Monday, May 16, 2022

What Happens If You Give Someone Your Social Security Number

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Avoid Giving Information To Untrusted Sources Online

Four times you shouldnt give out your Social Security number

Are you familiar with phishing? When you receive an email or call from a reputable entity, you should exercise caution in providing information about you. In a phishing scam, the scammer can pretend to be your credit card company.

Most of the time, these scams ask you security questions in your account.

For example, the scammer may ask, whats your first pets name? By providing the answer to that question, youre merely giving the scammer the key to the lock. So when theres a suspicious email or call pretending to be some company, dont immediately disclose confidential information.

Can I Get A New Social Security Number

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.

What Should You Do If You Think Your Social Security Number Has Been Stolen

If you think your SSN has been stolen, you should immediately reach out to your banks, credit card companies and other financial services providers to let them know. Youll also want to inform the three main credit bureaus. Its a good idea to file a police report to have an official record, and make sure to check the FTCs official recommendations, which list who to notify and how.

Having your identity stolen can wreak havoc on your personal and financial life, but being as careful as possible with your SSN can help protect you. If you do find yourself the victim of identity theft or fraud, you may need to seek help from a or legal counsel.

Reviewed by Anna Grozdanov, Associate Attorney at Lexington Law Firm. by Lexington Law.

Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.

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What To Do If You Lose Your Social Security Card

Reading time: 5 minutes


  • 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.

Request For Identity Verification From The Irs

Do you really have to give out your Social Security number?

When the IRS stops a suspicious tax return filing, they may send a letter called “Letter 5071C” asking that you verify your identity. It will include a couple ways to verify it: via a phone number or through the IRS’s Identity Verfication Service, .

This online service is the quickest method and will ask you multiple-choice questions to verify whether or not the tax return flagged for further identity verification was filed by you or someone else. The IRS only sends such notices by mail. The IRS will not request that you verify your identity by contacting you by phone or through email. If you receive such calls or emails, they are likely a scam.

If you can’t confirm your identity using the IRS’ online Identity Verification Service, you can call the IRS at the phone number included in the letter.

When confirming your identity, you will need:

  • Your name, date of birth and contact information
  • Social security number or individual taxpayer identification number
  • Your prior year tax return along with supporting documents such as W-2s, 1099s, and Schedules A and C if you filed them
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    Set Up Identity Theft Protection

    There is no way to stop scammers and fraudsters from knowing your personal information once you give it away. And often, youll never be able to find out who has it. This is because scammers and hackers will often sell your personal information in bulk to numerous fraudsters over places such as the dark web.

    However, you can still protect yourself even if fraudsters have your personal information.

    The best way to protect yourself from identity theft crimes if by using a service like Identity Guard, which monitors your bank accounts, credit reports and more. They have protected over 47 Million people over 20+ years.

    To further protect you in case youve already given out your personal info, youll get:

    • A team monitoring the dark web for people selling your personal information, and alerting you if anything appears.
    • Monitoring of your credit reports
    • A personal case manager that can help you recover from any identity theft problems.

    Youll even get a $1 million insurance policy and stolen funds reimbursement. This means that your financial situation will remain SAFE EVEN IF fraudsters have your personal information .

    What Is A Social Security Number For

    Your Social Security is a nine-digit number thats a unique identifier for you for government purposes. Its usually assigned upon birth in the United States, but if you had an undocumented birth or your parents didnt ask for a SSN, you may need to request one as an adult.

    Your SSN is very important and is required for several things, such as:

    • Filing taxes
    • Opening credit card and bank accounts
    • Getting a passport
    • Filing legal documents

    Because your SSN is a unique identifier, its usually not possible to be assigned another one. There are some exceptions in extreme cases, such as if youre changing your identity for safety purposes. Its very difficult to get a new SSN, and the approval process is long.

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    There Are Only A Few Organizations Entitled To Collect Your Ssn

    Barry Cohen, a former employee of the Social Security Administration, says there are only a few organizations that have the legitimate right to collect and use your Social Security number, mostly limited to the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

    “While many organizations and companies request it and while it has become commonplace for many to collect and use it they are, in fact, unauthorized uses and therefore you should not be required to provide the number,” says Cohen. He says the SSN was never intended to be used as a national identification number. “True, law enforcement agencies will often use it. However, the Social Security Administration does not routinely provide the numbers to them.”

    You may find yourself unable to get a credit card, home mortgage, or other loan without supplying your Social Security number, but in most other cases, there’s no legitimate reason for anyone to collect this information. If you’re uncomfortable with providing your SSN in any situation, know your rights and speak up.

