases and voter registration lists include the information scammers want.; Over the years, the first three digits of the SSN designate an area number.;; The fourth and fifth are a group number and the last four digits, which are more difficult to guess, are issued sequentially depending on how long the social security application took to process.

For those who use social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter or have online accounts, here are four easy ways to help prevent potential problems:

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When You Don’t Have To Provide Your Sin

Some private-sector organizations may ask for your SIN. This practice is strongly discouraged, but it is not illegal.

Here are examples of when you don’t have to give your SIN:

  • proving your identity
  • completing a job application before you get the job
  • completing an application to rent a property
  • negotiating a lease with a landlord
  • completing a credit card application
  • cashing a cheque
  • applying to a university or college

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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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.

What Is Identity Theft

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

Identity theft is the process of stealing your personal information like your name, address, Social Security number and email address and using it without your consent. Identity theft can happen to anyone, and the effects can be more than just an inconvenience.

Hackers may obtain your information in a data breach. But they may also be able to get your information if you enter it on a public computer or go to an unsecured website and these are just some examples of how hackers can steal your information.

They can then use your personal information in a variety of ways for their own gain and at your expense.

Here are five ways hackers can take advantage of you and your information.

  • Your info could be used to open utility accounts
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    Your Info Could Be Used To Open Credit Cards Or Take Out Loans

    If hackers have your Social Security number, name, birthdate and address, they can open credit cards or apply for loans in your name.

    Hackers obtaining personal information, including Social Security numbers, can enable someone to pose as their victim and get credit or take out loans that they never pay back, says Steven J.J. Weisman, a lawyer and author of Identity Theft Alert: 10 Rules You Must Follow to Protect Yourself from Americas #1 Crime.

    Everyones Social Security Number Has Been Compromised Heres How To Protect Yourself

    All of our SSNs have been compromised, say experts.

    Getty

    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.

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    When And Why You Need A Social Security Number

    Anytime you get hired for a new job, your employer will ask for your Social Security number. Your employers accounting department will use this number to report your income to the Internal Revenue Service and to report your Social Security wages to the Social Security Administration.

    Your employer will also use it for state income tax reporting unless your state doesnt have an income tax. Employers who participate in E-Verify, a program to make sure employees can legally work in the United States, also must obtain your Social Security number before you can begin work.

    Below are some other common scenarios where youll need to provide your Social Security number.

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    Whether And How To Get A New Social Security Number

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

    Many stolen Social Security numbers are used simply to gain employment, with no detrimental effect to the legitimate holders of the SSN. But others are used to defraud banks, retailers, the IRS and other government agencies, which could trash your credit.

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    If several years pass after the theft of your Social Security number, and the problems arising from the theft have not gotten any better, then you may want to apply for a new SSN. But before you take that step, there are several things to consider.

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    What Are The Dangers Of Losing My Social Security Card

    Scammers will use stolen or highjacked phones and an SSN to access one-time passwords that allow them entry to bank accounts, credit cards, and other sensitive financial information. The thief can use this information to commit account takeover fraud and steal your money and additional personal information. One of the fastest-growing COVID-19-related identity theft crimes is tax fraud and identity theft, whereby thieves file a phony tax return in your name, hoping to snag a refund before you catch on. If your Social Security card is stolen, be sure to report the loss to the Internal Revenue Service. Another recent COVID-19 scam that cruelly exploits job losses involves filing phony unemployment claims using your SSN, birth date, name, or address.

    Even if you havent had your Social Security card stolen or lost, you need to remain vigilant for scammers who call you claiming theres a problem with your SSN or account and try to get you to divulge personal information. If theres a legitimate problem with your number or account, the Social Security Administration will mail you a letter with your Social Security number. To learn how to respond to unsolicited robocalls or calls using caller ID spoofing, visit this SSA webpage.

    How Do You Protect Yourself

    The single best thing to do is to put a freeze on your credit files, which will prevent anyone from opening a new account. It’s free to place a freeze and to lift it for your own needs. But you have to contact each of the three major credit bureaus individually, which you can do online. Krebs also suggests freezing the credit files maintained by a handful of smaller, specialized agencies. You should also check your credit score regularly, which is a good way to detect fraud after it happens.

    , which typically carry a monthly fee, can also help reveal the work of identity thieves. They provide tools to prevent you from phishing and other forms of hacking combined with scanning services that look for your Social Security number or email address in places online where it doesn’t belong.

    Meanwhile, T-Mobile has set up a website suggesting more steps people can take to guard against fraud. Anyone with a smartphone would be wise to take them:

    On the plus side, two-factor authentication is becoming the standard online, and that’s improving security across the web. But too many sites encourage you make that second factor a text to your phone number, which encourages SIM swap fraud. Wherever possible, use an authentication app instead.

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    Applying For A New Number Or Replacement Card

    The SSA may assign a new Social Security number to you if you are being harassed, abused, or are in grave danger when using the original number, or if you can prove that someone has stolen your number and is using it. You must provide evidence that the number is being misused, and that the misuse is causing you significant continuing harm.

    If you apply for a new Social Security number, you must prove

    • your age
    • your citizenship or lawful immigration status
    • your identity

    Getting a new Social Security number probably wont resolve all the problems related to the theft of your identity. Government agencies and some businesses may keep records under your original Social Security number. In addition, because credit reporting companies use Social Security numbers and other personal information to identify a persons credit file, using a new number doesnt guarantee a fresh start. But by being careful with your personal information and monitoring credit reports for fraudulent activity, you can limit the misuse.

    The SSA lets you apply for an original Social Security number or a replacement Social Security card for free. The application form and information about the supporting documents you need to apply are available online. The form takes just a few minutes to complete. ;But that hasnt stopped some websites from claiming that the process is complicated, confusing, and time-consuming, and offering to do it for you for a fee.

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