What Do I Do If My Social Security Card Or Number Is Stolen Or Lost
If your Social Security card or number is lost or stolen, you should immediately contact your local police department and the Social Security Administration to let them know about the incident. Once youve done that, there are a few other things that you can do to help mitigate the risks involved with losing your Social Security card.
What Do I Need To Get A Replacement Social Security Card
There are a series of steps that you need to complete in order to get that new card in your hand. Everything related to your Social Security file is managed by the Social Security Administration, so this is the agency that you will be working with through this process. They handle everything from issuing new cards to sending replacement cards to processing name changes. Their process for obtaining a replacement is pretty straightforward.
You should note that they do have some limits on the number of times you can request a replacement card. You are limited to three replacements per year and a total of 10 during your lifetime. Cards that are replaced due to a name change or change in work status do not count toward your limit. If you are getting close to the limit, then you probably need to assess your method of storing and keeping your card safe. But thats a topic for another day!
Before the SSA will issue that replacement card to you, you will need to provide them some information about your identity as well as prove your identity to them. They cannot issue new cards without this documentation because it would be too easy to commit fraud and pose as someone else. At a high level, youll need to complete the request form and prove that you are who you say you are. Here are more details on the specific next steps.
What Do I Do Next Ongoing Steps To Take
As weve talked about in some of my other blog posts, identity theft can be a long-term problem where follow-up instances of theft can crop up over time. However, there are a few steps you can take to minimize the damage and ensure it doesnt happen again. I cover several of those steps in detail in this blog here, yet lets take a look at a few of the top items as they relate to SSN theft:
Consider placing a fraud alert.
Look into an all-out credit freeze.
A full credit freeze is in place until you lift it and will prohibit creditors from pulling your credit report altogether. This can help stop thieves dead in their tracks since approving credit requires pulling a report. However, this applies to legitimate inquires, including any that you make, like opening a new loan or signing up for a credit card. If thats the case, youll need to take extra steps as directed by the particular institution or lender. Unlike the fraud alert, youll need to notify each of the three major credit bureaus when you want the freeze lifted.
Monitor your credit reports.
Once every 12 months, you can access a free credit report from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Doing so will allow you to spot any future discrepancies and offer you options for correcting them.
Sign up for an identity protection service.
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What Do I Do If My Social Security Card Was Stolen
You need to take immediate action if your card was stolen to protect yourself from fraud and identity theft. First, notify the local police immediately. File a report so that they can start working to catch the thief. Provide them as much detail as possible about where you last had your card and who may have taken it.
Next, you should contact the major credit reporting agencies to place a fraud alert on your Social Security number. This will ensure that Experian, Transunion, and Equifax require extra scrutiny to verify your identity should any requests for new credit be made against your SSN. Placing a fraud alert with one agency should carry across to the other agencies as well. You could even go as far as placing a lock on your credit so that no new accounts can be opened in your name. You must freeze and unfreeze your credit at each individual bureau, so youll need to contact each one separately.
You should also get a copy of your credit report and continue to monitor it closely, especially for the next few months after your card was stolen. If any fraud appears on your credit file, you can address it quickly and work to get it corrected. You can obtain a free credit report from each reporting agency, and some even provide a free report on a monthly basis.
What To Do If Your Social Security Card Has Been Stolen
Your Social Security card is an important form of identification. Most people have their Social Security number memorized. Since employers, schools, healthcare providers, banks, and many government offices and programs ask for it. Often, you will only need to provide your actual number. However, there are times when you will have to present your physical card. So, its important to have it available for when you need it. If your Social Security card has been stolen, you are at risk for identity theft. This can damage your credit and your finances. Obviously, this can have a serious impact on many aspects of your life. Therefore, if your Social Security card has been stolen, you should immediately take the following steps to minimize the risks.
Step 1: Report that your Social Security card has been stolen
First, youll need to report that your Social Security card has been stolen. In order to lock your credit or qualify for bank restitution, you will need a police report number. So, you should immediately contact the police and report your Social Security card stolen.
Step 2: Freeze or monitor your credit
Step 3: Replace your Social Security card
- U.S. passport
- U.S. drivers license
- State-issued ID card
Depending on your circumstances, the SSA may request additional forms of ID or paperwork. You can find out which documents you will need here.
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How To Report A Stolen Social Security Card
This article was co-authored by Clinton M. Sandvick, JD, PhD. Clinton M. Sandvick worked as a civil litigator in California for over 7 years. He received his JD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998 and his PhD in American History from the University of Oregon in 2013.There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, several readers have written to tell us that this article was helpful to them, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 547,846 times.
