Different Types Of Identity Theft
Identity Theft and your Driver’s License Number / Fraud
- If your driver’s license number has been used to open accounts or verify checks, contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
Identity Theft / Fraud Involving Your Passport
- Notify the U.S. State Department’s Passport Services Department of the identity theft so that it can intercept anyone ordering a new passport in your name.
When dealing with authorities regarding your Identity Theft issues:
How To Know If Your Social Security Number Has Been Stolen
People often find out their Social Security number has been stolen when they go to open an account or file their taxes and find out someone else has already done so using their name. However, other warning signs someone has stolen your SSN include:
- Getting mail in someone elses name
- Receiving debt collection calls when you havent defaulted on anything
- Receiving new credit or debit cards in the mail you didnt request
One of the best ways you can make sure no one has stolen your SSN is to keep an eye on your credit report. Regularly checking your credit report and bank accounts can ensure you catch that something may be amiss as soon as possible. If you see an error or an account you dont recognize, make sure to follow up with the financial institution. It may just be an errorwhich will need to be addressed anywaybut its better to be safe than sorry.
Important Resources For Identity Theft Victims:
Did you know that it is illegal for collection agencies to harass you once you have notified them that the debt is due to Identity Theft? Here are some steps to take if you find yourself in this situation:
- Contact the fraud department of any one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your file.
- Close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Use the ID Theft Affidavit when disputing new unauthorized accounts.
- File a police report where you live.
- Get a copy of the report or report number.
- Contact any of the other agencies specific to your particular type of Identity Theft.
- File your complaint with FTC.
- Follow up in writing. Attach a police report/number along with any other documentation you may have. Send Certified Mail – Return Receipt Requested.
- Document everything!
Recommended Reading: Claim Social Security Early
When Not To Provide Your Sin
Some businesses may ask for your SIN. This is strongly discouraged, but not illegal.
For example, you do not have to provide your SIN to:
- prove your identity
- apply for a job
- negotiate a lease with a landlord
- apply for a credit card
- cash a cheque
- complete some banking transactions
- complete a medical questionnaire
- sign up for cell phone, Internet or TV services
- write a will
- apply to a university or college
What Can Someone Do When Your Ssn Has Been Stolen
Theres a reason your Social Security number is so private: when it comes to completing many important activities like opening a bank account, your SSN is treated as proof of your identity. If youre a victim of Social Security scams, then theres really no limit on the amount of financial fraud a thief can commit and youll be the one dealing with the consequences.
Here are a few things identity thieves can do by committing Social Security scams:
All You Need To Know Is Yourself
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The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.
Closely Review Your Credit Reports And Accounts
If you ever notice unusual activity, report it immediately to the applicable creditor as well as to one of the three major credit bureaus. You must provide strong evidence to the Social Security Administration of fraud on your account to secure a new Social Security Number. An identity theft protection service can help you monitor and protect your accounts to help with this process.
Recommended Reading: I Forgot My Child’s Social Security Number
Freeze Your Credit Reports And Contact Banks
After youve experienced identity theft, notify all banks and credit card companies where you have open accounts. Notify lenders, too. You can do this over the phone or through their websites. Youll also need to inform the company or companies where the fraud took place, if possible.
Next, you should put a freeze on your credit, which means no one can open any new accounts in your name this goes for you as well. Youll need to unfreeze your account when you feel comfortable or when youre ready to make a big purchase. Learn more about freezing your credit here.
To keep an eye on your financial activity, download a free copy of your credit report from the three major credit bureaus. You can do this once a year through the Federal Trade Commission at annualcreditreport.com.
Consider An Identity Protection Service
You can register with an identity protection service such as LifeLock, IdentityForce, or Identity Guard. Such companies charge fees that typically start around $10 a month. Banks and credit unions also have packages they sell to customers, as do major agencies such as Experian and TransUnion. Many of the best credit monitoring services also offer identity protection tools and services.
Don’t Miss: Social:security
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.
You Gave Your Social Security Number Away
If you suspect somebody has your Social Security Number — whether they stole it from a company or you gave it to them voluntarily — it’s important to set up credit monitoring. Typically your bank or the company that was breached will provide this to you for free.
You generally shouldn’t pay for credit monitoring, as high quality free products have proliferated in the marketplace particularly after the incident at Equifax. Paid credit monitoring services can be tricky to cancel, and you can typically achieve the same level of service with a free product.
Set up alerts so you know the instant anything changes with your credit score — you can usually do this through the credit monitoring program offered by your bank or credit card company, which is almost always a free service. Some of these services are free even if you’re not a customer of the bank, such as Capital One’s Credit Wise. In fact, you may want to do this anyway — monitoring your credit in this manner is good for everyone, not just victims of cybercrime.
If you provided a scammer with your Social Security Number directly, or you already think your number was used fraudulently, you will need to act more urgently. You can place a credit freeze on your account with the three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Transunion and Experian.
What To Do If Your Social Security Number Is Stolen
A Social Security number may be the single most important piece of government-issued identification that U.S. resident can have.
It’s definitely the most valuable piece of ID that identity thieves can get their hands on, especially when the number is combined with the rightful bearer’s name and address. Even just by itself, a valid SSN can be sold to undocumented workers or to people trying to hide their true identities.
