Contact The Postal Inspection Service
If you have reason to believe an identity thief stole anything from your mailbox or that the U.S. Mail was involved in the crime in any way, report it to the nearest U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is the law enforcement branch of the U.S. Postal Service and handles all investigations into U.S. Mail theft and fraud.
If You Suspect Someone Is Using Your Sin
If you think someone else is using your SIN, act quickly. This will help prevent loss and minimize the negative impact.
Be vigilant Watch for signs that someone else is using your SIN. For example, ifCRA contacts you with a Notice of Reassessment for undeclared earnings, it may mean that someone else used your SIN to work or to receive other taxable income.
Applying For A New Number Or Replacement Card
The SSA may assign a new Social Security number to you if you are being harassed, abused, or are in grave danger when using the original number, or if you can prove that someone has stolen your number and is using it. You must provide evidence that the number is being misused, and that the misuse is causing you significant continuing harm.
If you apply for a new Social Security number, you must prove
- your age
- your citizenship or lawful immigration status
- your identity
Getting a new Social Security number probably wont resolve all the problems related to the theft of your identity. Government agencies and some businesses may keep records under your original Social Security number. In addition, because credit reporting companies use Social Security numbers and other personal information to identify a persons credit file, using a new number doesnt guarantee a fresh start. But by being careful with your personal information and monitoring credit reports for fraudulent activity, you can limit the misuse.
The SSA lets you apply for an original Social Security number or a replacement Social Security card for free. The application form and information about the supporting documents you need to apply are available online. The form takes just a few minutes to complete. But that hasnt stopped some websites from claiming that the process is complicated, confusing, and time-consuming, and offering to do it for you for a fee.
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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
It Is Entirely Up To The Social Security Administration To Decide If You Can Get A New Number
If the agency thinks you don’t need a new one, you won’t get it.
If you decide to get a new Social Security number, the first step is as easy as completing a standard SSN application form. You will enter the old number into it. But be prepared to make your case and have ample documentation to prove it.
Don’t forget that the old Social Security number never completely disappears, even if it remains inactive. The Social Security Administration never invalidates an SSN once issued.
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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.
Keep Your Identity Safe
If you use an online application to do your taxes, you can now log in with your username, password and a third personal item like a phone number. Using all 3 will keep your identity and data safer.
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen personal information, including your Social Security number, to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.
If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must file a paper return.
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How To Apply For A Replacement Social Security Card
While you dont need to have your Social Security card on you all the time, there are occasions where having your physical card is imperative. So, if you have lost your card, then youll need to get a replacement from the Social Security office. Thankfully, the process of getting a replacement SS card is not extremely difficult. Youll just need to provide the proper documentation and your new card will be mailed to you.
Once you have created your mySocialSecurity account, you can request a replacement card online in most states. As long as you have a United States mailing address and are making no other changes , then you will simply need to upload a copy of your valid drivers license or state-issued identification card to make the request. The site will guide you through the process, and you should have your new card in under 30 days.
If you live in a state that does not qualify for online requests, then youll need to either mail in the application for a new card with your documentation or visit your local Social Security office. You will need one document that proves your identity. There are a few you can choose from, and they are as follows:
- U.S. Birth Certificate
- Religious document showing date of birth
- Final adoption decree
Social Security Identity Theft Faq
What should I do if I believe my Social Security number has been stolen or misused?
If you think someone is using your Social Security,
- Review your Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.
- Review your Social Security earnings record for accuracy.
- Visit the Federal Trade Commission at www.identitytheft.gov to report identity theft and get a recovery plan.
- Contact the Federal Internal Revenue Service Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.
- Order a free credit report .
- File a police report.
Note: The Social Security Administration can only resolve Social Security number reporting problems on their own records.
What should I do if I think my name and/or Social Security number is being used to obtain a fake drivers license?
The Michigan Department of State Office of Investigative Services is committed to protecting the integrity of all MDOS programs and documents issued by the agency.
If you witness, suspect or know of fraudulent, improper or suspicious activity involving any MDOS documents or programs, please contact the OIS immediately at:
FRAUD TIP LINE: 844-372-8356
When you contact OIS, provide as much detail as possible. Include your contact information as an investigator may need to contact you for additional information. All reports will be kept confidential.
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Its Entirely Up To The Social Security Administration To Decide Whether You Can Get A New Number
If the agency doesnt think you need a new one, you wont get one.
If you do decide to get a new Social Security number, the first step is as easy as filling out a standard SSN application form. Youll enter the old number on it. But be prepared to plead your case, and to have ample documentation to prove it.
Dont forget that the old Social Security number never completely goes away, even if it goes dormant. The Social Security Administration never invalidates an SSN once its been issued.
How Do I Replace My Lost Or Stolen Social Security Card
You can replace your Social Security card online. According to the Social Security Administration, if youre only requesting a replacement card, and no other changes, you can use our free online services from anywhere. All you need to do is log in to or create your personal my Social Security account.
