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What To Do If I Gave My Social Security Number

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What Can Someone Do With Your Social Security Number

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Your Social Security number is one of the most important identifiers you have for financial and legal purposes. Most people born in the United States are issued one at birth, but its not usually something you use yourself until youve reached adulthood. But what happens if someone gets your Social Security number? Keep reading to find out how your SSN can be stolen and what criminals can do with it once they have it.

Apply For A Replacement Social Security Number

The Social Security Administration allows you to receive a new SSN under certain circumstances. One example is if youre in immediate danger or being threatened in a domestic abuse situation. Another is if your SSN has been stolen.

To begin the process of obtaining a new SSN through the Social Security Administration, youll need to provide a written statement outlining what happened to you and why you need a new number. In addition to your statement, youll also need to provide legal documents backing up your statements these can include your police report.

You will also need to fill out the SS-5 form. This is the same form you or your parents filled out when you were born or that you filled out when you became a citizen. This form includes a series of questions about your previous SSN filing. Youll note on this form if you previously filed when you became a citizen or provide the names of your parents, who filed on your behalf.

In addition, you also need to provide documentation showing your U.S. citizenship, age, legal residence, identity and existing SSN. If youve ever changed your name, youll need to submit documentation of this. If you changed your name when you got married, for example, you could submit your marriage license to satisfy this requirement.

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

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    Dont Send Your Ssn Via An Electronic Device

    Never type your SSN into an email or instant message and send it. The majority of such messages can be intercepted and read. Also, dont leave a voicemail that includes your SSN. If you need to contact someone and give them your number, its best to do it in person. The second best way is to reach them on the phone and do it live.

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    The Government can only share your new SIN with the federal departments and agencies that use your SIN.

    Therefore, you are responsible of providing your new SIN to every financial institution, creditor, pension provider, recent and current employer, and any other organization with which you shared your old SIN.

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    Know The Signs Of Identity Theft

    You may not know youre a victim of identity theft until youre notified by the IRS of a possible issue with your return.

    Be alert to possible tax-related identity theft if:

    • You get a letter from the IRS inquiring about a suspicious tax return that you did not file.
    • You cant e-file your tax return because of a duplicate Social Security number.
    • You get a tax transcript in the mail that you did not request.
    • You get an IRS notice that an online account has been created in your name.
    • You get an IRS notice that your existing online account has been accessed or disabled when you took no action.
    • You get an IRS notice that you owe additional tax or refund offset, or that you have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return.
    • IRS records indicate you received wages or other income from an employer you didnt work for.
    • Youve been assigned an Employer Identification Number but you did not request an EIN.

    How To Tell If Its Legitimate Or A Scam

    Scammers are aware that people are catching on to their attempts, so theyre coming up with new ways to convince Social Security beneficiaries that their frauds are legitimate. Heres what to watch for so you can protect yourself and others from Social Security scams.

    1. Threatening arrest or legal action: If you receive a threatening phone call claiming that theres an issue with your Social Security number or benefits, its a scam. The Social Security Administration will never threaten you with arrest or other legal action if you dont immediately pay a fine or fee.

    2. Emails or texts with personally identifiable information: If theres a legitimate problem with your Social Security number or record, the SSA will mail you a letter to notify you of any issues.

    3. Misspellings and grammar mistakes: If the caller follows up with emails containing falsified letters or reports that appear to be from the SSA or SSAs OIG, look closely. The letters may use government “jargon” or letterhead that appears official in order to help convince victims, but they may also contain misspellings and grammar mistakes.

    5. Offers to increase benefits in exchange for payment: Similarly, SSA employees will never promise to increase your Social Security benefits, or offer other assistance, in exchange for payment.

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    What Should I Do If My Ssn Has Been Stolen Or Being Used Without My Consent

    Identity theft is alarming, especially that it can happen with just the last 4 digits of SSN and DOB. Now, your next question could be, how do you put an alert on your social security number that has been stolen?

    When you receive suspicious notices, alerts, billings, or notice peculiar happenings, you need to do the following immediately:

    What To Do If Someone Has Your Social Security Number

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    Its very important for you to know what to do if someone has your social security number also known as SSN.

    Your Social Security Number is a precious piece of information. It helps you get a job, apply for loans, and get a drivers license or passport. While its invaluable to you, your SSN is even more valuable to identity thieves.

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    What Could Happen If Someone Has My Name And Phone Number

    If someone whos not trustworthy gets hold of your Social Security Number, there are a number of ways that person can misuse your SSN. Below are just some of the following things that can be done with just your Social Security Number.

    • Your Social Security Number can be used to open a new bank account and that person can open credit cards on that account without paying back the debt. This could damage your credit score.
    • Your SSN could be used for employee-related identity fraud, where another person not authorized to work in the US could use your number to get employed.
    • Your SSN could be used to commit a crime by giving your number to law enforcers if they are caught.
    • The scammer could use your SSN to get your tax refund.
    • Your SSN could be used to claim medical benefits and this could taint your personal medical records.

    Getting A New Social Security Number Is Probably Not A Good Idea

    Victims of identity theft sometimes want to change their Social Security number. The Social Security Administration very rarely allows this. In fact, there are drawbacks to changing your number. It could result in losing your credit history, your academic records, and your professional degrees. The absence of any credit history under the new SSN would make it difficult for you to get credit, rent an apartment, or open a bank account.

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    How Can I Find My Social Security Number Online

    You will need to have a My Social Security account to access your SSN online. If you have not already signed up for an account, then you will not be able to get one until you find your number using another method. Knowing your SSN is required to sign up for an account, but once you have the account, you can access it using your user name and password.

