What Happens If You Give Out 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.
How Thieves Steal Ssns
There are several ways thieves can get a hold of your SSN. The most obvious is by stealing the physical Social Security card. Be sure to keep it in a secure place. This is a no-brainer.
Things get more tricky when we go online. The three most used methods for stealing Social Security Numbers are phishing, malware and data breaches.
Phishing attempts are nothing new. In their efforts to steal your identity, jack your crypto or drain your rewards account, thieves use ever-more convincing methods to trick you into sharing your personal information. They often create fake websites that resemble websites of real companies that you may use regularly. The goal is to trick you into entering your private information. Often scammers will send spoofing emails with links asking you to re-enter your login information or even your SSN.
Malware falls more under the traditional hacker category. Thieves who use this method to steal personal information, including Social Security numbers, infect your computer or mobile devices with software. That software can record your keystrokes, and if you type in your social security number at some point, that will be recorded. Other types of malware steal information from files on your device.
Data breaches are a major threat to consumers because its difficult to manage your data, including Social Security Number, once submitted to a website or service and stored on their servers.
What To Do If Your Information Is Found On The Dark Web
In response to the UC Accellion Data Breach, many of you signed up for the Experian IndentityWorks credit monitoring service. As a result, you might have received notifications from Experian that your information was found on the dark web. The dark web is where sites illegally sell consumer data and other black market goods – dont go there.
Your information could show up on the dark web for all sorts of reasons, many of them prior and unrelated to the Accellion breach. Experian provides information in each notification about the context of when your information was found, including a Found On date.
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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 childs 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 IdentityTheft.gov.
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Whether And How To Get A New Social Security Number
Many stolen Social Security numbers are used simply to gain employment, with no detrimental effect to the legitimate holders of the SSN. But others are used to defraud banks, retailers, the IRS and other government agencies, which could trash your credit.
If several years pass after the theft of your Social Security number, and the problems arising from the theft have not gotten any better, then you may want to apply for a new SSN. But before you take that step, there are several things to consider.
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A Message From Social Security
We are committed to preventing, detecting, and eliminating fraud in our programs.
Our mission is to deliver Social Security services that meet the changing needs of the public. Every day our employees work diligently to ensure the public receives the services and benefits it deserves. 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.
Freeze Your Credit And/or Set Up Account Alerts
A credit freeze prevents anyone from opening a line of credit in your name unless you remove the restriction. Existing creditors will still generally be able to check your credit.
Under a new federal law from 2018, creating and lifting a freeze is free, you’ll just need to contact the three major credit bureaus. Freezing your credit also prevents potential employers from checking it, so you might wait if you’re on a job hunt. Learn more about credit freezes.
One thing to notea freeze will not protect your existing accounts. To monitor your existing accounts, you can set up account alerts. Most banks offer alerts where you can be notified via email or text whenever there is a large deposit or transfer so you can confirm the transaction is valid.
No one is completely safe from identity theft. But these simple precautions can dramatically reduce your risk.
Why Service Canada Does Not Issue New Social Insurance Numbers For Those Affected By A Data Breach
A new Social Insurance Number is not a fresh start or protection from fraud or identity theft.
If someone else uses your old Social Insurance Number and the business does not check the persons identity, you may have to prove you were not involved in the fraud or pay the impostors debts.
The Government can only share your new Social Insurance Number with the federal departments and agencies that use your Social Insurance Number.
This means that it would be up to you to provide your new Social Insurance Number to all the financial institutions, creditors, pension providers, recent and current employers, and any other organizations with which you shared your old Social Insurance Number.
Not doing or failing to do so properly risks not receiving benefits or leaves the door open to subsequent fraud or identity theft.
A new Social Insurance Number does not erase your old Social Insurance Number. You would therefore need to monitor your accounts and credit reports for both Social Insurance Numbers on a regular and ongoing basis. This would put burden on you. Numerous Social Insurance Numbers multiply the risk of fraud.
The best way to protect yourself if you are affected by a data breach:
Try Not To Give Out Your Social Security Number
Some people, such as your doctor or accountant, really do need your Social Security number. Otherwise, says O’Farrell, refuse “for as often and as long as you can.” If you must give the number, it’s worth asking about security measures:
- Are background checks required for their employees?
