You Got A Sextortion Email
Don’t believe it. There are few things in this life that I will claim to know for certain, but this is one: Nobody has secretly recorded you watching pornography over your webcam. I mean it. They haven’t. And they’re not contacting your spouse about it.
If you get an email asserting that somebody has done this — even if it has your email address and password in the subject line — it’s a scam. Criminals get your passwords and other private information from darkweb fire sales of personal information. This information can’t really be used for much, other than to convince you that they somehow know who you are.
If you already paid money to the person on the other end of one of these emails, contact your bank to attempt to reverse the transaction.
You can report this to the FBI or local police as well, and while it is helpful for their ability to track these types of crimes, there is little they can do to get your money back. Just be aware that billions of these emails are hitting inboxes daily and there’s no need to panic.
Your Social Security Card
Whether youve lost your social security card or someone an acquaintance used the number, this is another common way that someone has obtained this information. Keeping your social security card safe, not keeping it in your wallet, and making sure that no one can get to it is another way to protect your identity.
How We Use Your Social Security Number
We use your Social Security Number to verify your income and work history by checking for wages reported by your recent employers. If there is a mismatch between what you told us when you applied for benefits and the wages reported by employers, that difference could be due to a simple mistake in what you told us, what we entered into our system, or what your employer reported. It is also possible that the difference is due to someone else using your SSN, which is sometimes called “identity theft.”
It is important to correct wage history errors because if you receive benefits based on incorrect wages or wages that are not yours, you must repay any overpayment.
If You Have Been Victim Of Fraud
You can ask for a new SIN only if you can prove that your SIN was used fraudulently.
However, getting a new SIN will not necessarily protect you from fraud or identity theft. If someone else uses your old SIN as identification and the business does not check the person’s identity with the credit bureau, credit lenders may still ask you to pay the impostor’s debts. Each time, you will have to prove that you were not involved in the fraud.
If we issue you a new SIN, you will need to contact all your financial institutions, creditors, pension providers and employers to ask them to update your files.
Note: Service Canada cannot correct a credit file. It is up to you to contact your financial institution, report any discrepancies and have them resolved.
If you have proof that someone else is using your SIN, an investigation is required.
An indication that your SIN is being used fraudulently is when you receive a Notice of Reassessment from the Canada Revenue Agency concerning undeclared earnings. This means that another person has used your SIN for employment purposes or to receive other taxable income.
You must visit your nearest Service Canada Centre with your original proof of identity documents and provide proof that another person has used your SIN.
Here’s what you will need to provide to Service Canada if you suspect someone is using your SIN:
If You Are A Data Breach Victim Take These Steps:
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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
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:
Certegy Inc.: 437-5120
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Someone May Be Using Your Ssn
People can use your Social Security Number to access bank accounts, open new accounts, and more. If this is happening it may go undetected.
A lot of times there are indications that something is amiss. These are the top five signs your information has been compromised.
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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How To Protect Yourself: Identity Theft
Identity theft is a serious problem that affects millions each year. When an imposter uses your name, Social Security number , credit card number or any other form of personal information without your knowledge and permission, its a crime.
Unfortunately, sometimes victims remain unaware that their identity has been stolen until they receive monthly statements for credit card accounts they never applied for, credit reports including unfamiliar debts or monthly statements that include unauthorized charges.
If someone has stolen your identity, immediately take these three steps:
Take control of your identity.
Although identity thieves can destroy your personal finances, there are some things you can do to take control of the situation.
Some ways to handle the most common forms of identity theft are:
A- If an identity thief has stolen your mail for access to new credit cards, bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers and tax information or falsified change-of-address forms, that person has committed a crime. Report it to your local postal inspector. You may contact the United States Postal Inspection Service online at .
G- If any identity thief is using your name or SSN to obtain a drivers license, report it to your states Department of Motor Vehicles. Also, if your state uses your SSN as your drivers license number, ask to substitute another number.
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.
