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What Happens When Your Social Security Number Is Stolen

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What Do I Do If My Social Security Card Or Number Is Stolen Or Lost

What To Do If Your Social Security Number is Stolen

If your Social Security card or number is lost or stolen, you should immediately contact your local police department and the Social Security Administration to let them know about the incident. Once youve done that, there are a few other things that you can do to help mitigate the risks involved with losing your Social Security card.

Get The Best Identity Theft Protection Today

If you think youve been victimized after experiencing a lost or stolen Social Security card, or your Social Security number has been exposed by a data breach, we can help you take the steps to protect what matters most. IdentityForce can help monitor your identity and credit while providing you with the latest news and information in identity theft protection. Our Smart SSN Tracker alerts you if an unfamiliar name, alias, or address is associated with your SSN, and our experts will be there to assist you every step of the way. IdentityForces Identity Vault provides online encrypted storage for your important personally identifiable information including SSNs, credit cards, financial account information, and birth dates, along with other important documents. It also provides access to online and mobile digital organization and storage of digital copies of important legal and personal documents, medical records, and other items.

Weve built best-in-class, innovative capabilities that continue to be named the best identity theft protection service throughout our industry. Additionally, our IdentityForce members receive full, white-glove restoration services to reduce the damaging effects of all types of fraud, theft, misuse, and unintended exposure of personal and financial data.

Let us show you how IdentityForce can help you manage through a compromised Social Security number incident. .

**Originally published July 11, 2017. Updated April 14, 2021.**

Identity Theft: What You Need To Know

Thieves with access to personal information Social Security number, birth certificate, PIN or credit card numbers, even pre-approved credit card solicitations can steal your identity and apply for credit in your name, racking up huge debts without you even knowing that it has happeneduntil its too late. Stay safe. Follow these simple suggestions.

Safeguard Your Personal Information:

Protect Your Bank Accounts and Your Mail:

Protect Yourself on the Internet and Protect Your Computer:

  • If you must use a public computer, confirm first that it is not running a desktop search engine and that the proprietor has denied users administrative privileges so they can’t install any programs that might be used to capture your emails or passwords.

If You Are a Victim of Identity Theft:

  • Have them place a fraud alert in your file. A fraud alert generally lasts for 90 days, although it can be extended.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission to file a complaint and create an Identity Theft Affidavit.
  • Call the Social Security Administrations fraud hotline at 269-0271 or go to If you suspect that someone is using your Social Security number, you can check your earnings record by calling 772-1213.
  • If your bank account has been compromised at all, close the account completely and open a new one.
  • Certegy Inc.: 437-5120

    Recommended Reading: What Is Social Security Check

    What Is Identity Theft

    Identity theft happens when a criminal gets your personal information and tries to steal money from your accounts, open new credit cards, apply for loans, rent apartments and commit other crimesall using your identity. Identity theft can damage your credit, leave you with unwanted bills and require a lot of time and frustration to clean up.

    What Is Social Security Number Theft

    What Happens if Your Social Security Number Gets Stolen ...

    Social Security Number theft or Social Security Number fraud is big business for thieves. The Social Security Administration estimates that in 2019 the administration made $7.9 billion in improper payments due to fraud. This boils down to an average cost of identity theft of over $1,000 per person!

    The problem is a growing one. In 2017 the number of Social Security Numbers compromised in data breaches surpassed the number of credit card numbers, according to a study by Javelin Strategy & Research.

    Social Security Number theft can wreak havoc on your credit score. The effort and time required to undo that sort of damage can often take years.

    Once hackers or thieves have your SSN, they can make false statements on claims, file claims under your SSN, file fraudulent tax returns for refunds, open bank accounts and credit cards and more. A SSN, especially one with a good credit score attached, can be used to extract serious money quickly via these scams.

    Related: How to know if someone is using your social security number

    Recommended Reading: Social Security Advantage

    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. Cybersecurity expert Brian 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.

