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.
Beware Of Calls Asking For Your Social Insurance Number
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has been contacted by individuals who have indicated people are calling them with claims that their Social Insurance Numbers have been compromised. The callers then ask the individuals to confirm their SIN over the phone and sometimes claim the individual needs a new one.
The fraudulent callers often say they are from government departments. Sometimes the phone numbers appear to be legitimate.
However, Service Canada and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre have confirmed these calls are fraudulent and that fraudsters are masking their phone number with legitimate government phone numbers in an effort to gain access to personal or financial information.
Some of the calls have occurred following highly publicized privacy breaches. In several instances, the callers have mentioned a real and recent data breach during their call.
The OPCs key tips to help reduce the risk of identity theft and other types of fraud include:
- Dont give personal information such as a credit card number or Social Insurance Number over the phone unless its to a trusted person or you initiated the call yourself.
- If someone calls unexpectedly and requests your personal or financial information, try calling the organization they are representing to verify that the request is legitimate. Reputable firms never ask for personal information without significant safeguards.
You can report deceptive telemarketing to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Everyones Social Security Number Has Been Compromised Heres How To Protect Yourself
All of our SSNs have been compromised, say experts.
Every day, it seems, another data security disaster puts our personal information at risk. If its not a major hotel or restaurant chain getting hacked, its a financial institution.
Following breaches at Capital One, Equifax and a slew of other financial and healthcare organizations, theres little doubt that your social security number has been compromised, say cybersecurity experts. Not just yours. Mine, too, as well as those of our spouses, neighbors, friends and colleagues.
Your social security number is somewhere out there on the dark web, says Charles Henderson, who heads up X-Force Red, a team of hackers at IBM Security that companies hire to break into their computer systems to expose vulnerabilities.
It’s totally reasonable to assume that your social security number has been compromised at least once, if not many times, says Mike Chapple, associate teaching professor of information technology, analytics and operations at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.
A compromised social security number is much more problematic than when other types of personal data hacked. If your credit card number is stolen, your bank can issue a new one within days. If your passport or driver’s license is stolen, you can get a replacement issued with brand new numbers.
With Marriott and the other hotel breaches, all of those credit cards got revoked and re-issued, points out Henderson.
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Social Security Number Theft: What To Do If Someone Steals Your Ssn
- Post author
Social Security number theft and identity theft are major headaches that can crush your credit score. Heres what to do if someone steals your SSN number.
The importance of your Social Security Number cant be exaggerated. The nine-digit number is your connection to the Social Security Administration but goes far beyond that. It has become one of the most commonly used numbers for verifying identity. Unfortunately, identity thieves realize the potential of these numbers and Social Security theft costs victims billions of dollars in damages each year.
You need a Social Security number to get a job, collect Social Security benefits, apply for federal loans, open bank accounts, buy a home and sign up for private insurance.
The unique number is a way for the government to keep track of your lifetime earnings and the number of years worked to calculate Social Security benefits later in life.
Social Security Number theft happens when a thief gains control of your unique number and uses it for their own advantage. There are many ways a thief can use this number and the damage they can do with it is significant.
You Put An Account Number Into A Dummy Website
Some phishing emails or fraudulent URLs are created to look so convincingly like your bank’s, it is easy to mistakenly enter your username and password or, if they ask for it, your checking or savings account number. Other websites are made to emulate popular e-commerce or retail websites, tricking you into entering your credit card details.
If you’ve given away any of these numbers, call your bank immediately and describe the error in detail. Your bank should be able to read back any charges have been made fraudulently and connect you to the right department to help freeze or suspend the accounts that may have been comrpomised. You can typically find the fraud department directly by using the fraud services number on the back of your credit card, or on the bank’s website.
If fraudulent charges have been made, you may have to fill out a paper report, and any reimbursement may take time, typically a bit longer for debit cards than for credit cards. Here’s a version of one of these forms, used by Inova Federal Credit Union. A banker may call you to ask follow-up questions.
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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, youll 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 its 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 arent as useful. A fraud alert just requests that anyone pulling your credit file contact you first, but they dont 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 If Someone Steals My Social Security Number
All of this is of course very interesting, but lets bring it back to the point of this article: what if some bad guy steals, obtains, guesses at, or otherwise gets hold of your Social Security Number? As it happens, all kinds of bad things!
Because you have to have a Social Security Number to get a job in the United States , crooks are very fond of stealing SSNs specifically for the purpose of selling them to people who do not already have permission to work in the United States, so that those people can get a job.
Nothing is wrong with people getting jobs, of course, but if they are using your Social Security Number, it can cause untold confusion and issues with your taxes and your Social Security benefits. You could even LOSE your Social Security benefits and that can be hundreds of thousands of dollars.
As you can see, it is very important for you to be able to tell whether someone is using your Social Security Number without your permission. In this article, I will show you several methods of detecting whether your Social Security Number has been compromised.
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Other Reasons For Changing A Social Security Number
There are several other reasons that the SSA will issue a new number. For example, it may approve a change if similar numbers within a family unit cause confusion or if two identical numbers have been issued in error. If you have a religious objection to a certain number or sequence of numbers in your current SSN, you may also qualify for a change.
You Wired Money To A Scammer
In a typical wire fraud scam, a criminal breaks into the email of someone who you know, usually professionally — an attorney, realtor or business associate. He or she squats on the email until he or she knows how you interact with this person, and then strikes, sending you a message — usually an urgent one — convincing you to wire money to an unfamiliar bank account, in order to facilitate a legal matter, home transaction or vendor payment.
Usually, the bank account is offshore. Because the transaction involves email fraud, your bank won’t reimburse you. It’s a more involved type of cybercrime and for a good reason — because criminals get money wired directly to their accounts, and often very large sums.
Drop everything and call your bank. If you have fallen victim to this type of crime, drop everything you’re doing and contact your bank’s wire department to attempt to halt the wire. If you are successful, this can save you enormous headaches later. If you know the real identity of the receiving bank, you can attempt to contact its wire department as well, although the fraudster’s bank is usually overseas and may be more difficult to reach.
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How Do I Report Someone Using My Social Security Number
There are various steps you can do if you suspect someone is using your phone number. Its important to note that we can only fix Social Security number reporting issues on our own records.
Take a look at your Social Security earnings history. Examine the wages on your Social Security Statement that have been recorded. Log into your personal my Social Security account and check your account to get your online Statement. Contact the Social Security Administration if you notice any discrepancies. We believe identity theft to be one of our most serious problems, therefore weve joined government-wide initiatives to prevent the abuse of Social Security numbers. Please visit the Federal Trade Commissions Identity Theft page to report identity theft, which occurs when someone uses your personal information, such as your Social Security number, to obtain a loan or employment, file a tax return, or conduct other business. This manual will walk you through every step of the rehabilitation procedure. The Federal Trade Commission, the nations consumer protection agency, manages it as a one-stop shop. For tax-related difficulties, contact the Internal Revenue Service . Contact the IRS online or call 1-800-908-4490 if you believe someone is using your Social Security number to work, get your tax refund, or engage in other tax-related misconduct. Get a free credit report by filling out the form below. The three major credit bureaus offer free credit reports once a year .
Monitor Your Credit Reports
One of the most important things that you can do to avoid becoming a big victim of the improper use of your social security number would be to properly monitor your credit reports. You want to monitor everything from your credit. That way, you will be able to tell whether or not someone is actively using your social security number to try to pose as you to open new accounts. This is a great way to really ensure that no one is actively using your social security number other than yourself. Because you will be able to see exactly what accounts you have open and everything, you will be able to figure out whether or not someone is improperly using your social security number. You can do this by getting free credit reports, requesting reports from different agencies on a yearly basis, and more.
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Checking Your Credit Score
The most common way to catch unauthorized activity is by checking your credit information. If an account appears that you did not initiate, someone is using your Social Security number.
You can check your credit score using a third-party service like or check with your credit card company to see if they have such a feature.
If youre applying for a new line of credit and get turned down, this could mean that there are fraudulent accounts or activities that are affecting your credit score.
What Is The Penalty For Using Someone Elses Social Security Number
In California, the penalty for identity theft varies depending on the circumstances and facts surrounding the case. In California, identity theft is a wobbler, meaning it can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor.
Identity theft in California carries a maximum penalty of a year in county jail and a $1,000 fine if prosecuted as a misdemeanor. As a felony, you may face up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Because identity theft is so common, the federal government has authority to prosecute incidents of identity theft. Federal identity theft carries a sentence of up to 30 years in jail.
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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
Oregon Department Of Justice
The Oregon DOJ/Consumer Protection site has been redesigned to offer a better user experience, while retaining the information and resources our visitors rely on.
As with any transition, it may take a little extra time to find what you’re looking for. For your convenience, here are links to some important pages on the Consumer Protection section of the new website.
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Identity Theft Is One Major Reason Today
Your Social Security number, a unique identifier issued by the Social Security Administration , is meant to stay with you for life and never change. But there are instances where the SSA makes exceptions. These include times when your safety is endangered or you are a victim of identity theft. Here is why some people change their Social Security numbers and how to go about it if you wish to.
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
Common Reasons For Changing A Social Security Number
As mentioned above, the SSA has relatively strict requirements for changing someone’s Social Security number. For example, it won’t provide one for a person who wants to avoid the consequences of bankruptcy or is evading the law. In addition, you can’t get a new number if you simply lost your Social Security card, unless there is solid evidence that your number is being used by someone else.
Among the reasons that the SSA will accept for issuing a new number:
Get A Social Security Statement
The Social Security Administration maintains an online service that lets you find out what you have paid into Social Security, how many hours of work your employers have reported each quarter, and what your expected benefits would be if you were to retire or go on disability in the near future.
You may think that would be wonderful since the worker reporting hours to your Social Security account is moving you closer to vesting your Social Security benefit, but in fact, you can have your expected Social Security payments greatly reduced if someone is reporting low-wage labor to your account. So you want to clear up any double-dipping of your Social Security account.
Requesting your statement is straightforward. You will need to create a my Social Security account if you dont already have one. You can access the sign-in/account creation page here. Once logged in, you can request a Social Security statement to print out from your account. If you prefer a low-tech approach, you can fill out a request form and mail it in, and get a statement mailed to you in 4 to 6 weeks.
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