A stolen SSN lets the thief, or the person he or she sells it to, do almost everything a legitimate SSN holder can do and more.
“You can close a credit card if it is compromised,” said Adam Dolby, senior manager of Alkami Technology. “But the problem is, you can’t close your SSN.”
If you discover your Social Security number has been stolen or otherwise misused by another person, there are several steps you’ll need to take right away.
Things To Do If Your Social Security Number Is Compromised
If you clicked here just to confirm that you have nothing to worry about, sorry – there’s plenty to worry about. This is the part in the movie when the doctor takes off her mask and gloves with a defeated sigh and delivers the dreaded news: something went horribly wrong — and we’re all potentially the patient she’s talking about.
You should have already done what I am about to tell you because there’s a good chance your Social Security number has been compromised.
It’s Not About Breaches
Well, it is — but it’s not ONLY about breaches.
But first, about those breaches… More than 21 million Social Security numbers were exposed in the Office of Personnel Management compromise alone. Add Anthem, Premera, and Excellus and the tally of vulnerable numbers reaches more than 120 million, and that’s not including the countless smaller, documented breaches involving SSNs that have occurred over the past five years or so.
But like I said, it’s not only about breaches. Think of all the places that have your Social Security number that may not have the extra security protections of a government agency . We’re talking about family doctors, schools, colleges, travel agents, lawyers, accountants and the measures taken to ensure that your SSN is not stolen are often minimal to non-existent.
Here are some tips to better protect and monitor your credit, or contain the damage in the event you detect you are having an issue.
1. Check Your Credit At Least Once a Year
Recommended Reading: Social Security First Check
How Do You Check To See If Someone Stole Your Identity
Maybe youre asking yourself how to check if someone is using my identity? The best way to check for identity theft is by checking your credit report. If anyone has used your SSN to open accounts or obtain credit in your name, then those records will appear on your credit report. If you notice anything on your report that you did not do, then someone likely has your SSN and is using it to conduct fraud. You can also check your Social Security statement to make sure that it is accurate and request a tax transcript from the IRS to make sure that no one has filed false tax returns using your SSN.
Stop Junk Mail Spam Email And Unsolicited Phone Calls
Tear off the label, write your request to be removed on the label:
Fax it to the company.
Enclose the label in the postage-paid ordering envelope. Mark envelope “ATTN: customer service”.
You could pave the nation with the free discs these people send out. Call 1-800-605-4297, 24 hours a day, to get off the list. Tell them your first name is “current”, last name “resident” only.
- Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes You can get the Clearinghouse to stop clogging your mailbox by contacting customer service at 1-800-645-9242 , sending a fax to 1-800-453-0272, mailing to 101 Channel Drive, Port Washington, NY 11050, or you can send email to email@example.com. PCH will remove any number of names from a specific address, but you have to list each name exactly and insist nicely.
- American Family Sweepstakes Ed McMahon and Dick Clark will stop telling you “You have definitely won 11 million dollars ” if you call them at 1-800-237-2400. AFP is a division of Time-Warner.
- Local Business & Supermarket Fliers All mailings must be identified, by postal regulations. Each loose-leaf bundle of fliers, by postal regulations, must be delivered at the same time as an address card.
Read Also: Find A Person By Social Security Number
How To Get A Replacement Social Security Card
To get a Social Security replacement card, visit the SSAs My Social Security account website. Youll be taken through the steps of requesting a replacement card. Keep in mind that you can use this online site to request a replacement card if you:
To apply for a replacement Social Security card, either online or via mail, you’ll need one acceptable personal identification document. By and large, your birth certificate will suffice, although the SSA will also accept the following proof of identity:
- A U.S. hospital record of your birth.
- A religious record indicating your date of birth .
- A current valid U.S. passport.
- A final adoption decree .
There are several exceptions if you cant get the needed identification documents, or dont have them at all. The SSA will accept other forms of identification that show your legal name and biographical data. Acceptable options include a U.S. military I.D. card, a U.S. Certificate of Naturalization, employee identity card, a certified copy of a medical record , a health insurance card, Medicaid card, or school identity card.
Signs That Your Social Security Number Has Been Stolen
There are a few red flags to watch for that can indicate someones gotten ahold of your SSN and used it. One sign is that your credit score drops without any plausible explanation. Another is that your bank account has mysterious charges or withdrawals. You also may see suspicious emails or mail arrive at your home.
Its important to take note of these occurrences and investigate them further, not write them off. You may find it helpful to sign up with a credit-monitoring program offered by one of the main credit bureaus to keep tabs on your score. Also, try to get into the habit of regularly checking your bank balances online and reviewing new transactions to ensure you were the one who made them.
Another popular scam happens when thieves steal someones SSN and use it to get a job or receive a paycheck. If this happens, you may start to receive mailed notices from the Internal Revenue Service . Its important to note that the IRS will never call you. If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, this is likely a scam, and you shouldnt divulge any personal information. You may, however, start to receive calls from credit agencies or debt collectors notifying you about accounts that are past due, and these may be legitimate calls. These fraudulent accounts may have been opened in your name without your knowledge.
Also Check: Social Securiti
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: