Your Social Security Card
Whether youve lost your social security card or someone an acquaintance used the number, this is another common way that someone has obtained this information. Keeping your social security card safe, not keeping it in your wallet, and making sure that no one can get to it is another way to protect your identity.
What Should I Do If I Think Someone Is Using My Social Security Number
If you think someone is using your number, there are several actions you can take. Note that we can only resolve Social Security number reporting problems on our own records.
Review your Social Security earnings record;Review the earnings posted to your record on your;Social Security Statement. To get your online;Statement, log into your personal;mySocial Security;account and check your account. If you see any inconsistencies, contact the Social Security Administration. We consider identity theft one of our major challenges so we have joined in government-wide efforts to prevent Social Security number misuse.If you want to report identity theft, where someone used your personal information, including your Social Security number, to get a loan or job, file a tax return, or conduct other business, please visit the Federal Trade Commissions Identity Theft page. This guides you through each step of the recovery process. Its a one-stop resource managed by the Federal Trade Commission, the nations consumer protection agency.Contact the Internal Revenue Service for issues involving taxesIf you believe someone is using your Social Security number to work, get your tax refund, or other abuses involving taxes, contact;the IRS online;or call 1-800-908-4490. ;Order a free credit reportYou can order free credit reports annually from the three major credit bureaus .Make a single request for all three credit bureau reports:
What Is Social Security Number Theft
Social Security Number theft or Social Security Number fraud is big business for thieves. The Social Security Administration estimates that in 2019 the administration made $7.9 billion in improper payments due to fraud. This boils down to an average cost of identity theft of over $1,000 per person!
The problem is a growing one. In 2017 the number of Social Security Numbers compromised in data breaches surpassed the number of credit card numbers, according to a study by Javelin Strategy & Research.
Social Security Number theft can wreak havoc on your credit score. The effort and time required to undo that sort of damage can often take years.
Once hackers or thieves have your SSN, they can make false statements on claims, file claims under your SSN, file fraudulent tax returns for refunds, open bank accounts and credit cards and more. A SSN, especially one with a good credit score attached, can be used to extract serious money quickly via these scams.
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What Information Was Taken
According to the company, the stolen data included names, birth dates, Social Security numbers and driver’s license information. In most cases, the company said, “no phone numbers, account numbers, , passwords, or financial information were compromised.” However, some 850,000 customers with prepaid accounts had their names, phone numbers and account PINs exposed, T-Mobile revealed.
Although the potential number of people affected is huge, by T-Mobile’s count it represents less than half the company’s current 105 million customers. T-Mobile has said it will notify the customers whose data was exposed and provide two years of identity theft protection service for free from the security company McAfee.
What Can I Do To Protect My Social Security Number
There are a few things you can do to keep your personal information and identity safe. Keep all important documents, whether physical copies or digital, private and protected. Any record of your social security number online should be password protected. Take cyber safety steps such as having a good antivirus and malware software installed on your computer to ensure you do not fall victim to hackers.
If you notice suspicious activity, report it immediately to the relevant government agencies. The Social Security Administration and Federal Trade Commission are good places to start. You should also file a police report. Another thing you can do is freeze your credit with major credit bureaus. This stops your credit cards from being accessible to lenders and prevents new accounts from being opened in your name.
If you suspect your social security number has been leaked or compromised, contact the fraud department of the company involved with the breach.
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
Dont Give It Out To Strangers
You should never provide your SSN to someone you dont know who calls you on the phone and requests it. This same warning applies to unsolicited emails and any forms you fill out on the internet. In general, dont give your SSN to anyone unless you are absolutely certain they have a reason and a right to have it.
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Open Accounts In Your Name
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.;
Check Your Credit Report
The Social Security Administration can tell you if someone is working on your SSN and the IRS can tell you if someone is filing taxes on it, but only your credit agencies can tell you if someone is using your SSN to acquire and use credit in your name.
There are three major credit reporting agencies in the United States:;Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. They each have slightly different methodologies and scoring programs, but they all more or less provide the same service.
You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report every 12 months . By contacting each service and requesting your report, you can immediately spot any suspicious activity on your credit accounts. Look for credit card applications, loan applications, and any debt you dont recognize.
Requesting your reports is simple:
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289 transunion.com
is a reputable service, and if you sign up for it you can keep a monthly eye on your credit score and your credit history, making it very difficult for an identity thief to put one over you in the long run.
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.
What To Do If Your Social Security Has Been Compromised
In this day and age of technology and people being able to hack or breach just about anything, people are becoming more worried than they ever have been about becoming a victim of identity theft. Unfortunately, millions of people have had their social security numbers stolen and used for something that they would never have done in a million years. In the last couple of years alone, there have been over 145 million people who have fallen as a victim of social security or identity theft and had their information exposed for the whole world to see.
In addition to your information being exposed online, there are other ways that your social security number can be detected. Sensitive documents can be stolen out of your mailbox without your knowledge; a person can rummage through your trash can, people often pose as someone who works for a trusted institution to gain your trust and have you hand your number right over.
If your social security number gets stolen, all hope is not lost. There are a few things you can do if your information gets taken so that you can protect yourself and get your life back to how it should be. Below are the steps you can do to get your things back to normal and get your information on the lockdown as it should be.
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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 fraud alerts or freezes on your accounts. 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.;
Check Employer Verifications At My E
You can also check for the names of employers who have verified your eligibility to work in the U.S. if they went through the Department of Homeland Security E-Verify system. To do that, go to the myE-Verify webpage. If you see an employer whose name you do not recognize, someone else may be using your number to work in the U.S. The site also has a self-lock feature that lets you place a lock on your SSN.
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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.
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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How To Check If Someone Else Is Using Your Social Security Number
The rise of technology has brought new threats to your personal data and its security. Identity theft is a crime that strikes at the heart of a modern citizens wealth, employment, social services, and more. Our identity specifically, the electronically-encoded identity that serves as the gateway to our bank accounts, to our home security systems, to our e-mail and network resources can be stolen by unscrupulous people and used for crimes great and small.
At best, an identity thief may use part of your identity as the launchpad for some phony persona that they are using to commit acts of fraud and light scams. At worst, they can drain your bank accounts, destroy your credit rating, and wipe out your hard-earned retirement benefits. Identity theft is not a minor crime in 2018, more than 60 million Americans reported that they were affected by identity theft.
Contact One Of The Three Major Credit
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 .
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What To Do If Someone Steals Your Ssn
If you become aware that someone has stolen your Social Security Number or have a suspicion, take these steps immediately. Its essential to act quickly to prevent any further harm.
The first step is to contact one of the credit-reporting agencies, TransUnion, Experian or Equifax. Heres how to contact the Big Three credit bureaus.
When you get someone on the lie, tell them you would like to place a credit freeze and a fraud alert on your credit file.;
Putting a credit freeze on your file will block lenders from your credit report without your approval. The good thing is, its easy to unfreeze your account. Better safe than sorry.
The next step is to report the identity theft to the Social Security Administration and other government agencies.;
The first you should contact is the Federal Trade Commission via identitytheft.gov. You can also file a police report with your local police department, which can assist you down the road.
The third step is to report your identity theft to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. Doing so will distribute your report to local, state and federal authorities and create an official report. This step is the most important when asking what to do if someone steals your SSN.