Thursday, September 29, 2022

What To Do If Someone Gets My Social Security Number

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Contact One Of The Three Major Credit

Getting my Social Security Number and Card

To speak to Equifax, call its customer care number at 1-888-766-0008 or visit this web page to place a fraud alert. To start an Equifax credit freeze online, you’ll have to create an Equifax account, but you can do so without creating an account by calling 1-800-349-9960.

To contact Experian, call 1-888-397-3742 or go here for a fraud alert or here for a credit freeze. For TransUnion, the phone number is 1-800-680-7289 the fraud-alert link is here and the credit-freeze link is here.

A credit freeze can be inconvenient, but it’s the better option. With a freeze, no potential lender can access your credit file without your approval. That can be a bother if you plan to move, open a new bank account, buy a car or switch phone carriers, but you can easily “unfreeze” your credit and then freeze it again.

Thanks to a 2018 law, credit freezes are now free to implement, but you must contact each of the Big Three credit-reporting agencies separately to set them up.

Fraud alerts are easier to place the agency you place one with will contact the other two but they aren’t as useful. A fraud alert just requests that anyone pulling your credit file contact you first, but they don’t actually have to.

You can renew a fraud alert every year . Contact the Social Security Administration only to get a replacement card or replacement number .

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.
  • Telltale Signs That Your Social Security Number Has Been Hacked

    Theres no easy one-click way to check if your SSN is being abused by hackers. Youll need to do a little sleuthing and stay aware of your financial health. Here are some indicators that someone is using your social security number:

    #1: Unexplainable changes in your credit score

    Your credit score is what helps banks and lenders to determine what risks theyll be facing if they decide to lend you money. That is, based on your track record, it shows them how likely you are to pay back the loan. Different financial factors influence your credit score. Thankfully, you can check it to see how youre doing financially so you can make corrections where necessary.

    If you check your credit information and notice accounts that you didnt initiate, youre probably a victim of SSN theft. Another sign is if you are turned down for a new credit application even though youve had great credit before.

    #2: Inaccurate banking information

    Considering that almost any Social Security number identity theft aims to steal your money, this is another excellent way to check if youve been hacked. Therefore, when your bank statements come in, be sure to look through them carefully. If you see payments for any subscriptions you didnt make, its possible your ID isnt just yours anymore.

    If you notice small test charges on your credit or debit accounts, that may be a sign that someone is attempting to open a new account or membership in your name.

    #3: Changes in your email/snail mail

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    Contact The Internal Revenue Service

    You may also want to contact the Internal Revenue Service if you suspect an identity thief has filed a tax return in your name to get a refund. The IRS should also be on your list of contacts if you suspect someone is using your number for work purposes. Otherwise, the IRS could think you failed to report income when you file your own tax return. Use the IRS Identity Theft Central website or call 800-908-4490.

    Open Accounts In Your Name

    How to Get an Initial Social Security Number

    A criminal can use your social security number to open bank accounts, take out credit cards, and loans in your name. This can adversely impact your credit score and leave you unable to secure financial loans in the future.

    Although you may be able to detect a social security number breach using your credit report, it wont instantly wipe these transactions from your record. Even if you have been a victim of identity fraud, the damage done by the thief can take months or even years to recover from.

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    Ask Questions When They Ask For Your Social Security Number

    There is no law that prevents businesses from asking for your SSN. And you may be denied service if you don’t give the number. If giving your SSN to a business doesn’t seem reasonable to you, ask if you can show another form of identification. Or ask if the business can use another number as your customer number.

    Remember that some government agencies can require your SSN. These agencies include DMV, welfare offices, and tax agencies. Look for the required “disclosure” form. The form should state if giving the number is required or optional, how it will be used, and the agency’s legal authority to ask for it.1

    Why Protect Your Social Security Number

    You should protect your number because it can have dire consequences if it is stolen. If you are the victim of ID theft, then it can be extremely difficult to undo the damage. First, a lost or stolen number can wreak havoc on your personal finances. You might find yourself owing money on loans or credit cards that you never even applied for. This information will be reported on your credit report, and you will be on the hook for paying back the money at least initially. This can prevent you from obtaining credit that you truly need like a car loan or mortgage as well.

    Left unprotected, your Social Security number could be used by thieves and you might need to spend hours attempting to undo the damage. You will have to file police reports, contact the credit reporting agencies, file disputes with lenders, and take many other steps that could have been avoided. Keeping your number safe and secure can save you countless hours and dollars in the long run. Interestingly enough, SSNs were never intended to act as the universal identifiers that they are today. According to the history of Social Security, they were originally only intended to track tax payments into the Social Security system and eligibility for benefits.

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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.

    Social Security Benefits Fraud

    What To Do If Your Social Security Number is Stolen

    This type of fraud aims at using an SSN to steal someones Social Security benefits or file for unemployment in their name. Just like with financial identity theft, you may not know someone else is profiting from you until you apply for social benefits yourself and get denied.

    The recent COVID-19 stimulus frauds, when identity thieves steal others stimulus payments, fall under the social benefits fraud category.