Once you receive your replacement card, dont put it in your purse or wallet. Keep it stored securely in a safety deposit box, or at home.
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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.
Identity Theft: What You Need To Know
Thieves with access to personal information Social Security number, birth certificate, PIN or credit card numbers, even pre-approved credit card solicitations can steal your identity and apply for credit in your name, racking up huge debts without you even knowing that it has happeneduntil its too late. Stay safe. Follow these simple suggestions.
Safeguard Your Personal Information:
Protect Your Bank Accounts and Your Mail:
Protect Yourself on the Internet and Protect Your Computer:
- If you must use a public computer, confirm first that it is not running a desktop search engine and that the proprietor has denied users administrative privileges so they can’t install any programs that might be used to capture your emails or passwords.
If You Are a Victim of Identity Theft:
Certegy Inc.: 437-5120
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How Do Thieves Profit From Stolen Social Security Cards
Identity thieves can use your SSN to apply for more credit in your name. Of course, the scammers never pay the bills, which can damage your credit, and cause you to get calls from unknown credit demanding payment for items you never bought. They may also place your Social Security number on the Dark Web to sell to other identity thieves.
Lost Social Security Card: What To Do
Even if you have only lost your card and do not suspect foul play, you need to search thoroughly in every possible location. Of course, it’s likely you’ve already searched in every possible place before seeking the next steps, but replacing a Social Security Card can be a complex process, so you should make sure it’s not sitting in an old purse or filing cabinet before taking action.
If you cannot find it, you need to act as if it’s been taken. Because you don’t know where it is, the safest route is to assume that it’s at risk of being stolen, if it hasn’t already been. From here on, you need to take the same steps as someone whose purse or wallet has been stolen.
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How To Report Identity Theft To Social Security
8 MIN READ
In the hands of a thief, your Social Security Number is the master key to your identity.
With a Social Security Number , a thief can unlock everything from credit history and credit line to tax refunds and medical care. In extreme cases, thieves can use it to impersonate others. So, if you suspect your number is lost or stolen, its important to report identity theft to Social Security right away.
Part of what makes an SSN so powerful in identity theft is that theres only one like it. Unlike a compromised credit card, you cant hop on the phone and get a replacement. No question, the theft of your SSN has serious implications. If you suspect it, report it. So, lets take a look at how it can happen and how you can report identity theft to Social Security if it does.
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
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Prevent Or Curtail Further Identity Theft Abuses By Contacting The Following Agencies
An identity thief may use your personal identifying information to fraudulently obtain a driver’s license, file for bankruptcy, apply for social security benefits or even get a passport. To head off such possibilities, contact the following agencies and follow their procedures to limit the damage an identity thief can do.
Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
Read OIG’s Protecting Personal Information for their 10 Tips to Protect Personal Information and several actions to take if you suspect identity theft.
If someone uses your SSN to obtain credit, loans, telephone accounts, or other goods and services, contact the Federal Trade Commission . The FTC collects complaints about identity theft from those whose identities have been stolen. You may reach the FTCs identity theft hotline toll free at 1-877-IDTHEFT or visit their website at www.ftc.gov/idtheft.
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Getting A New Social Security Number Is Probably Not A Good Idea
Victims of identity theft sometimes want to change their Social Security number. The Social Security Administration very rarely allows this. In fact, there are drawbacks to changing your number. It could result in losing your credit history, your academic records, and your professional degrees. The absence of any credit history under the new SSN would make it difficult for you to get credit, rent an apartment, or open a bank account.
Get A New Social Security Card
You can either contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 to request a replacement Social Security card, or register for a MY SSA account online at www.ssa.gov and provide documents as proof of identity. This can include a U.S. birth certificate or passport, hospital record of birth, or a drivers license.
If this isn’t possible for any reason, you’ll need to visit a local Social Security Administration office to obtain a new card or request a new number.
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What Can A Thief Do With My Social Security Number
There are numerous things that a thief can do with your SSN, and none of them are good. One of the most common things that happen when someone is using your Social Security number is opening credit accounts in your name. They might get credit cards, bank accounts, or loans in your name and use them to purchase items. A thief might even use your SSN to file a fraudulent tax return with the Internal Revenue Service. Taking this action could allow them to receive a large tax refund, and then you might be on the hook later for the fraudulent return.
Know The Signs Of Identity Theft
You may not know youre a victim of identity theft until youre notified by the IRS of a possible issue with your return.
Be alert to possible tax-related identity theft if:
- You get a letter from the IRS inquiring about a suspicious tax return that you did not file.
- You cant e-file your tax return because of a duplicate Social Security number.
- You get a tax transcript in the mail that you did not request.
- You get an IRS notice that an online account has been created in your name.
- You get an IRS notice that your existing online account has been accessed or disabled when you took no action.
- You get an IRS notice that you owe additional tax or refund offset, or that you have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return.
- IRS records indicate you received wages or other income from an employer you didnt work for.
- Youve been assigned an Employer Identification Number but you did not request an EIN.
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