How To Protect Your Sin
To protect your SIN:
- do not carry your SIN in a wallet or pursestore it in a safe place
- never use your SIN as a piece of identification
- only provide your SIN when you know it is legally required
- give your SIN by phone ONLY if you made the call and know that it is legally required
- do not reply to emails that ask for personal information, such as your SIN
- shred paper records that contain your SIN once you no longer need themdo not recycle them
- update the SIN Program with changes to your name or citizenship status, or to indicate if your SIN record is wrong or incomplete
- take action right away to protect your SIN if you suspect someone is using it fraudulently
Tip : Leave Home Without It
There may be times when you need to show your card to someone. But, in general, its a good idea to avoid carrying your card or any documents that display your SSN. Its possible you might lose your wallet or leave your documents behind.
Not all thieves will want your Social Security number, but many will. Leaving your card at home decreases the chances that these scammers will gain access to your Social Security number.
Obtain Medical Care And Use Up Your Health Benefits
Criminals who have your SSN can even obtain medical care under your name or steal your health benefits. Even worse, the scammerâs medical information gets mixed up with your actual information â which could cause you to receive inadequate health care and lead to potentially dangerous medical situations.
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Tip : Beware Of Phone And Email Scams
Identity thieves may try to trick you into revealing your SSN. For instance, in a phone or email, they might pose as your employer or a government office requesting information. Avoid sharing your number unless youre positive its a legitimate request.
Better yet, consider calling the requesting organization at a verifiable telephone number to provide the information. Or visit in person.
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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Request A Credit Freeze Or Fraud Alert
A restricts access to your credit report and helps prevent fraudsters from opening new accounts, renting apartments or applying for loans in your name. Freezing your credit will not affect your credit score, and you can unfreeze and refreeze your credit report at any time.
You’ll need to freeze and unfreeze your credit with all three credit bureaus separately .
If you think your SSN may have been stolen but don’t have any evidence of fraud occurring, you could place a fraud alert on your credit report instead of a credit freeze. Rather than restricting access to your credit report, a fraud alert asks businesses checking your credit to verify your identity before offering credit in your name.
Placing a fraud alert with one credit bureau extends the alert to all three. It has no effect on your credit score.
Introduction: Why You Should Lock Your Social Security Number
Your social security number is one of the most important pieces of your personal information. Its used to track your employment history, tax information, and retirement benefits. Its also a key piece of identification that can be used to open new lines of credit or obtain other financial services.
Unfortunately, your social security number can also be used to commit identity theft. If your social security number falls into the wrong hands, it can be used to open new accounts in your name and rack up debt. In some cases, identity thieves have even been able to use stolen social security numbers to file for tax refunds in their victims name.
The best way to protect your social security number from identity theft is to lock it. This means that you restrict access to your social security number so that only authorized individuals can view it. In most cases, youll need to provide a fingerprint or other form of identification before youll be able to unlock your social security number.
There are a few different ways that you can lock your social security number. The most common option is to enroll in a credit monitoring service, which will allow you to place a lock on your credit report. This will prevent anyone from viewing your social security number without your permission.
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How Can I Check To See If Someone Is Using My Ssn
If you discover your Social Security card is missing or stolen, there are quite a few ways to monitor your SSN for suspicious activity. Here are 11 tactics to determine if someone is fraudulently using your SSN.
You notice early signs of identity theft
There are several tell-tale signs of identity theft, namely new credit or lender inquiries on your credit report. In 2021 alone, the FTC reported 363,092 cases of cybercriminals and scammers fraudulently opening new credit cards â which alerted consumers that their identities were stolen.
Unfamiliar charges on your credit card or bank statement
New credit cards or loan amounts arenât the only signs of identity theft. There were 32,204 reports of on existing accounts in 2021 alone. Unfamiliar charges on your credit card or bank statement are clear indicators that you are a victim of a bank scam.
A drastic change in your credit score
Your credit score is a reflection of your current credit lines, payment history, and incoming credit inquiries. If your credit score plummets 20 points or more, immediately review your credit report and Social Security Statement to check for fraudulent activity.
With your financial information at their disposal, itâs very common for identity thieves to rack up an impressive amount of debt. When debt collectors that you donât recognize begin to call you or send letters to your home, itâs important to review your current credit report.
Unfamiliar medical bills
Learn More About Credit Freezes And Fraud Alerts
- A fraud alert flags your credit report and encourages lenders to verify your identity before issuing new lines of credit in your name.
- A credit freeze blocks your credit file so that lenders canât even access your credit report. Credit freezes also block new credit applications until you âthawâ the freeze with each of the three major credit bureaus.
Understanding the differences between a can help you take swift action if you think youâre a victim of identity theft.
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Monitor Your Bank And Credit Card Accounts
Keep close tabs on your bank and credit card balances. This is one way to make sure your SSN and identity have not been compromised. Many banks let you sign up for account alerts. They will send you text messages or call you if transactions exceed a certain amount or if someone tries to use your SSN to access your account.
Check your on a regular basis at AnnualCreditReport.com. You can usually only do this once a year for free, but due to COVID-19, you are allowed to get free weekly credit reports through April 20, 2022. If the Social Security Administration is still sending you an annual statement detailing your earnings, and it looks out of whack, someone might be using your number for employment purposes. You can register to get statements at the SSA website.
The three credit reporting bureaus are offering free weekly credit reports via AnnualCreditReport.com through April 20, 2022, due to the hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Freeze Your Credit As Soon As Possible
A stops creditors, credit card companies, and potential lenders from extending new credit or loans in your name. This is one of the best ways you can shut scammers out of your credit.