One of fastest growing crimes in the United States is identity theft. Over 13.1 million Americans were victims of identity fraud in 2013 alone.XResearch source Thieves can target social security cards and then charge up credit cards under your name. Luckily, the Social Security Administration has a department devoted to receiving reports of stolen social security cards and preventing future fraud.
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.
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Leave Your New Card At Home
To protect yourself, since you dont need your Social Security card itself for most transactions that rely on your Social Security number, you might be wise to keep it in a safe place at home, rather than in your wallet. Your Social Security account is designed to keep you safe and keep track of all your contributions so you may draw on the funds youve put in when you need them. Its a small paper card, but it can make a big difference in your future.
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.
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What To Do If Your Social Security Number Is Stolen: Key Steps For Identity Protection
Your Social Security number is one of the most important and personal pieces of information you have. One of these unique nine-digit numbers is given to every American at birth or at the time they obtain U.S. citizenship. Its a vital detail that can help you keep track of your earnings, open new lines of credit and use as identification, among many other activities.
Because its so personal and tied specifically to you, however, your Social Security number isnt something you want just anyone getting access to. After obtaining it, someone could use it to impersonate you, steal your identity or enter into financial transactions that create unnecessary hardship for you.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts at keeping your Social Security number safe, it might end up in the wrong hands. If you suspect your SSN has been stolen, its vital to take the right steps to protect yourself. The following tips can help you get back on track if youre dealing with a stolen number or similar identity-theft situation.
Let The Three Major Credit Bureaus Know
Add a fraud alert to your credit report at the three major credit bureaus TransUnion, Experian and Equifax if you are a victim of fraud or you may be. This alert can help creditors take extra steps to confirm your identity before issuing new credit under your name. Signaling one agency alerts the other two automatically.
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What To Do If Your Social Security Card Is Stolen
Losing your social security card is a big deal because your SSN is a valuable proof of identity. In fact, it can be used to steal your financial identity. If your social security card has been stolen, the issue becomes even more crucial. Thieves will either actively steal your identity or will sell your social security card to those who will. Taking the right steps after your social security card has been stolen will prevent this problem. In this article, well discuss how to get a new social security card.
How Can I Protect My Child Against Identity Theft
One of the best things you can do to provide identity theft protection for your child is to keep their Social Security card stored in a safe and secure place until it is needed. Do not carry the card around with you or allow the child to carry it. Also, you should obtain a free credit report for them each year to monitor their credit history and make sure that nothing suspicious appears on the report.
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Can I Order A New Social Security Card Online
Lucky for you, the answer is yes! In some situations, you can request a replacement card online. Heres what you need to know about requesting a new card online. First, the service is completely free! Next, it is only available if you are only requesting a replacement with no other changes. So, no name changes or any other changes can be processed online.
You will need to sign up for a free account on the SSA website called a My Social Security Account. This only takes a few minutes, and then you can begin the process of requesting your replacement. Once you have your account created, you create the request online and upload your documentation right there on the website.
You will need a drivers license or state issued identification card to use the online service. However, you should know that Minnesota, New Hampshire, West Virginia, Nevada, and Oklahoma are not yet eligible to use this service. Also, if you live in Alaska, Delaware, or Wisconsin, you must have a drivers license because a non-drivers ID card will not work for these states.
Apply For A Replacement Social Security Number
The Social Security Administration allows you to receive a new SSN under certain circumstances. One example is if youre in immediate danger or being threatened in a domestic abuse situation. Another is if your SSN has been stolen.
To begin the process of obtaining a new SSN through the Social Security Administration, youll need to provide a written statement outlining what happened to you and why you need a new number. In addition to your statement, youll also need to provide legal documents backing up your statements these can include your police report.
You will also need to fill out the SS-5 form. This is the same form you or your parents filled out when you were born or that you filled out when you became a citizen. This form includes a series of questions about your previous SSN filing. Youll note on this form if you previously filed when you became a citizen or provide the names of your parents, who filed on your behalf.
In addition, you also need to provide documentation showing your U.S. citizenship, age, legal residence, identity and existing SSN. If youve ever changed your name, youll need to submit documentation of this. If you changed your name when you got married, for example, you could submit your marriage license to satisfy this requirement.
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Place A Fraud Alert On Your Credit File
Contact any of the three major credit agencies Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. You only need to contact one of the three agencies because the one you contact will report the alert to all other agencies. This alert will last for 90 days but you can renew it if you still feel unsafe. The numbers for each are listed below.
Equifax: 1-888-766-0008Experian: 1-888-766-0008
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.
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