Tips To Protect Your Ssn And Identifiable Information
- Keep your card and any other document that shows your Social Security number in a safe place DO NOT routinely carry your card or other documents that display your number.
- Be careful about sharing your number, even when you are asked for it ONLY share your SSN when absolutely necessary.
- Protect your personal financial information at home and on your computer.
- Check your credit report annually.
- Check your Social Security Administration earnings statement annually,
- Protect your personal computers by using firewalls, anti-spam/virus software, update security patches and change passwords for Internet accounts.
- Protect your personally identifiable information keep it private. Only provide your SSN when YOU initiate the contact or you are sure who you know is asking.
Safely Dispose Of Old Electronics
- Make sure you have removed all of the personal information your old computer holds before you sell, donate or recycle it. For best results, use a wipe utility program that overwrites everything on the hard drive.
- Transfer phone books, contact lists, etc. to your new phone, and then wipe your old phone completely clean. Consult the owners manual, the manufacturers recommendations, and your service provider for tips on how to remove all of your old data, histories, photos, etc.
How To Protect Your Social Security Number
Once your Social Security number has been viewed by potential identity thieves, there’s no way for your Social Security number to be secret again. However, there are things you can do to keep your Social Security number safe and limit the risk that a stolen Social Security number can be used against you.
Here’s how to keep your Social Security information secure:
— Know who really needs your number and who doesn’t.
— Don’t carry your Social Security card around with you.
— Shred documents with your Social Security number.
— Don’t give out your Social Security number in unsolicited calls or emails.
— Create a my Social Security account.
When to Provide Your Social Security Number
There are several organizations that require your Social Security number, including your employer, the IRS and financial institutions. But there are many other organizations that might ask for your Social Security number but don’t really need it, including hospitals, doctors, insurers, utilities, schools and retail stores.
Ways to Protect Your Social Security Number
Don’t put your Social Security card in your wallet or carry around documents with your Social Security number. If you receive financial statements or other documents containing your Social Security number, lock them away in a safe place or shred them carefully if you don’t need them.
How to Spot Social Security Number Scams
Create a My Social Security Account
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Keep Your Ssn In A Safe Place
Secure your original SSN card so it cant be easily stolen. A locked filing cabinet is a good place to store it, as well as a home safe or even a safety deposit box, if you have one of those for other purposes. Wherever you store it, remember where youve put it in case you ever need to produce the original card.
How To Protect Your Social Security Number: 10 Ssn Tips
If you want to help protect yourself against identity theft, protecting your Social Security number is a good start. Your Social Security number is a high-value target for ID theft. Getting an identity theft protection plan is one step to consider.
Your Social Security number, or SSN, is a key piece of personally identifiable information. In the wrong hands like, in the hands of an identity thief your Social Security number might lead to various types of identity theft or fraud.
What can identity thieves do with your Social Security number? Heres a sample:
- Open bank accounts
- Open new credit cards or lines of credit to make purchases in your name
- File tax returns to obtain your refund
- Open new service accounts in your name, such as utilities or internet service
- Put you in major debt
- Destroy your credit score across all three credit bureaus
Although you cant do anything about a data breach that might expose your Social Security number, its a good idea to learn what you can do to protect yourself following a breach, and before a subsequent breach. No matter how big or small, no business or industry is immune to cyberthieves who may have identity theft in mind.
Here are some tips for protecting your Social Security number and identity.
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File A Fraudulent Tax Return
Tax identity theft happens when fraudsters use your stolen personal information, such as your SSN, to file a tax return and claim a fraudulent refund in your name.
Unfortunately, you probably wonât realize youâve become a victim until youâre unable to file your tax return. In the meantime, you canât access your stolen tax refund â as it can take months to resolve the problem with the Internal Revenue Service and prove you were a victim of identity theft.