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    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.

    Placing A Fraud Alert And Credit Freeze

    A fraud alert indicates to the credit bureaus that your information has been stolen and that they should be aware of the likelihood of unusual activity in your name.

    A credit freeze goes one step further, locking your credit accounts so that no one can open a new account. Note that if you open a legitimate new account, you’ll need to give the lender a heads up that your credit file is frozen and that you need to unfreeze it before they can run a hard inquiry.

    If you put a fraud alert on your credit file, you only need to contact one of the three major credit bureaus. But if youre placing a freeze on your file, you will need to do it with each of the three credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

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    Request For A Credit Freeze

    Your original social security number card is rarely needed physically anywhere. This may benefit you because the chances of the card getting lost decrease to a high extent. But if you do lose it somehow, the same benefit may turn against you because the thief just needs to remember your SSN to avail all the benefits.

    That is why you need to request a credit freeze immediately after you feel suspicious about the social security number theft.

    You just need to contact the three major credit reporting agencies, that are, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion and put a credit freeze on your credit reports.

    Once you successfully do this, the thief wont be able to avail the advantages that you are the rightful owner of.

    Request For Identity Verification From The Irs

    Giving Out Your Social Security Number Online: Just Say No ...

    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 IRSs 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 cant 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
  • Also Check: Social Security Number Of Deceased Relative

    Avoiding Social Security Fraud: Leave Your Social Security Card At Home

    Once you receive your replacement Social Security card, lock it away in a safe place until you absolutely need it. Experts advise to avoid carrying your card around on a regular basis partly because of the risk of losing it again, and partly because you really dont need to present your Social Security card on a regular basis. In fact, one Social Security expert says that Social Security cards are irrelevant in the digital age, and the real priority should be targeted at fraud protection.

    Its extremely rare that you need your actual Social Security card, says Steven J.J. Weisman, Esq., an Amherst, Massachusetts-based college professor whose expertise is in investigating white-collar crime. A Social Security number is the most important piece of information that a criminal can use to make you a victim of identity theft so you shouldn’t carry it with you in your wallet, anyway.

    But if you do lose your card, Weisman recommends taking direct action to protecting the cardholder from financial fraud.

    Because of the danger of identity theft if your Social Security card is lost, you should put a credit freeze on your credit reports at each of the three major credit reporting agencies in order to prevent someone from leveraging the Social Security number into accessing your credit or establishing accounts in your name, he says.

    Other data security experts agree, citing the high risk of losing a card if you cart it around in your wallet or pocketbook.

    What Can Someone Do With My Social Security Number

    Once your personal details have been discovered, thieves can either sell your identity to others or take advantage of services in your name. They can access medical care, file fraudulent tax returns, steal benefits, commit crimes, and open accounts in your name, all with your social security number.

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    What Are The Dangers Of Losing My Social Security Card

    Scammers will use stolen or highjacked phones and an SSN to access one-time passwords that allow them entry to bank accounts, credit cards, and other sensitive financial information. The thief can use this information to commit account takeover fraud and steal your money and 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 you havent had your Social Security card 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.

    Ways An Identity Thief Can Use Your Social Security Number

    How To Find Someone’s Social Security Number | Lookup SSN by Name

    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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    Identifying Ssn Theft Signs

    Its often hard to tell if someone stole your SSN until they start using this information to commit identity theft. However, you could identify it early on if you scan the news for data breaches that involved your information, notice a lost SSN card or important mail, or realize you gave your SSN to a likely scammer. Once identity thieves start using a stolen SSN, you might experience these incidents:

    • Sudden rises or drops in your credit score
    • Letters from the Social Security Administration about changes to your account
    • Phone, email and mail communications regarding a bank, credit or insurance accounts you didnt open
    • Seeing suspicious activities such as incorrect balances, new accounts or delinquencies on your credit report
    • Missing government benefits payments
    • Notices about tax returns you didnt file
    • Medical bills you dont recognize
    • Problems getting employment, health insurance or financing
    • Unknown charges or withdrawals on bank and credit card statements
    • Accusations for crimes you didnt commit
    • Violations on your driving record
    • Communications from employers you dont recognize

    Your Social Insurance Number Is Confidential

    If your SIN falls into the wrong hands, it could be used to obtain personal information and invade your privacy. When the SIN is not linked to you as its rightful owner, another person could receive your government benefits, tax refunds or bank credits. Your personal information could also be revealed to unauthorized people, which could lead to identity theft and other types of fraud.

    If someone uses your SIN to work illegally or to obtain credit, you may suffer hardship. You could be requested to pay additional taxes for income you did not receive or you could have difficulty obtaining credit because someone may have ruined your credit rating.

    There are a number of things you can do to protect your SIN:

    • provide your SIN only when you know that it is legally required
    • store any document containing your SIN and personal information in a safe placedo not keep it with you
    • contact Service Canada if you change your name, if your temporary citizenship status changes to a permanent resident status or if information on your SIN record is incorrect or incomplete
    • take immediate measures to protect your SIN when you suspect someone else is using your SIN fraudulently

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