    Visit Identitytheftgov To Get A Recovery Plan

    Hold the phone  protect your Social Security number

    You can visit 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:

  • Placing a fraud alert and obtaining your credit reports
  • Reporting the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission
  • Filing a report with your local police department
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    Create A Social Security Account Online

    Clark says relatively few people have created a Social Security account online, but doing so makes sense. Note that youll have to thaw your credit in order to do it. Once its set up, remember to freeze your credit again.

    As far as having a mySocialSecurity account, If you were to temporarily thaw your credit files, set up a My Social Security account, that would be a good idea because you want to monitor to make sure that your work credits are being posted properly each year, because thats the only way you can make sure you get the Social Security benefit youre supposed to receive later, Clark says.

    Go to the Social Security Administrations official website, to create an account.

    To hear Clarks full take on this question, listen to the segment:

    If you have a question but dont want it included in the podcast, contact Clarks Consumer Action Center for free money help.

    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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    Here’s Where To Get More Information On Social Security Numbers

    Identity Theft: If you think an identity thief is using your SSN to work or to collect benefits, call the Social Security Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271. If you think someone may be using your SSN to work, check your Social Security Personal Earnings and Benefit Statement. You can get a copy by calling 1-800-772-1213, or online at Also see the Social Security Administration’s booklet “Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number,” at

    History of SSNs: For a chronology of the laws relating to SSNs, see

    What the Numbers Mean: For an explanation of the meaning of the numbers in SSNs and answers to other questions about SSNs, see

    More on Protecting your SSN: “Fact Sheet 10: My Social Security Number: How Secure Is It?” from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, at

    Recommended Practices: For recommendations on how organizations can protect privacy in their handling of SSNs, see Recommended Practices for Protecting the Confidentiality of Social Security Numbers on the Business page at

    Am I Stuck With My Number

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    If your Social Security number has been put to nefarious use, you can try to have it changed. lists an identity theft victim continuing to be disadvantaged by the original number as one of five cases in which theyll consider assigning new digits. Per their site, youll need to do the following in order to qualify:

    • Apply in person at a Social Security office.
    • Provide a statement explaining the reasons for needing a new number.
    • Provide current, credible, third-party evidence documenting the reasons for needing a new number.
    • Provide original documents establishing U.S. citizenship or work-authorized immigration status age identity and evidence of a legal name change, if appropriate.

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    According to Adam Levin, co-founder of and author of Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves, it can be difficult, if not downright impossible, to get a new number. And even if you do qualify, you may want to consider the impact of making a switch. In many cases, employment information and medical records are associated with your former Social Security number.

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    Leave Your Social Security Card In A Secure Place At Home

    Never bring your card with you all the time, everywhere. If you need to present valid IDs, dont use your social security card.

    When you do daily tasks, you dont need your social security card with you all the time. Leave it at home instead, and keep it in a secure place.

    So in case someone stole your wallet, your SSN cannot be used for malicious acts.

    Your Bank Or Credit Card Account Number Password Or Pin

    • If you have transferred money to a phisher, report the incident to your local police.
    • Inspect your statements carefully for signs of account misuse.
    • Determine if you want to put a lock on your credit records. This will keep anyone from opening a new account.
    • Go to your banks online website and look for information about fraud, phishing or identity theft. Find out what your bank expects you to do.

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    Dealing With Identity Theft

    Keep in mind just doing a credit freeze and just monitoring isnt going to help you in certain situations, Levin warned, especially when it comes to a compromised Social Security number. Keeping an eye on your credit, for instance, wont alert you to medical identity theft, taxpayer fraud or, worse, any criminal activity linked to your name.

    To minimize the damage any of these examples could cause, youll need to stay vigilant. Keep a close eye on statements, like any bills or explanation of benefits your insurer sends your way. You can file your taxes early to avoid a stolen refund, and contact the IRS to flag your account, Levin said .

    If you do fall victim to identity theft, youll want to report the fraud to the proper authorities: File a police report and register a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Some states also give victims special documentation that identify them as an identity theft victim and can help reverse fraud stemming from it, Levin said. These ID cards can often be obtained by contacting the state attorney generals office. You can learn more about dealing with identity theft here.

    You’re Locked Up With Ransomware

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    Ransomware is ugly, and it’s taken down everyone from FedEx and Merck to the city government of Atlanta. Ransomware is malicious software that locks up your computer or files, making it impossible to access them.

    Anyone can be a victim. Criminals have even targeted individual people, who have ended up paying a few hundred bucks to free up their photo albums.

    If you’re a victim of ransomware, you will typically lose access to your files, and you may receive an automatic message from a criminal offering to give you an encryption key that will unlock your files for a fee.

    Back important files up. The best defense against ransomware is a good offense. If you back up your most important home files, then you may lose the hardware locked up by the ransomware, but you won’t have to pay money to a criminal to get back your data. The easiest way to do this is using free or low-cost personal backup storage programs like , Apple’s iCloud or Microsoft’s OneDrive.

    Hunt for a decryption solution. There are also free databases of publicly available information that can help you decrypt many popular strains of ransomware, so if you are up to hunting down this information, you may be able to simply unlock your files without paying a cent to anyone or losing your computer. The No More Ransom project offers an easy-to-use interface, where you can type in details of the ransom demand or other information to find out if a solution already exists.

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    If You Have Been Affected By A Data Breach

    The Government of Canada is committed to protecting the integrity of the SIN program from fraud and misuse. It takes any breach of information very seriously.

    If you have been affected by a data breach, contact Canadas 2 major credit bureaus to monitor your file.

    • Equifax: 1-800-465-7166
    • TransUnion: 1-800-663-9980

    Regularly review your banking and credit card statements, especially after the credit monitoring service ends.

    If you notice any suspicious activity, immediately report it to the police, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, and inform Service Canada. This will help reduce the potential impact.

    Service Canada does not issue a new SIN for those affected by a data breach.

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