A Message From Social Security
We are committed to preventing, detecting, and eliminating fraud in our programs.
Our mission is to deliver services that meet the changing needs of the public. Every day our employees diligently work to ensure the public receives the services and benefits they deserve. We strive to ensure the integrity of our programs and provide a high level of service to the public despite the efforts of those who seek to abuse our programs.
Your Social Security Number Is Confidential
Always keep in mind that your Social Security Number is yours alone. Nobody should have the right to use your number it is your identity,and you may get in trouble if it falls into the wrong hand.The Social Security Administration is there to safeguard your personal information carefully. You should always think twice before giving out your SSN to anyone. When asked for your SSN, ask why it is needed, how it will be used, and what the consequences will be if you refuse to share your number. Once you get all your answers, you can determine if you are comfortable sharing your SSN.
Report The Death Of A Social Security Or Medicare Beneficiary
You must report the death of a family member receiving Social Security or Medicare benefits. The Social Security Administration processes death reports for both. Find out how you can report a death and how to cancel benefit payments. In addition to canceling SSA and Medicare benefits, find out what other benefits and accounts you should cancel.
When To Provide Your Ssn
Not everyone who requests your SSN actually needs it. Generally speaking, if an entity reports information about you to the Internal Revenue Service , you probably have to supply your SSN. This includes your employer, banks/lenders, the U.S. Treasury for savings bonds, and state unemployment insurance and workers compensation offices.
Although other institutions and businesses have the right to ask for your number, they often dont need it, and you arent legally required to provide it.
As of Jan. 1, 2020, Medicare no longer uses Social Security numbers for identification. Instead, Medicare recipients receive a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier a unique series of numbers and letters that they should also try to protect from identity thieves.
Stay Vigilant To Help Protect Your Personal Information
If your Social Security number and personal information fall into the wrong hands, it could take you months to undo the damage. Monitoring your credit helps prevent the likelihood of this happening. The sooner you catch fraudulent activity, the easier it can be to reverse.
However, if you find that someone is using your SSN, its possible to remove the activity from your credit file. Filing reports with the proper authorities can help reverse the impact of someone stealing your personal information.
Diligence with your credit is a round-the-clock effort. Tally1 makes it easier for you to keep track of your credit card accounts and manage your monthly payments with a low-interest line of credit.
1To get the benefits of a Tally line of credit, you must qualify for and accept a Tally line of credit. The APR will be between 7.90% and 29.99% per year and will be based on your credit history. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
6The portion of your credit line that can be paid to your cards will be reduced by the amount of the annual fee.
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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, theres 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.
Ways An Identity Thief Can Use Your Social Security Number
Having your Social Security number or card stolen isnt quite like getting your bank account information taken though granted, both are stressful experiences. The major difference is that you can get a new bank account number, while the Social Security Administration very rarely issues new Social Security numbers.
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Tip : Memorize Your Social Security Number
Knowing your Social Security number by heart can be handy. Its there when you need it. Plus, you probably wont be tempted to carry your Social Security card with you or to jot down the number on a slip of paper.
This might seem like a small thing. But if youre not carrying your card with you, or youre not writing it down on slips of paper, youre far less likely to drop that paper or card on the ground or leave it behind at a local bank or government office. This means its less likely, too, that thieves might get their hands on your number.
Report Identity Theft To Other Organizations
You can also report the theft to other organizations, such as:
Credit Reporting Agencies – Contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies to place a fraud alert or freeze on your credit report. Also get copies of your credit reports, to be sure that no one has already tried to get unauthorized credit accounts with your personal information. Confirm that the credit reporting agency will alert the other two credit reporting agencies.
National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center – Report cases of identity theft due to a stay in a nursing home or long-term care facility.
Financial Institutions – Contact the fraud department at your bank, credit card issuers and any other places where you have accounts.
Retailers and Other Companies – Report the crime to companies where the identity thief opened credit accounts or even applied for jobs.
State Attorney General Offices – Your state’s attorney general might offer tips, checklists, or an advocate to help you recover from identity theft. These resources don’t replace filing an ID theft report with the FTC.
You may need to get new personal records or identification cards if you’re the victim of ID theft. Learn how to replace your vital identification documents after identity theft.
Other Types Of Identity Theft
There are less common types of identity theft and you should know them:
Child ID Theft Childrens IDs are extremely vulnerable. The theft could go undetected for several years. By the time they become adults, the damage already has been done.
Tax ID Theft Thieves can use your Social Security number to falsely file tax returns with the IRS or state government.
Medical ID Theft Someone could steal your Medicare ID or health insurance member number to receive medical services. It could also trigger fraudulent billing to your health insurance provider.
Senior ID Theft Typically, ID theft schemes will target seniors, who are in frequent contact with medical professionals or caregivers who have access to personal information or financial documents.
Social ID Theft Whatever is on your social media platforms your name, photos and other personal information can be used to create a phony account.
What Should I Do If My Identity Is Stolen
Notify all your banks and financial companies as soon as you realize your identity has been stolen or an account is at risk. If you bank with us, . We’ll work with you to help correct any unauthorized transactions in your Chase accounts, fix any incorrect information weve sent to the credit reporting agencies and help protect you from any future identity theft or account fraud.
We also urge you to take these steps immediately:
You can also check out these resources for more tips and information:
- U.S. Department of JusticeFraud Section site
Requirements for Requesting Credit Card Documentation
We realize you may be a victim of credit card identity theft and would like details from a credit card application or account business records. Before we can send you specific details from any application or business record, were required by the FACT Act of 2003 and our own identity protection policies to obtain the following information from you:
Chase Card Services
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Tip : Consider An Identity Theft Protection Service
As identity thieves continue to evolve their methods for obtaining personal information, protecting your Social Security number is vital to protecting your identity.