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What Can I Do To Prevent Identity Theft
Here are a number of ways to protect your assets and good name:
Periodically contact the major credit reporting agencies to get and review your file and make sure your information is correct. You can request a free annual credit report from each of the 3 national credit reporting agencies, whether or not you suspect any unauthorized activity on your account, by going to www.AnnualCreditReport.com or calling . Or you can request a report by directly contacting each of the agencies below. They can also tell you about setting up fraud alerts and security freezes:
Social Security Combats Fraud
Social Security has zero tolerance for fraud. We diligently work at the national, regional, and local level to combat fraud that undermines our mission to serve the American public.
To meet this challenge, we work closely with the OIG who investigates allegations of fraud and seek to bring offenders to justice. They refer cases to U.S. attorneys within the Department of Justice, among other state and local prosecuting authorities, for prosecution as a federal crime.
Visit our OIGs Investigations page to view a list of recent fraud investigations.
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What Should I Do If I Think Someone Is Using My Social Security Number
If you think someone is using your number, there are several actions you can take. Note that we can only resolve Social Security number reporting problems on our own records.
Review your Social Security earnings record Review the earnings posted to your record on your Social Security Statement. To get your online Statement, log into your personal mySocial Security account and check your account. If you see any inconsistencies, contact the Social Security Administration. We consider identity theft one of our major challenges so we have joined in government-wide efforts to prevent Social Security number misuse.If you want to report identity theft, where someone used your personal information, including your Social Security number, to get a loan or job, file a tax return, or conduct other business, please visit the Federal Trade Commissions Identity Theft page. This guides you through each step of the recovery process. Its a one-stop resource managed by the Federal Trade Commission, the nations consumer protection agency.Contact the Internal Revenue Service for issues involving taxesIf you believe someone is using your Social Security number to work, get your tax refund, or other abuses involving taxes, contact the IRS online or call 1-800-908-4490. Order a free credit reportYou can order free credit reports annually from the three major credit bureaus .Make a single request for all three credit bureau reports:
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:
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How Do I See If Someone Is Using My Social Security Number
Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing whether someone has your Social Security number until they use it. Some companies offer dark web monitoring, which tracks your information across areas of the internet typically reserved for criminal activities. Your information often ends up on the dark web if you are the victim of a data breach.
However, even if your information appears on a dark web scan, there’s no way to guarantee that someone has your SSN specifically or that they are using it.
To check to see if someone is using your SSN, consider checking your credit report. You can do this online through AnnualCreditReport.com, the only authorized website for free credit reports. You can also use the Annual Credit Report phone number to request your credit report.
Once you have your credit report, review it to see if anything is out of the ordinary. Carefully confirm your accounts and open lines of credit to make sure all of the information in these sections is legitimate. If not, someone may be fraudulently using your information.
Lastly, you may also want to view your Social Security Statement. This document will show whether someone has begun withdrawing against your Social Security account earnings, which is another tell-tale indicator that someone is using your SSN.
How Does Identity Theft Occur
Your personally identifying information may be compromisedthrough a variety of methods.
Dumpster Diving – Looking through your garbage for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.
Skimming – Skimmers are small electronic devices that can be easily concealed in a pocket and when your credit card is swiped through it, the device reads all of the information encoded on the magnetic strip on your card.
Phishing – Phishing scams are electronic mails sent from what appears to be a legitimate financial institution. They are devised to trick you into sending them account and password information. A common scam would be an email advising you that due to a security issue your bank would like you to confirm or reset your password.
Address Change – Your bills are diverted to another address where they are read or your mail is stolen from your mail box.
Theft – Your personally identifiable information is acquired through the theft of a wallet, purse, home burglary or car burglary.
Pretexting – Your are called or receive a text message from what appears and sounds like a legitimate financial institution in an attempt to trick you into revealing personally identifiable information.
Additional information can be found at:
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Keep Your Identity Safe
If you use an online application to do your taxes, you can now log in with your username, password and a third personal item like a phone number. Using all 3 will keep your identity and data safer.
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen personal information, including your Social Security number, to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.
If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must file a paper return.