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.
Check If Your Child Has A Credit Report
Generally, a child under 18 wont have a credit report unless someone is using his or her information for fraud. A good way to find out if someone is using your childs information to commit fraud is to check if your child has a credit report. To do that, contact the three credit bureaus and ask for a manual search for your child’s Social Security number. You may have to give the credit bureaus a copy of
- your drivers license or other government-issued identification card
- proof of your address, like a utility bill, or a credit card or insurance statement
- your childs birth certificate
- your childs Social Security card
If youre not the childs parent, you may have to give the credit bureaus a copy of documents that prove you are the childs legal guardian.
When Your Child Turns 16
When your child turns 16, you may want to check if theres a credit report in his or her name. This could help you spot identity theft, since children under 18 usually dont have a credit report. If theres inaccurate information in your childs credit report, youll have time to correct it before he or she applies for a job, a college loan, a car loan, or a credit card, or tries to rent a place to live.
Call All Three Bureaus
This isnt a pre-date chat where youre relegated to just texting youre allowed to nag the bureaus with other forms of communication. And since time is of the essence, a little redundancy and repetition wont hurt, either. Call the same three bureaus and ask for a freeze. You will need the same information you provided in Step 3.
Download And Print An Application
There are several exceptions to being able to get a replacement card online. In Delaware and Wisconsin you must have a driver license, not just a state identification. And if your state ID was issued by Alabama, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon or West Virginia, the service is not yet available. Its also not available if your driver license or identification card was issued by a U.S. territory . If you cant get your card online, you can do so by mail. Gather the documents you need fill out and print an application deliveror mail the application to the Social Security office. You can find your local Social Security office here:
And Now Replace Your Social Security Card
There is no charge for replacing a lost or stolen Social Security card, so watch out for scammers offering card replacement “services” for a fee. You can replace your own or your child’s card, but you are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime. Replacing a card because of legal name changes or changes in U.S. citizenship and naturalization status does not count against those limits.To get a replacement Social Security card you will need to:
- Complete Form SS-5 – Application for a Social Security Card.
- Present an unexpired original document, like a drivers’ license, with identifying information and preferably a recent photograph that proves your identity
- Show evidence of your U.S. citizenship if you were born outside the United States and did not show proof of U.S. citizenship when you got your original card and
- If you are not a U.S. citizen, show evidence of your current naturalization or lawful noncitizen status.
Replacement Social Security cards cannot be applied for online. You must either take or mail the completed SS-5 application and all required documents to your local Social Security Office. To find your local Social Security service center, see the SSA’s Local Office Search website.
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How Service Canada Protects Your Sin
Service Canada stores personal information requested to apply for a SIN in the Social Insurance Register. This information includes your name, date of birth, place of birth and your parents’ names. Dates of death are also recorded in the Register.
Service Canada protects your SIN in the following ways:
- we store your personal information carefully on our premises and in computer systems that are only accessible to authorized employees who have a “need to know”
- we provide guidance about how to protect your SIN and your personal information
Some Immediate Action Steps To Take
- Notify your bank or financial institution about the theft of your Social Security number.
- Visit IdentityTheft.gov from the Federal Trade Commission to file a report and create a personalized plan for recovery.
- Download the Identity Theft Help App from the Identity Theft Resource Center for free help with identity theft cases.
- Go to annualcreditreport.com to obtain a free copy of your credit report, add a fraud alert or freeze your credit on Experian, Equifax and TransUnion in one place.
- If you need to contact one of the credit reporting companies directly, their customer service numbers are:
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Write Letters To All Three Bureaus
Dont worry about your penmanship you can type these letters up. But you must send written requests to each of the three credit bureaus. You will have to include personal information including your legal name in full, your date of birth, your Social Security Number, the address at which you currently live, all previous addresses from the past two years, and the reason for which you need a freeze.
Requesting A Social Security Card For Your Child
Children are prone to losing things and, unfortunately, to identity theft. In fact, our child identity theft research showed that 14 percent of kids have had their identities stolen, which is a concern of over 70 percent of U.S. parents. To get your child a new SS card after it has been lost or stolen, youll need documents proving:
- Your childs identity
- Your childs U.S. citizenship, or immigration status if theyre not a U.S. citizen
- Your identity
- Your custody of or relationship to the child
All of these documents must either be originals or certified copies by the issuing agency. Once youve collected all the necessary documents, complete an SS card application11 and mail it, along with the documents, to your local SSA office or card center.12 Within 10 business days from the date on the receipt, youll receive your childs new SS card.