    Having The Right Attitude

    What to Do If You need Help with Your Social Security Business

    But above all of these, to recover from a successful cyberattack, it’s best to get mentally ready ahead of time.

    I know that at your workplace, school, or through conversations with your kids or parents, you may have learned that stupid people cause cybersecurity incidents, and being not-stupid can prevent them. The conventional wisdom suggests it’s stupid to have an easy-to-guess password, to re-use passwords or to be fooled by a phishing email or to take a scammer’s call.

    Stop thinking this way. Phishing emails that seek to convince you to give up account numbers, scam calls that are meant to trick you into providing your social security number — they are better than ever, and criminals are refining their tricks all the time.

    The average person has hundreds of passwords — it’s inevitable that some of them are “bad” or subject to being mechanically uncovered by a simple algorithm. It’s inevitable that some may be reused.

    Sure, it’s a great idea to use fresh and unique passwords, especially for financial accounts. But it’s impossible to imagine that everyone will do so perfectly every single time.

    It is also important to pass on this attitude to your friends and family: The people closest to you can lose valuable time and money because they are too embarrassed to tell anyone they made a mistake.

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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.

    Freeze Your Childs Credit Report

    If your child is under 16, you can request a free credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, to make it harder for someone to open new accounts in your child’s name. The freeze stays in place until you tell the credit bureaus to remove it.

    To activate a credit freeze, contact each of the three credit bureaus. Find their contact information at

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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.

    You Gave Your Social Security Number Away

    Online Identity Theft: What Is It And How To Protect Yourself?

    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.

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    Dissecting The Social Security Number

    The nine digit social security number is grouped into three parts the area number, group number, and serial number.

    The Area Number

    The area number is the first grouping in the social security number. Originally, the area number indicated the location of the Social Security Administration office where an SSN was issued . Individuals could apply at any office, so the area number was not an indication of where they lived or worked. This changed in 1972 when the Social Security Administration began issuing SSNs from its Baltimore headquarters and assigning area numbers based on the applicants mailing address.

    Anyone who applied for a social security number between 1972 and 2011 will have an area number that correlates to the mailing address listed on their application . However, the area number cannot be used to determine residence since you can have mail sent to any location. In 2011, the SSA changed the way area numbers are assigned yet again to a system called randomization. Anyone applying for an SSN after June 25, 2011 has received a randomized area number that has no correlation to any location .

    The Group Number

    The middle section of numbers is simply there to make administration easier for the SSA. The group number ranges from 01 to 99 and allows Social Security Numbers with the same area number to be broken into smaller pairings. Geographic data is not indicated by the group number.

    The Serial Number

    Act Fast And Protect Yourself From Future Fraud

    There are a lot of ways for someone to get your Social Security number.

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    Lets face it: your Social Security number is probably out there somewhere. This federal identification number is used for so many purposesfrom tax forms to credit apps to student information formsthat it exists in myriad places. And while organizations that ask for personally identifying information, including your Social Security number , do have an obligation to keep it as secure as possible, mistakes and cyberattacks happen. Sometimes, the person who gives up your SSN to a scammer is you.

    Find out what to do if youre a victim of identity fraud, and learn about Social Security number fraud and how to avoid it in the future.

    What happens if you accidentally give someone your Social Security number?

    No matter how or why it happened, if you give your SSN to someone you suspect might be a scammeror think that your SSN has been stolen for any other reasontake action quickly. You could become a victim of identity theft. First, check your credit reports to ensure nothing is amiss right now with your accounts. If you find anything, consider working with professionals such as Lexington Law to address errors on your report.

    How do I check to see if someone is using my Social Security number?

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    Who Needs Your Social Security Number

    by Robyn | May 22, 2018 | Social Security

    Recently, as my daughter was deciding which college she will attend next fall, I was looking over the various schools acceptance forms. Many asked for her Social Security number. I told Gabriella not to give the school her number. Why? she asked. Because they have no legal right to it, I said.Your Social Security number is a golden key. With it, thieves can take out credit and commit other identify theft in your name. The best protection we have is to give our Social Security numbers only when absolutely necessary.When are you required to give your number? There are essentially two situations:

    • You are doing something that is reportable to the IRS or your states tax department and/or
    • You are engaged in a financial transaction that is subject to the Customer Identification Program. This is a provision of the USA Patriot Act which requires financial institutions to verify your identity.

    You do need to give your Social Security number to:

    Many organizations ask for your Social Security numbers out of habit. Some want to use it as your identification number or to be able to collect if you dont pay them. I have heard some medical providers want your number in case you die. Most places are not required to collect, and, therefore, should not have possession of your Social Security number. These include:

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