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What Can Thieves Do With Social Security Number

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Leave Your Card At Home

Identity Theft Expert on Your Social Security Number

Dont carry your Social Security card around with you in your wallet or purse. Dont enter your SSN into your phone, laptop, or other devices. It would be rare for you to need your card. Typically, reciting the number is all thats required. Keep the number in your head and the card locked up at home.

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.

Opening A My Social Security Account

The Social Security Administration knows that Social Security identity theft is a big problem. To help combat it, they created a program called my Social Security. This online account makes it possible for you to monitor anytime theres a benefits claim using your Social Security number. This can help you spot any discrepancies.

Follow these steps to register now and have proof of your Social Security number if you have your identity stolen:

  • Go to and click Create an Account. This will take you to another page where you have to click Create an Account again. You will then have to accept the terms of service before you can go on to the next step.
  • Fill out your information on the secure online form. After you complete the form, you have the opportunity to add extra security to your account. This is optional and you will get it in the mail if you so choose. Click Next at the bottom of the page to move on.
  • Answer some questions about yourself and your credit history. The next page has multiple choice questions that ask if specific information about you is correct.
  • Create a username and password. Make sure to keep these in a safe place. Access to this login info means access to your Social Security number.
  • Confirm your contact information.You will receive a confirmation code by phone or email within 10 minutes. Enter the code to finish verifying your account.

Also Check: What Is Social Security Administration

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.

How To Retrieve A Lost Social Security Number

4 Things Identity Thieves Can Do With Your Social Security ...

You are often required to provide your Social Security number when completing applications for jobs, credit and services. Some people may have their Social Security number memorized, while others have to look at the card to get the number. When you find yourself without a card and you dont remember your number, you can still retrieve your lost number. You can make three requests for your number each year, or 10 requests during your entire lifetime. All requests are free.

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Stealing Your Physical Social Security Card

This is the most obvious way someone could get a hold of your Social Security number. Hopefully, you keep your physical Social Security card locked up somewhere in your home. But when it comes time to take it out of its secret hiding place, youre at risk of losing it to theft, or even your own forgetfulness.

Always keep an eye on your card when you take it out of its hiding place, and put it right back as soon as you can. For example, say you are starting a new job and your employer needs to see your Social Security card. You will need to bring the card to work with you. Make sure the card is in your sight at all times. If Human Resources takes your card, make sure they give it back before you leave. When you get home, put the card right back in its safe place.

As for other sensitive documents with your Social Security number on them, the shredder is your best friend. Never throw away unshredded papers that contain your personal information. Sometimes, identity thieves dig through trash cans looking for these kinds of documents to gather personal data.

You May Be Able To Apply For A Replacement Card Online

You can use a to apply for a replacement Social Security card online if you:

  • Are a U.S. citizen age 18 or older with a U.S. mailing address
  • Are not requesting a name change or any other change to your card and
  • Have a drivers license or state-issued identification card from one of the many participating states or the District of Columbia.

Note:

If your drivers license or state-issued identification card was issued by one of the states listed below, this service is not yet available. If your state appears on this list, please check back. We are working to make this service available to additional states.

  • Alaska
  • Oklahoma
  • West Virginia

This service is also not yet available if your drivers license or identification card was issued by a U.S. territory .

If you are a U.S. citizen, and have not gotten a replacement Social Security card or name change recently, you may not be eligible to use the online replacement card application inmySocial Security.

If you dont have a mySocial Security account, you can create one today. To set up your account, go to:

If you do not qualify to apply online for a card, please follow the instructions in the next section.

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Why You Need A Social Security Number

If youre unsure what an SSN is, the Social Security Administration loosely defines it as a nine-digit number for identity-tracking purposes. Whenever you start a new job or apply for government benefits, you need your Social Security number: it will be used to verify your identity and record earnings. You can locate your Social Security number on your Social Security card if you cant find your card, make sure you reach out to the Social Security Administration directly.

Request For A Credit Freeze

Identity thief steals victim’s Social Security number, uses it to take his cell phone number

Your original social security number card is rarely needed physically anywhere. This may benefit you because the chances of the card getting lost decrease to a high extent. But if you do lose it somehow, the same benefit may turn against you because the thief just needs to remember your SSN to avail all the benefits.

That is why you need to request a credit freeze immediately after you feel suspicious about the social security number theft.

You just need to contact the three major credit reporting agencies, that are, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion and put a credit freeze on your credit reports.

Once you successfully do this, the thief wont be able to avail the advantages that you are the rightful owner of.

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Commit Crimes Under Your Name

Surprise, surprise. A criminal can use your Social Security number to yep, you guessed it commit more crimes. For example, if the thief gets caught and arrested for a crime, he or she can give your stolen Social Security number out to the police.

The consequences of this switcheroo are not hard to imagine. You can be stuck with a crime you didnt commit, tainting your criminal background checks and your chances for employment. Again, clearing your name might take years so its definitely a bad spot to be in.

How Thieves Steal Ssns

There are several ways thieves can get a hold of your SSN. The most obvious is by stealing the physical Social Security card. Be sure to keep it in a secure place. This is a no-brainer.

Things get more tricky when we go online. The three most used methods for stealing Social Security Numbers are phishing, malware and data breaches.