    T-Mobile is offering two years of McAfee’s monitoring service for free to anyone affected by the breach. It 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 to make that second factor a text message sent to your phone number, which encourages SIM swap fraud. Wherever possible, use an authentication app instead.

    Five Steps To Take If Your Social Security Number Is Stolen

    Contact the businesses and agencies involved

    Whether its your credit card, an electrical company or your insurance carrier, let the fraud department know as soon as possible about questionable charges or statements.

    Report the loss to the Federal Trade Commission

    Do this by logging on to It will provide a step-by-step reporting and recovery plan. You can also call 1-877-IDTHEFT.

    File a police report

    This way, if your name is tied to any wrongdoing, theres a record tied to the incident, which will help bolster your case.

    Alert one of the major credit bureaus

    These include Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Contact one, and the other two will also know . Explain that there has been fraudulent activity and request a credit freeze. This will help stem any additional damage by preventing thieves from opening a new credit card account or applying for a loan. While youre at it, check your credit report . If a companys security lapse caused your Social Security number to be exposed, see if the company offers free credit monitoring, and if so, use it.

    File your taxes early

    Recommended Reading: Social Security Money

    Can You Get A New Social Security Number After Identity Theft

    If you decide to apply for a new number, youll need to prove your identity, age, and U.S. citizenship or immigration status. For more information, ask for Your Social Security Number and Card (Publication Number . Youll also need to provide evidence youre having ongoing problems because of the misuse.

    What Is A Credit Report

    STOLEN Social Security Number? | This is What REALLY Happens

    Your credit report is a summary of your credit history. It lists:

    • your name, address, and Social Security number
    • your credit cards
    • how much money you owe
    • if you pay your bills on time or late

    All the information in the credit report should be about you. Get a copy of your credit report. Make sure you recognize the information in it. If you do not, you need to try to fix it.

    Learn more about your credit history, including how to get your free credit report.

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    What Can A Thief Do With Your Social Security Number

    Because an SSN is unique to every individual, it is a very useful identification tool. But since its difficult to use on its own, criminals get quite crafty when it comes to using your Social Security number.

    In essence, all types of SSN-related identity thefts use the number plus your additional information to bypass identification procedures in social and financial institutions.

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    If You Suspect Someone Is Using Your Sin

    If you suspect that someone is using your SIN fraudulently, act quickly to prevent personal loss and minimize the negative impact.

  • File a complaint with the police. Ask for the case reference number and the officer’s name and telephone number. If you choose to obtain a copy of the police report, make sure it states your name and SIN.
  • Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. The national anti-fraud call centre is jointly managed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ontario Provincial Police and Competition Bureau Canada. They provide advice and assistance about identity theft.
  • Ask for a copy of your credit report. Review it for any suspicious activity. Also check to see if your credit file should be flagged . To obtain additional information regarding fees and other requirements, please contact:
  • TransUnion: 1-800-663-9980
  • Inform your bank and creditors by phone and in writing about any irregularities.
  • Report any irregularities in your mail delivery to Canada Post, for example, opened envelopes, missing financial statements or documents.
  • Visit a Service Canada office and bring all the necessary documents with you proving fraud or misuse of your SIN. Also bring an original identity document . One of our officials will review your information and provide you with assistance and guidance.
  • Recommended Reading: How Many Years Of Work To Qualify For Social Security

    Contact Your Local Department Of Public Safety Driver License Office

    The Department of Public Safety can check their database to determine the last time a driver’s license was issued in your name. If that issue date is more recent than the last time you personally received a driver’s license, you should immediately report the fraud. Your local Driver License Office will determine the best course of action for your individual situation. Determine which DPS Driver License Office you should contact via the Internet or by contacting the Texas Department of Public Safety Driver License Division Customer Service Bureau.

    Texas Department of Public SafetyDriver License

    How Can Someone Steal Your Identity

    Identity Theft

    Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your name, social security number, or other identifying information, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.

    Be alert to possible identity theft if the notice or letter states that:

    • more than one tax return for you was filed, or IRS records indicate you received wages from an employer unknown to you.
    • If you receive a notice, contact the IRS either by phone or in writing as directed in that notice. IRS tax examiners will work with you and other agencies, such as the Social Security Administration, to help resolve the problem.