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Apply For A New Ssn As A Last Resort
If you believe youve done everything you can and someone is still using your SSN, you may need to request a new number from the SSA. If you decide to apply for a new number, you will need to prove your identity, age, and U.S. citizenship or immigration status. You will also need to provide evidence that someone is using your old number. The SSA booklet Your Social Security Number and Card explains the application process.
Bear in mind that a new SSN may not solve all your problems. Think about all the government agencies, banks, credit reporting companies, and others that already have and use your old number.
Once you receive a new SSN, do not use your old number again. Make sure your new number is reported to all agencies that will need it and that those agencies know you no longer use your old number.
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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.
When To Provide Your Social Security Number
Were all used to handing over whatever personal information is requested when you create an account or conduct some sort of transaction with a business. But do you have to give out your social security number to anyone who asks for it? No the reality is that most companies that might ask for your SSN dont actually require it they might simply be using it as a convenient, if highly insecure, means of tracking or identifying you.
The only businesses that need to know your SSN are those that report information about you to the Internal Revenue Service. It is generally safe to provide your social security number to your bank and investment firms, and well, thats about it. So if your bank asks you for your SSN, provide it if any other business requests it, ask what they need it for before providing it.
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Ssn Protection Tip #: Don’t Use Your Ssn As Id
Here are the businesses and organizations that need to know your social security number:
- Your bank or mortgage lender
- The U.S. Treasury
- Your state’s unemployment insurance department
- Workers’ compensation insurance organizations
- Federal and state welfare programs
Businesses and organizations that aren’t on this list don’t have a real need to know your social security number. If you’re asked to provide it, protect your social security number by using an alternate form of identification, such as:
- Your driver’s license
- A piece of mail that’s addressed to you at your current address
- Your student ID
If the person you’re speaking to won’t accept an alternate form of ID, don’t be afraid to ask why they need your social security number. If the reason they provide doesn’t make any sense, report it to the SSA.
Opening Every Bank And Credit Card Statement
With automatic payments and online banking, it’s easy to ignore credit card and bank statements that come in the mail. But its good practice to open every one you receive to verify it’s an account you recognize and the charges appear legitimate.
If you don’t remember opening the account or the charges appear illegitimate, contact the financial institution to learn more about the account and charges. If they still appear illegitimate after discussing them, place a fraud alert on the account and request to close it.
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Using Care At Gas Stations
Identity thieves are infamous for installing credit card skimmers on gas pumps. These skimmers look similar to a normal credit card reader, but they store your credit card information for the thief without you knowing.
Prevent this issue by examining the gas pump. Check the tamper-evident tape near the scanner. If this has been peeled off or cut, alert an attendant at the station. Also, grab the scanner and wiggle it skimmers tend to be loosely installed and wiggle under light pressure.
Challenge All Other Requests
Many other vendors may ask for your SSN, but having it may not be essential. The most common requests come from health care providers and insurance companies, but requests can also come from subscription services when setting up a new account. When asked on a form for your number, leave it blank. If your supplier really needs it, they will ask you for it. This allows you to challenge their request.
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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.
Consider Subscribing To An Identity Theft Protection Service Like Complete Id
Complete IDs Social Security Number Monitoring service notifies you of all current and new names or aliases associated with your SSN, and provides clear instructions on what to do next.
Remember, no one can ever be 100% safe from Social Security identity theft. These simple steps can help safeguard your Social Security number and keep you informed. Complete ID can do the monitoring for you for as little as $8.99 per month per person for Executive Members*. .
This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal issues or financial issues involved with credit decisions.
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Identity theft protection is critical to your peace of mind
These days, identity theft protection strategies and tools are important ways to help protect your Social Security number and other personal information. A stolen identity can cost you money and time as you may have to hire professionals and work with credit bureaus to clear your good name. Identity thieves can use your information to open fraudulent credit card accounts that can show up on your credit report and hurt your credit score. By just monitoring your credit, you could miss certain identity threats. We see more, like if your personal information is sold on the dark web. And if you are a victim, our ID protection helps with identity restoration and even lost wallet coverage.