Protecting your Social Security number doesnt have to be a do-it-yourself affair. An identity theft protection service can help. For instance, it may be able to alert you if your SSN has been found on the dark web. The cost of an identity theft protection service typically ranges from $10 to $35 per month.
Some identity theft protection services include features to monitor your credit reports, alert you when new accounts are opened in your name, or when banks, credit card companies or other financial services providers check your credit.
For example, if you recently bought a car, you might receive an alert for the new loan. However, if you receive an alert that a new credit card was opened in your name, and you didnt apply for one, that might be a sign of fraud. Some identity theft protection services allow you to respond to alerts via email, phone, and text messages.
How Do I Know If Someone Is Using My Social Security Number
There is no easy way to check and see if your Social Security number has been compromised. Many people donât find out until itâs too late. But there are a few ways you can keep up with any unusual activity, including checking your credit reports and bank accounts, verifying your income with the Social Security Administration, and requesting tax transcripts with the IRS.
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How Is Identity Theft Committed
Every act of identity theft begins with a thief gaining access to one or more pieces of personal information about the victim. The credit agency Experian has a good a good outline of the various overlapping ways that this can happen. Thieves can, for instance:
- Steal your mail to harvest data from your bills or bank accounts
- Hack into your home or corporate network and intercept browsing data or emails
- Steal your mobile phone and get access to the treasure trove of personal data you walk around with every day
- Send you phishing emails to trick you into giving up your personal information
- Buy data dumps on the dark web, many of which include personal information derived from data breaches of corporate databases
Many of these techniques would work on both individuals and businesses. Businesses are often less strict about controlling “personally” identifying information than individuals, since certain facts about businesses must be public by law, and a business is run by multiple people and lines of responsibility may be diffuse.
What Is The Risk Of Criminal Identity Theft
Criminal identity theft can create a myriad of headaches for the victim after the fact. Though a less common from of fraud, a thief could get caught for a traffic violation or a misdemeanor and sign the citation with your name. Then you get stuck paying those annoying fees and fines. If a thief uses your name when getting arrested for a crime, you could end up with a criminal record, which could affect your ability to get a job or buy/rent property. Another case is when the thief commits a crime using your identity, and then a warrant is issued for your arrest. But instead of looking for the criminal, they are looking for youyou could have a warrant out for your arrest and not even know it!
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How Will I Know If Someone Steals My Identity
Read your bills and account statements. Watch for:
- things you did not buy
- withdrawals you did not make
- a change of your address that you did not expect
- bills that stop coming
Look at medical statements. You might see charges you do not recognize. That might mean someone stole your identity.
Get your credit report. You get one free credit report every year from each credit reporting company.
- Answer questions from a recorded system. You have to give your address, Social Security number, and birth date.
- Choose to only show the last four numbers of your Social Security number. It is safer than showing the full number on your report.
- Choose which credit reporting company you want a report from.
The company mails your report to you. It should arrive two to three weeks after you call.
Read your credit report carefully. Look for mistakes or accounts you do not recognize. This could mean someone stole your identity.
Get Ssa Benefits While Living Overseas
U.S. citizens can travel to or live in most, but not all, foreign countries and still receive their Social Security benefits. You can find out if you can receive benefits overseas by using the Social Security Administrations payment verification tool. Once you access the tool, pick the country you’re visiting or living in from the drop-down menu options.
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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.
What To Do If Your Social Security Number Is Stolen
- You’ll first want to file an identity theft report with the FTC.
- You should also consider freezing your credit or locking your credit with Experian CreditLock. You’ll need to freeze your credit with each of the three credit bureaus separately – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
- There’s also a fraud hotline managed by the Social Security Administration: 1-800-269-0271.
- If you confirm that you’re the victim of Social Security fraud, it’s also a good idea to contact your state tax office and notify them you’ve been victimized. For any personal safety concerns, contact your local police department and tell them you believe your identity has been compromised.
- You’ll also want to keep a close eye on your credit report for any new accounts being opened. You can use a product like Experian CreditWorks or Experian IdentityWorks to monitor your credit report and get alerts when new inquiries or accounts are added .
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Tip : Keep Your Social Security Card And Number In A Safe Place
Anything as important as your Social Security card deserves a home. This could be a lock box or a file folder kept in a secure place. And dont forget, your SSN may appear on important documents. They require a safe place, too.
Dont make the mistake of carrying your Social Security card in your wallet or purse. If you lose these items, or if theyre stolen, youve put your SSN at risk. A thief might consider it quite a bonus to get your Social Security number when they snatch your wallet or purse.
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:
Should I Sign Up For Credit Monitoring
After a data breach, affected companies will usually offer free credit and identity monitoring services as a conciliatory measure. Are these monitoring and protection services actually worth the money?
The Internet consensus seems to be that you shouldn’t pay for credit monitoring services, but if it’s offered to you for free go ahead and sign up.
Writing for the Malwarebytes Labs blog, cybersecurity researcher William Tsing said, Identity theft monitoring services sound great on the surface. They’re not that expensive and seem to provide peace of mind against an avalanche of ever-more damaging breaches. But they don’t, at present, protect against the worst impacts of identity theftthe theft itself.
What does credit monitoring or identity theft protection actually entail and why does everyone seem to think these services stink?
As Tsing pointed out, the biggest problem with credit monitoring services is that they can’t actually stop cybercriminals from stealing your identity. Though they can alert you when someone opens up a line of credit under your name. Think about it this way, these services alert you to changes on your credit report if you can’t be bothered to check your own credit report. If that’s the case, then you may want to consider signing up and paying someone else to monitor your credit file for you, but the bottom line is that these credit monitoring services are just thatmonitoring services, not protection.