File An Identity Theft Report
A stolen valid SSN carrying the bearers name and address is valued at a high price and most likely sold to undocumented workers or people trying to hide their identities, Clark said. Ensuring there is a police record affirming you are not in use of your SSN at the time of a crime involving your identity will help clear your records and your name. This is also a prerequisite to applying for a new SSN.
How To Unfreeze Your Credit
Go to the credit bureau website and use the account you used to freeze your credit to unfreeze your credit. You may also be able to unfreeze your credit by phone or postal mail if you can provide certain verifying information. Unless you use postal mail, unfreezing typically takes effect within minutes of requesting it.
When you are applying for credit, you can ask the creditor which credit bureau it will use to check your credit and unfreeze only that one. Or, if youre shopping for a loan and may make several applications in a short period, you may choose to lift the freeze at all three major credit bureaus.
You can choose to unfreeze for a specified time period, after which the freeze automatically resumes.
What To Do When Your Social Security Number Gets Stolen
It happens all the time to even the most careful Americans, and yet so many of us dont know what to do should it happen to us. Were talking about having your Social Security number stolen. Identity thieves snatch these precious digits through a variety of ways, including by hacking us online or scamming us by posing as a legit agency such as the IRS or Social Security Administration.
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Once they obtain this most sensitive information, criminals can sell it on the dark web or use it to open a new credit card among other benefits. Though this happens often , dealing with it is a headache. Its important to stay calm and go about the situation promptly and with diligence.
To clarify and streamline the process of what to do if your Social Security number is stolen, GOBankingRates consulted with personal finance experts.
Heres what we learned you should do.
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Check Your Banking Relationships
You will also want to check your major banking relationships because a stolen SSN could be just the beginning of a larger identity theft scheme aimed at your financial accounts, Pierson said. At a minimum, be sure to change your password and access to each of your bank accounts. Make sure your financial accounts also have dual-factor authentication turned on so that no one else can gain access to the account.
Allow Automatic Software Updates
63% of the top 1,000 apps are updated monthly on Google Play Store alone. Having the latest versions of your software will strengthen your protection against fraud.
These software updates donât just enhance user experience but also install critical security fixes. Installing these updates on time is one of the simplest ways to protect your devices from hacks and scams.
Hereâs how to install automatic software updates via the official app store:
- On an Android device: Open the Google Play Store app, and tap Menu> Settings> Auto-update apps.
- On an iOS device: Open Settings > App Store and turn on App Updates.
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What Does Freezing Your Ssn Mean
For most people, freezing their social security number means stopping inquiries on credit reports. Inquiries are the way banks and others evaluate people before loaning money. No one can access your credit if your social security number is frozen. To freeze your social security number in this way, contact the major credit reporting agencies to freeze your account. Each agency must allow individuals to freeze and unfreeze their credit as the individual sees fit, according to law.
How To Lock Your Social Security Number
Social Security numbers are unique nine-digit numbers issued by the Social Security Administration. They are used to track individuals for purposes of Social Security benefits and taxation. In recent years, they have also become a common target for identity thieves.
To protect your Social Security number from being used by identity thieves, you can lock it. This means that only authorized persons will be able to access your number. To lock your number, you will need to contact the Social Security Administration and request a PIN. Once you have your PIN, you can then activate it online or by calling the SSAs customer service number.
Once your Social Security number is locked, it cannot be used by anyone without your permission. This includes businesses, government agencies, and even credit reporting agencies. If you need to give your Social Security number to any of these entities, you will need to provide them with your PIN in order to unlock it.
Locking your Social Security number is a good way to prevent identity theft. However, it is important to remember that nothing is 100% secure. There is always a chance that someone could obtain your PIN and use it to access your number. Therefore, it is important to keep your PIN safe and secure.
Sample Letter For Disputing Billing Errors
Send the letter Certified with a Return Receipt Requested
Attention: Disputes and Billing Inquiries
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am writing to dispute a billing error in the amount of on my account. The amount is inaccurate because . I am requesting that the error be corrected, that any finance and other charges related to the disputed amount be credited as well, and that I receive an accurate statement.
Enclosed are copies of supporting my position. Please investigate this matter and correct the billing error as soon as possible.
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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Report Identity Theft To Other Organizations
You can also report the theft to other organizations, such as:
Credit Reporting Agencies – Contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies to place a fraud alert or freeze on your credit report. Also get copies of your credit reports, to be sure that no one has already tried to get unauthorized credit accounts with your personal information. Confirm that the credit reporting agency will alert the other two credit reporting agencies.
National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center – Report cases of identity theft due to a stay in a nursing home or long-term care facility.
Financial Institutions – Contact the fraud department at your bank, credit card issuers and any other places where you have accounts.
Retailers and Other Companies – Report the crime to companies where the identity thief opened credit accounts or even applied for jobs.
State Attorney General Offices – Check with your state’s attorney general office for tips, checklists, or an advocate to help you recover from identity theft.
You may need to get new personal records or identification cards if you’re the victim of ID theft. Learn how to replace your vital identification documents after identity theft.
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.
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Visit Identitytheftgov To Get A Recovery Plan
You can visit IdentityTheft.gov to report identity theft and, more importantly, set up a recovery plan, or you can call 877-438-4338 to do so. Both will guide you through a process that includes:
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.
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What Are The First Signs Of Identity Theft
9 Identity Theft WarningSigns Unexpected withdrawals or expenses. Medical bills for practitioners youve never seen. You didnt apply for any new credit cards. Your credit report contains errors. collection calls or notifications for unidentified debt. Your credit card or credit application has been rejected. absence of mail or email.