- How good is their network security?
- What are the office policies for sharing information?
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How Does The Dark Web Work
Websites on the dark web end in â.onionâ rather than in endings like â.comâ or â.gov.â Users need a special browser to access sites on the dark web. One example is The Onion Router, or Tor for short. And just as an onion has many layers, Tor has many levels of encryption. This is what helps keep users anonymous.
U.S. military researchers created dark web technology to send and receive messages anonymously. While its name may sound threatening, the dark web is used by some legitimate businesses and organizations.
Some journalists use the dark web to protect the identity of sources. News organizations also use it to make journalism accessible in places where itâs blocked. Still, because users are anonymous, the dark web is also used by criminals for illegal activities like selling stolen information.
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.
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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.
Department Of Social Protection Warns People Against Telephone Scams
6 May 2021
The Department of Social Protection has become aware that some members of the public have received phone calls on their mobile phones purporting to be from a named official of the Department.
The person is then informed that their PPS number is compromised and they are asked to provide or verify their name, PPS number and in some cases, Bank Account details.
This is a sophisticated scam. We urge our customers not to engage with these callers, not to return calls to these numbers and not to share any personal information with the callers. If a person is in any doubt, they should take the callers name and phone the Departments helpline number 1890 800 024 .
Similarly, people who are managing social welfare applications online are reminded to ensure that they are using official Departmental websites.
The Department wishes to make it absolutely clear that we NEVER request Bank account or other Financial institution account details from our customers by phone or SMS.
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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.
If An Organization Asks For A Sin And It Is Not Legally Required
If you believe your SIN isn’t required, ask why it is being requested, how it will be used and with whom it will be shared.
If your SIN is not required by law, explain that you prefer not to provide it. Offer different proof of identity.
If the organization refuses to provide the product or service unless you provide your SIN, ask to speak to the person in charge. Many organizations don’t know about the appropriate uses of the SIN. Once they understand, they may willingly change their practices.
If you are not satisfied with the organization’s response, you may formally complain to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada or 1-800-282-1376. There is no fee for making a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner.
You can also contact the organization’s industry association, ombudsman or complaint office. For example, the Canadian Marketing Association and the Canadian Banking Ombudsman handle customer complaints about their member companies.
For more information on laws about your privacy and the Government of Canada, visit the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
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What Is Child Identity Theft
Child identity theft happens when someone takes a childs sensitive personal information and uses it to get services or benefits, or to commit fraud. They might use your childs Social Security number, name and address, or date of birth. They could use the stolen information to
- apply for government benefits, like health care coverage or nutrition assistance
- open a bank or credit card account
- apply for a loan
- sign up for a utility service, like water or electricity
- rent a place to live
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What Is Identity Theft
Identity theft is when a cybercriminal steals your personal and/or financial information. This could be personal information like your birthdate, Social Security number, or email address and phone number. Or and even more dangerous when your financial information is stolen, giving someone access to your bank account, login information, or credit card numbers.
Identity theft is all too common. The Federal Trade Commission estimates as many as 9 million Americans have their identity stolen each year. With the rise of tele-health and other online experiences, this number is expected to grow. The resulting headache istime-consuming, costly, and stressful the average cost of resolving identity fraud was $2,895, and it can take weeks or even months to unravel.
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
What Do I Do If My Social Security Number Has Been Compromised
Full question: I am a widow who lives in Westerly. Recently, I received a call from someone who claimed to be from Social Security. The caller claimed that Social Security was updating its records and needed to verify my Social Security number. Without thinking, I gave the caller my information. Almost immediately, I realized that I had made a mistake, but the caller had already hung up. A few of my neighbors have received similar calls. Im sure that I have been scammed. What do I do now?
Answer: Its not uncommon for scam artists to make calls claiming to be government officials. Many times, they catch victims off-guard and obtain valuable personal information that can be used to access bank accounts or credit cards, apply for loans, or even file fraudulent disability claims. To protect your financial accounts, identity and credit records, you should notify your bank and credit card companies immediately. Its probably a good idea to cancel your credit card account and get new cards. Read more
: LARRY GRIMALDI, Providence Journal 3/31/2014
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