Phishing attempts are nothing new. In their efforts to steal your identity, jack your crypto or drain your rewards account, thieves use ever-more convincing methods to trick you into sharing your personal information. They often create fake websites that resemble websites of real companies that you may use regularly. The goal is to trick you into entering your private information. Often scammers will send spoofing emails with links asking you to re-enter your login information or even your SSN.

Malware falls more under the traditional hacker category. Thieves who use this method to steal personal information, including Social Security numbers, infect your computer or mobile devices with software. That software can record your keystrokes, and if you type in your social security number at some point, that will be recorded. Other types of malware steal information from files on your device.

Data breaches are a major threat to consumers because its difficult to manage your data, including Social Security Number, once submitted to a website or service and stored on their servers.

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What To Do If Someone Steals Your Ssn

If you become aware that someone has stolen your Social Security Number or have a suspicion, take these steps immediately. Its essential to act quickly to prevent any further harm.

The first step is to contact one of the credit-reporting agencies, TransUnion, Experian or Equifax. Heres how to contact the Big Three credit bureaus.

When you get someone on the lie, tell them you would like to place a credit freeze and a fraud alert on your credit file.

Putting a credit freeze on your file will block lenders from your credit report without your approval. The good thing is, its easy to unfreeze your account. Better safe than sorry.

The next step is to report the identity theft to the Social Security Administration and other government agencies.

The first you should contact is the Federal Trade Commission via identitytheft.gov. You can also file a police report with your local police department, which can assist you down the road.

The third step is to report your identity theft to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. Doing so will distribute your report to local, state and federal authorities and create an official report. This step is the most important when asking what to do if someone steals your SSN.

Can I Get A New Social Security Number

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If you were late to discover the theft of your SSN and significant damage has been done to your credit, its possible.

First off, getting a new SSN is not easy. To do so, you have to prove the identity theft and also that the theft has led to you facing problems with law enforcement, the IRS or that your bad credit cant be fixed.

There are significant downsides to obtaining a new SSN. The first is that your new number will have an empty credit history. This means you will have to start from zero, building up your credit score, which can take years.

If you decide you want to pursue this option, you need to start by filling out a SSN application form. It is up to the Social Security Administration to decide whether or not to grant your request for a new number. But, if youre trying to figure out what to do if your identity is stolen, its going to be the best route to take. Your new SSN will be free of fraud and clear of potential headaches.

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Ask Why They Want It And How It Will Be Handled

If the business insists, ask questions. You have a right to know why its necessary to provide your SSN and how it will be handled. Ask questions such as:

  • Why is having my SSN necessary?
  • With whom will you share my number if I provide it?
  • How will my number be stored?
  • Do you have a privacy policy, and may I see it?
  • Will you cover my liability or losses if my number is stolen or compromised?

Unfortunately, if you are asked to provide your SSN to a business or an institution that doesnt need it, and you say no, it can refuse to provide services to you or put conditions on the servicesuch as requiring a deposit or additional fees.

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.

Read Also: How Do You Report Social Security Fraud

Leave Your New Card At Home

To protect yourself, since you dont need your Social Security card itself for most transactions that rely on your Social Security number, you might be wise to keep it in a safe place at home, rather than in your wallet. Your Social Security account is designed to keep you safe and keep track of all your contributions so you may draw on the funds youve put in when you need them. Its a small paper card, but it can make a big difference in your future.

Use The Id Theft Affidavit

Steps you should take if your social security numbers stolen

Creditors may ask you to fill out fraud affidavits. The Federal Trade Commissions ID Theft Affidavit is accepted by the credit bureaus and by most major creditors. Send copies of the completed form to creditors where the thief opened accounts in your name. Also send copies to creditors where the thief made charges on your account, to the credit bureaus, and to the police. The form is available on the FTC Web site at ww.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/resources/forms/affidavit.pdf. File a complaint of identity theft with the FTC. See their Web site at www.consumer.gov/idtheft The FTC keeps a database of identity theft cases that is used by many law enforcement agencies.

Read Also: What To Do If They Steal Your Social Security

Original Card For A Noncitizen Adult

In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from the Department of Homeland Security can apply for a Social Security number . If you do not have permission to work but need an SSN for other purposes, see If you do not have permission to work for further information.

Enumeration Beyond Entry

You may be eligible to apply using our automated process called Enumeration Beyond Entry if you are applying to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for work authorization or lawful permanent resident status.

You may not need to visit a Social Security office or Social Security Card center if you apply using the Form I-765 or I-485. If you are approved for either application through USCIS, and elect to apply for an SSN, USCIS will send us the information to issue you an original SSN card or replacement card. You should receive your SSN card no later than 7 to 10 business days after you receive your Employment Authorization Document or I-551 from USCIS. We will mail the card to the address provided on the application. For more information, see âApply For Your Social Security Number While Applying For Your Work Permit and or Lawful Permanent Residencyâ.

Important

You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current . We cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Safeguard Your Social Security Number From Social Security Identity Theft

Your Social Security card is the most valuable little piece of paper you will ever own. And like all valuables, there are thieves trying to get to it. Most forms of identity theft have the end goal of attaining someones Social Security number, so its wise to prime yourself on the different types of Social Security identity theft and how they could affect you.

The general definition of identity theft is someone stealing your personal information to use to their advantage. Social Security identity theft goes deeper than that, as the personal information stolen is your all-important Social Security number. That gives the thieves access to a plethora of ways to ruin your credit.

Using a credit monitoring tool can help you catch identity theft early. Try SmartCredit free for 14 days and get $1 million in identity fraud insurance.

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