To freeze your credit, youâll need to contact each credit bureau individually â Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion â and request a freeze. Youâll be asked to provide personal information, and will then be given a unique PIN that you can use to âthawâ and refreeze your credit file.
Another option is to use a credit lock. A credit lock prevents anyone from accessing your credit file. Locks are usually offered as special features by the credit bureaus â however, you can automatically lock and unlock your credit file with a single tap using Aura.
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Consider Locking Your Social Security Number For Employer Searches
Many employers use E-Verify, a service run by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, to confirm the employment eligibility of potential hires. If youre not looking for a job, . Anyone using your SSN to apply for a job with an E-Verify employer will come up as a mismatch, and alert you and the employer of attempted fraud. You can unlock it any time a third party needs to verify your eligibility.
How Lifelock Id Theft Protection Works
It only takes a few minutes to enroll.
We look for threats to your identity.
We alert you of potential threats by text, email, phone or mobile app.
If you become a victim of identity theft, a U.S.-based Identity Restoration Specialist will work to fix it.
We’ll reimburse funds stolen due to identity theft up to the limit of your plan.
Screen may be modified for demonstration purposes and subject to change.
Up to $1 million for coverage for lawyers and experts, collectively, if needed, for all plans. Reimbursement and Expense Compensation, each with limits of up to $1 million for Ultimate Plus, up to $100,000 for Advantage and up to $25,000 for Standard. Benefits under the Master Policy are issued and covered by third party insurance companies.
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Theres A Victim Of Identity Theft Every 3 Seconds
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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.
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No one can prevent all cybercrime or prevent all identity theft.
Keep An Eye On Your Accounts And Credit Score
If your SSN has fallen into the wrong hands, its quite likely that there will be some unusual and unlawful activity with your bank accounts. Measures might be in place by default, but check with your banks that any strange use of your accounts withdrawals or purchases over a specific amount, for example will be flagged for usual activity.You should keep a watchful eye out for changes in your credit score, too. You can do this by checking your credit report. Youre entitled to a credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, free of charge. Click here to learn more.
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Tip : Monitor Your Accounts And Be Aware Of New Accounts Being Pened
If someone obtains your SSN, you may find evidence of unlawful use in your bank, credit, or other accounts. Consider setting up alerts with your financial institutions to flag unusual activity, such as withdrawals or purchases over a certain amount. Watch for changes in your credit score. And check your credit reports. Youre entitled to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Go to AnnualCreditReport.com.
Tips For Recognizing Identity Theft
Below are some tips for recognizing when you have possibly been a victim of identity theft:
- If you did not receive an expected bill or statement by mail – or you receive a bill for something you didn’t order.
- If unexpected charges occurr on your account credit cards.
- If there are charges on your account from unrecognized vendors.
- If posted checks appear on your Bank account significantly out of sequence.
- If you receive credit cards that you didn’t apply for, in your name or someone else’s!
- If you are denied credit or are offered less than favorable credit terms for no reason.
- If you get calls from creditors or debt collectors regarding merchandise or services that you did not buy.
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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:
Switch To A Secure Password Manager
Strong passwords will make it more difficult for hackers to access your information. Think of passwords as the gatekeepers to your online private data.
Elements of a strong password include:
- Is at least eight characters long
- Comprises three or four unrelated words
- Contains numbers and special characters
- Is not used across multiple accounts
But managing all your passwords can be tedious. About 68% of Americans use the same password across accounts. The solution? Use a password manager app, which creates and stores all your unique passwords.
Auraâs password manager is a Google Chrome extension that lets you save, access, and sync your passwords across devices.
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Protect Documents With Personal Information
If you have documents with your childs personal information, like medical bills or their Social Security card, keep them in a safe place, like a locked file cabinet.
When you decide to get rid of those documents, shred them before you throw them away. If you dont have a shredder, look for a local shred day.
Discrepancies On Your Social Security Statement
Someone who steals your SSN may also use it to get a job or pass a background check. All subsequent earnings will show up in your Social Security statement.
The SSA recommends checking your statement for errors at least once a year so that retirement benefits are paid accurately in the future.
What to do:
- Access your statement online via my Social Security. If you notice anything erroneous, report it immediately by calling 1-800-772-1213.
- Go to identitytheft.gov, and follow the instructions to file your report with the Federal Trade Commission .
- Also consider filing a police report with local law enforcement.
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How Locking Your Social Security Number Works
Locking your Social Security number is a simple process of accessing the governments myE-Verify website. The site walks you through the necessary steps:
The lock lasts for a year unless you take steps to reverse it, and youll be notified in advance when the lock is about to expire so you can renew it if you want to.
Do I Need A Physical Social Security Replacement Card
A Social Security number is what helps you get jobs and collect Social Security benefits and other government services. An SSN is essential the physical card is less so. In most cases, according to the U.S. Social Security Administration , knowing your SSN is sufficient. For example, if you want to get a Real ID to fly domestically or access certain federal facilities, an SS card isnt necessary. Rather, you could use a recent pay stub, a W-2, an SSA-1099 , or other tax documents that show your full name. Even just knowing your SSN can serve as proof, believe it or not.
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How To Get An Ip Pin
The fastest way to receive an IP PIN is by using the online Get an IP PIN tool. If you wish to get an IP PIN and you dont already have an account on IRS.gov, you must register to validate your identity. The IP PIN tool is generally available starting in mid-January through mid-November. Select the button to get started