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How To Apply For A Replacement Social Security Card
If you lose your Social Security card, you may be able to apply for a replacement card online through the Social Security Administration website, if you meet certain requirements. Review them here. Otherwise, youll need to follow an application process that involves providing documentation and completing an application.
Here are 3 simple steps to prepare to apply for a replacement Social Security card:
Protect Documents With Personal Information
If you have documents with your childs personal information, like medical bills or their Social Security card, keep them in a safe place, like a locked file cabinet.
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.
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What To Do If You Lose Your Social Security Card
Now that you know the basics, lets take a deeper dive on what to do if you lose your Social Security card. To be sure, quick action is important.
If an individual loses their Social Security card, the first thing they should do is make sure they have claimed their My SSA profile at the Social Security My Account website, says Devin Carroll, founder of Social Security Intelligence, in Texarkana, Texas. Not only can you request a replacement card, you can also quickly check the accuracy of your annual earnings history, print benefits statements and change your address.
When you do reach out to the Social Security Administration to report and replace a lost card, know going in that the agency has a substantial to do list that needs to be completed before they’ll even accept your request for a new Social Security card.
The good news is that the Social Security Administration provides, free of charge, three card replacements on an annual basis, and 10 free cards in the course of an individuals lifetime.
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.
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Shred Mail And Documents With Personal Details
Discarded mail and documents are a magnet for identity thieves. Dont just throw out papers that contain personal details such as your SSN. Get a paper shredder and use it on a regular basis. While youre at it, dont leave mail in an outside mailbox for long periods. Stealing mail is another way thieves can make off with your information.
If Your Driver’s License Or Dmv
Immediately contact your local DMV office to report the theft. Ask them to put a fraud alert on your license. Then call the toll-free DMV Fraud Hotline at 1-866-658-5758. If the thief is using your license as ID, you may want to change your license number. Ask DMV for an appointment. Take a copy of the police report and copies of bills or other items supporting your claim of fraud. You will also need to prove your identity. Take current documents such as a passport, a certification of citizenship or naturalization, or a U.S. military photo ID. DMV will issue a new license or ID card number when you meet all the requirements.
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Whether And How To Get A New Social Security Number
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.
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.
Write To The Credit Bureaus
Write a letter to each credit bureau. Repeat what you said in your telephone call . Send copies of your police report and completed ID Theft Affidavit. Remind the credit bureaus that they must block or remove any information that you, as an identity theft victim, say is a result of the theft. Send your letters by certified mail, return receipt requested. Keep a copy of each letter. See the Sample Letter to Credit Bureaus on page 7.
P.O. Box 2000Chester, PA 19016
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Report It To The Police
If you see something, say something especially if you see it done to yourself. If you are a victim of any crime, you should report it to your local police in any case. If you are the victim of identity theft, you are going to have to freeze your Social Security Number. In order to qualify for a freeze free of charge, you are required to have a copy of the police report.
Visit Identitytheftgov To Get A Recovery Plan
You can visit IdentityTheft.gov to report identity theft and, more importantly, set up a recovery plan, or you can call 877-438-4338 to do so. Both will guide you through a process that includes:
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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.
Signs That Your Social Security Number Has Been Stolen
There are a few red flags to watch for that can indicate someones gotten ahold of your SSN and used it. One sign is that your credit score drops without any plausible explanation. Another is that your bank account has mysterious charges or withdrawals. You also may see suspicious emails or mail arrive at your home.
Its important to take note of these occurrences and investigate them further, not write them off. You may find it helpful to sign up with a credit-monitoring program offered by one of the main credit bureaus to keep tabs on your score. Also, try to get into the habit of regularly checking your bank balances online and reviewing new transactions to ensure you were the one who made them.
Another popular scam happens when thieves steal someones SSN and use it to get a job or receive a paycheck. If this happens, you may start to receive mailed notices from the Internal Revenue Service . Its important to note that the IRS will never call you. If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, this is likely a scam, and you shouldnt divulge any personal information. You may, however, start to receive calls from credit agencies or debt collectors notifying you about accounts that are past due, and these may be legitimate calls. These fraudulent accounts may have been opened in your name without your knowledge.
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