Consider A Security Freeze
A security freeze on your credit report prevents third parties from receiving a copy of your credit report without your approval. The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows you to place a security freeze on your credit report free of charge. You will need to request the security freeze with each of the three credit bureaus online, by phone or by mail. You will not be able to open new lines of credit if a security freeze is in place. A security freeze can be temporarily lifted for a period of time or removed. To request a temporary lift or to remove a security freeze, you will have to contact each of the three credit bureaus. If you request a temporary lift online or by phone, a credit bureau must lift a freeze within one hour. By mail it may take up to three business days after receiving your request. This is the most secure way to protect your credit. NOTE: After receiving your freeze request, each bureau will provide a unique personal identification number or password that you will need to lift the freeze by phone or mail. Keep this PIN in a safe place. Visit IdentityTheft.gov for a complete list of steps to take when identity theft occurs.
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What Could They Do With My Social Security Number
An identity thief who has your social security number and other personal information could do a number of things with it, including:
Open new credit accounts, like credit cards or car loans, in your name
Claim tax refunds that rightfully belong to you
Create a fake identity to get a job, apartment, or other services
Claim fraudulent unemployment benefits in your name
Get benefits like healthcare while pretending to be you
Create a fake identity to defraud other people or commit other crimes in your name
S To Take If You Think Youve Been Scammed
The Social Security Administration publishes a useful booklet called “Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number.” In addition to basic protection tips, it provides information about what you should do if you believe your identity and SSN have been stolen or compromised.
The Social Security Administration closed all of its offices for in-person services in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its online services, however, remain available.
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Can I Get A New Social Security Number
Yes, you can but it’s a fairly involved process and requires you to apply in person at a Social Security office and provide a valid reason for changing your Social Security number. Being a victim of identity theft is considered a valid reason, but only if you’re having persistent and ongoing problems as a result of the theft and you will have to provide documentation to support your claim. You’ll also be asked to provide documents proving your age and citizenship status .
If you get a new number, the old number isn’t deleted. The new number is connected to the old number and as a result this will often turn up on background checks, which may prompt additional questions.
If you’re issued a new number, you’ll want to be sure and update your employer to make sure they are correctly reporting your earnings under the new SSN.
Identity Theft And What To Do
Identity theft occurs when someone uses another person’s personal information such as name, Social Security number, driver’s license number, credit card number, or other identifying information to take on that person’s identity in order to commit fraud or other crimes.
The following tips can help lower your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft.
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How To Know If Someone Is Using Your Childs Personal Information
In addition to taking steps to safeguard your childs personal information, keep an eye out for warning signs that someone is using your childs personal information. Here are a few:
- Youre denied government benefits because someone is already using your childs Social Security number to get those benefits.
- Someone calls you and says your child has an overdue bill, but its not an account you opened for the child.
- You get a letter from the IRS that says your child didnt pay income taxes. This could happen if someone used your childs Social Security number on tax forms for a new job.
- Youre denied a student loan because your child has bad credit. This could happen if someone used your childs Social Security number to get a credit card, open a cell phone account, or set up a utility service and has not paid the bills on time or at all.
Signs of Child Identity Theft
- Turned down for government benefits
- Letter from the IRS about taxes your child owes
- Childs student loan application is denied
When Is It Safe To Share Your Social Security Number
While identity theft is always a concern, there are legitimate reasons to give out your Social Security number. Here’s what privacy experts say.
Dan is a writer on CNET’s How-To team. His byline has appeared in Newsweek, NBC News, The New York Times, Architectural Digest, The Daily Mail and elsewhere. He is a crossword junkie and is interested in the intersection of tech and marginalized communities.
Social Security numbers are practically universal identifiers in the US, but they weren’t always intended to be that way. The system was created in the 1930s to administer government retirement and disability benefits. Over the decades, though, the nine-digit codes have become essential when it comes to applying for a credit card, buying a home and even getting paid by your employer.
Because nearly every US citizen and permanent resident has a Social Security number, they’re also the go-to authentication method for cell-service operators, utility companies and other businesses. That makes them a prime target for identity theft. An Equifax data breach in 2017 may have exposed the Social Security numbers of nearly half of all Americans.
How do you know when you should — and shouldn’t — share your Social? We consulted the experts. For more on Social Security, here’s how to order a new Social Security card and how to access your Social Security benefits online.
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Leave Your Card At Home
Dont carry your Social Security card around with you in your wallet or purse. Dont enter your SSN into your phone, laptop, or other devices. It would be rare for you to need your card. Typically, reciting the number is all thats required. Keep the number in your head and the card locked up at home.
How To Freeze Your Social Security Number
You may ask for the electronic access to be blocked if you are aware that your Social Security number has been hacked. To accomplish this, dial our National 800 number .
Similarly, Can I freeze my SSN online?
Visit the myE-Verify website of the U.S. government and follow the on-screen instructions to lock your Social Security number. The Wealth by Empowerment creator and CFP Katie Gampietro Burke explains that you must submit your personal information, complete a questionnaire, enter document data, and then see your findings.
Also, it is asked, What happens when you lock your Social Security number?
When your Social Security number is locked, nobody can use it. No one is allowed to submit a job application in your name or file taxes on income you never received. Your Social Security number cannot be used by anybody to create new accounts or apply for credit in your name.
Secondly, How do I check to see if someone is using my Social Security number?
Contact the IRS online or by phone at 1-800-908-4490 if you think someone is abusing the tax system by using your Social Security number to work, claim a refund, or engage in other tax-related misconduct. The three main credit agencies allow you to get free credit reports once a year
Also, Is a security freeze free?
People also ask, How can I find out if someone is using my identity?
Related Questions and Answers
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