    The IRS does not initiate taxpayer communications through e-mail.

    • The IRS does not request detailed personal information through e-mail.
    • The IRS does not send e-mails requesting your PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.

    If you receive an e-mail from someone claiming to be the IRS or directing you to an IRS site,

    • Do not reply.

    Recommended Reading: Social Security Retirement Benefit Amount

    Request For Identity Verification From The Irs

    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
  • What To Do When Your Social Security Number Is Stolen

    Criminals are zeroing in on Social Security numbers as the tools to unlock theft of your assets, your identity, your life. The SSN is the “skeleton key to your life.”

    Stop crying about a stolen credit card number. Ditto if you are one of the half billion victims of the Yahoo hack, where logins, passwords, and maybe birth dates and other peripheral info such as phone numbers and answers to security questions were lifted by what are said to be state-sponsored actors. You don’t know trouble.

    That’s because real trouble is reserved for those whose Social Security number is stolen. Where does that happen? In various hacks of the Internal Revenue Service, in some hacks of health insurance providers, and also in any of many hacks of physicians and hospitals.

    Look in the mirror: your Social Security number may well be in the hands of crooks.

    When a credit card number is compromised – usually detected when you notice a bogus charge on your statement and you call up to complain – what happens? Faster than you can shout “crook,” that card probably has been cancelled and a new one is on its way to you.

    He added that “in 2015, four breaches exposed over 120 million SSNs.” And there were more breaches than the ones Levin cited. Do the math and – very probably – your SSN is out there floating in criminal bazaars or is already in the hands of a crook. And remedies do not come quickly or easily or painlessly.

    Recommended Reading: How Much Social Security Will I Receive

    Contact The Social Security Administration

    If you believe your Social Security number has been compromised, you should contact the Social Security Administration. Order a copy of your Personal Earnings and Benefits Estimate Statement and compare it to your work history. If you notice any employers or earnings you do not recognize, someone may be using your Social Security number for employment. Report any discrepancies to the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General and to the Federal Trade Commission.

    If necessary, the Social Security Administration may change your Social Security number. However, changing your number will be done only as a last resort when a very specific set of criteria have been met. Contact the Social Security Administration directly to determine the best course of action for you.

    Office of the Inspector GeneralSocial Security Administration 269-0271

    What Are The Dangers Of Losing My Social Security Card

    What happens if your Social Security Number gets stolen? – Protect Now Weekly Security Snapshot EP 8

    Scammers can use your SSN to apply for credit cards or loans in your name, or commit account takeover fraud and steal or access 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 your Social Security card is not 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.

    Also Check: Social Msecurity

    All You Need To Know Is Yourself

    Answer simple questions about your life and TurboTax Free Edition will take care of the rest.

    • Estimate your tax refund andwhere you stand

    • Know how much to withhold from your paycheck to get

    • Estimate your self-employment tax and eliminate

    • Know which dependents credits and deductions

    • Estimate capital gains, losses, and taxes for cryptocurrency sales

    • See which education credits and deductions you qualify for

    The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.

    What To Do If Youre A Victim

    If you discover that someone has opened accounts or acquired services with your Social Security number, notify the account or benefits managers. Check your credit reports, and place a fraud alert or credit freeze with the major credit bureaus. If youre a victim of ID theft, the credit bureaus must block fraudulent information from your reports, and the businesses involved cant ask you to pay any debts. File an identity theft police report, and send a copy of it to the credit bureaus along with any correspondence you have with the bureaus, the government and businesses. Its also helpful to include the Federal Trade Commissions identity theft affidavit.

    If your Social Security number is continually or aggressively abused, you may be able to get a new one. But qualifying to change your SSN is not easy, and the results are fraught with complications. For example, with a new SSN, you may not benefit from the credit history you built with the previous one, and you may have trouble getting health insurance or a mortgage or other loan, or renting an apartment.

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