*Important Subscription, Pricing and Offer Details
No one can prevent all cybercrime or prevent all identity theft.
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.
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Enroll In Identity Theft Protection
You should also consider enrolling in an identity theft protection service. This can be extremely useful when attempting to correct issues caused by a lost or stolen SSN. In addition, it can help provide SSN protection from further usage. The cost of these services is relatively inexpensive when you consider how much time and money they can save you. Most even include insurance that protects you financially from the fraudulent usage of your Social Security number.
Can You Change Your Ssn If Its Stolen
The SSA advises against requests to change your Social Security number. However, there are exceptional circumstances in which you can get a new Social Security number.
You may be assigned a new SSN if:
- Your SSN was issued to someone else.
- Your current SSN is being used by someone to stalk, harass, or endanger your life.
- Your family members received sequential SSN numbers, which is causing confusion.
- Youâre a victim of identity theft and suffering ongoing harm â such as loan denial, refusal of medical care, and lower credit rating. Youâll need to first prove that youâve exhausted other options to solve the problem.
ð¡ Read more: Can You Change Your Social Security Number â
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Take Action If You Are A Victim
There are steps you can take if your Social Security number or other personal information is compromised.
If your Social Security number is compromised and you know or suspect you are a victim of tax-related identity theft, the IRS recommends these actions:
- Respond immediately to any IRS notice: Call the number provided.
- If your e-filed return is rejected because of a duplicate filing under your Social Security number, or if the IRS instructs you to do so, complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft AffidavitPDF. Use a fillable form at IRS.gov, print, then attach the form to your return and mail your return according to instructions.
- Visit IdentityTheft.gov for steps you should take right away to protect yourself and your financial accounts.
See Identity Theft Victim Assistance: How It Works for more information about how the IRS can help you.
If you previously contacted the IRS and did not have a resolution, contact us for specialized assistance at . We have teams standing by to help you.
If you believe someone has filed a fraudulent return in your name, you can get a copy of the return. See Instructions for Requesting a Copy of Fraudulent Returns.
Not all data breaches or computer hacks result in tax-related identity theft. Its important to know what type of personal information was stolen.
You can report other suspicious online or emailing phishing scams to .
Enacting A Credit Freeze
A prevents any new credit from being opened in your name without your approval. You can add these freezes online by visiting each of the three major credit bureaus’ credit freeze pages. Unlike a fraud alert, you must freeze each credit bureau individually.
Keep in mind that a credit freeze can make it challenging to get new credit legitimately, but the security could be well worth the inconvenience.
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Who Is Eligible To Apply For A Social Security Number
- F-1 students with a on-campus job offer letter or who are receiving graduate support or funding from Michigan Tech
- F-1 students with an off-campus job offer letter and CPT or OPT work authorization by IPS or their I-20 sponsor
- J-1 students with a job offer and work permission from their DS-2019 sponsor
- J-1 visiting scholars with financial support from Michigan Tech
- J-2 dependents with an Employment Authorization Document issued by USCIS.
More Ways To Protect Your Social Security Number
Going forward, the name of the game will be monitoring and ongoing protection. For instance, to see if your Social Security number is being used by someone else for employment purposes, review your Social Security Statement to look for suspicious activity.
Get in the habit of regularly checking your bank and credit card accounts online for suspicious activity. You should also monitor your credit report, driving records and insurance records.
Here are a few ways you can continue to protect your Social Security number:
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Tip : Keep Your Social Security Card And Number In A Safe Place
Anything as important as your Social Security card deserves a home. This could be a lock box or a file folder kept in a secure place. And dont forget, your SSN may appear on important documents. They require a safe place, too.
Dont make the mistake of carrying your Social Security card in your wallet or purse. If you lose these items, or if theyre stolen, youve put your SSN at risk. A thief might consider it quite a bonus to get your Social Security number when they snatch your wallet or purse.