What Should I Do If I Get One Of These Phone Calls
If you receive one of these phone calls, you should hang up immediately. The best way to prevent giving these scammers your personal information is by getting off the phone with them. After you hang up, you can report the call to the Office of the Inspector General so that they can investigate the call. Providing thorough details to that office will increase the likelihood that they can identify the callers and put a stop to those calls. Whatever you do, do not remain on the line with the impostor and provide any personal information. This could cause you to quickly become the victim of identity theft. You should also keep an eye on your credit report to make sure that no one is using your Social Security number.
How To Get Free Security Freezes Online
To establish your security freezes, you will need to contact each of the three credit bureaus online:
Be prepared to provide detailed information about yourself, including:
- Your Date of Birth
- Your Social Security Number
You can establish and manage a security freeze by mail or phone, as well as online.
Do Not Carry Your Social Security Card
If you are wondering how to protect your Social Security card, the answer is simple. Simply do not carry it. This increases the chances that you will lose it or leave it behind. This also increases the odds that a thief might obtain your card, thus obtaining your SSN. You should always keep your card in a safe place at home and only carry it along when absolutely necessary. This might be your first day on a new job or when you need to open a new account at the bank. On an average day, however, your card should be tucked away in its safe place so that it does not get lost.
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Can You Freeze Your Social Security Number
High on the list of recommendations to protect your identity is a credit freeze or security freeze. Other ways to specifically restrict access to your SSN include blocking electronic access and using E-Verifyâs self-lock feature.
Setting these up are three entirely different processes. , for example, require you to contact each individual credit reporting agency . To block electronic access to your SSN, you have to call your local Social Security office or 1-800-772-1213.
Finally, you can turn on the SSN Self Lock online via the Department of Homeland Securityâs âmyE-Verifyâ website.
While thereâs no one way to freeze your SSN, itâs easy to see why you could confuse the three available options.
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. Hereâs what privacy experts say.
Dan is a writer on CNETâs 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 werenât 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, theyâre 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.
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Keep Your Financial Records Safe
- Digital safety: Never give out your account login information when receiving communications from what seems to be your bank. A financial institution will never contact you first and ask for your PIN, full passwords, or security numbers.
- Physical safety: Destroy or shred any documents that include your name, address, or financial details before you throw them away. Securely store any financial documents in a locked compartment in your home.
ð Related: How To Protect Your Bank Account From Identity Theft â
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
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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.
Reporting Caregivers Pay To The Irs
Dear Liz: We have a gardener, pool man and caregivers. We pay the gardener, pool man and some of the caregivers directly, while we pay an agency for the other caregivers. Do we have an obligation to report payments to the IRS?
Answer: As an individual taxpayer, you typically dont have to report payments to businesses. Your gardener and pool cleaner probably either are self-employed or work for a company that takes care of reporting requirements for its workers. Likewise, the caregiving agency should handle reporting requirements for its employees.
The caregivers you pay directly, however, are generally considered your household employees. That means you may be responsible for reporting their wages to the IRS and paying their employment taxes. That responsibility kicks in if a caregiver receives at least $1,000 in any calendar quarter or at least $2,400 per calendar year for 2022 , says principal analyst for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting. IRS Publication 926, Household Employers Tax Guide, has details.
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Do You Have A Security Freeze Or Fraud Alert On Your Credit Report
If you have a security freeze, fraud alert, or both on your credit report, you can still open a personal mySocial Security account by temporarily lifting it. To do this, you must:
If you dont want to temporarily lift your security freeze or fraud alert, you can contact your local Social Security office for assistance. For more information on security freezes and fraud alerts, read the Federal Trade Commissions .
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.
Have More Questions Contact Social Security
- If you have more questions about your Social Security number and identity fraud, visit the official SSA website at www.ssa.gov/fraud/.
- You may also reach the SSA at 1-800-722-1213 or at 1-800-325-0778, from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm every weekday.
Protect yourself as best you can by using these preventative measures, and donât hesitate to resist or hang up on someone who insists on obtaining your SSN.
Identity protection is critical with the increasing rise in fraud cases. The real risk of identity theft is incomprehensible to most people â until their information has already been stolen.
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Requesting A Social Security Card For Your Child
Children are prone to losing things and, unfortunately, to identity theft. In fact, our child identity theft research showed that 14 percent of kids have had their identities stolen, which is a concern of over 70 percent of U.S. parents. To get your child a new SS card after it has been lost or stolen, youll need documents proving:
- Your childs identity
- Your childs U.S. citizenship, or immigration status if theyre not a U.S. citizen
- Your custody of or relationship to the child
All of these documents must either be originals or certified copies by the issuing agency. Once youve collected all the necessary documents, complete an SS card application11 and mail it, along with the documents, to your local SSA office or card center.12 Within 10 business days from the date on the receipt, youll receive your childs new SS card.
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Learn And Memorize Your Social Security Number
Though you should always protect your Social Security number, there are certain situations when your number is needed. This could be applying for a new car loan or opening a bank account. Memorizing your SSN will allow you to provide this information without the need to look at your Social Security card. Most of the time when you need your SSN, you simply need to know your number and do not need to present your actual Social Security card. In these cases, having your number memorized reduces the chances that your card gets lost or left behind. This is a great way to help keep your SSN safe.
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Freezing Your Social Security Number
If you suspect your identity has been endangered, you must take action. One of the first things to do is freeze your Social Security number, according to the writers at E-Verify.
First, youll need to create an account on E-Verify, which is managed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Once you do, follow the prompts to freeze your SSN. Then, file a police report. Immediately after freezing, contact the authorities. Having the report filed protects you from further harm and opens an investigation.
Next, youll want to contact the three credit bureaus to report your SSN as stolen. These are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Once you have taken these three crucial steps, monitor activity on all accounts closely and follow up with any investigations. You may also consider hiring a private agency to help undo any damage and restore normal activity. You can keep your SNN frozen, and some people do out of an abundance of caution. Its free to freeze and then unfreeze the number when you want to open a new account.
Self Lock Helps Protect You From Employment
Self Lock is the unique feature that lets you protect your identity in E-Verify and Self Check by placing a “lock” in E-Verify on your Social Security number . This helps prevent anyone else from using your SSN for an E-Verify case. If an employer enters your locked SSN in E-Verify to confirm employment authorization, it will result in an E-Verify Tentative Nonconfirmation . With Self Lock, you are always in control – you can unlock your SSN any time a new employer needs to confirm your employment authorization in E-Verify. Your Self Lock remains active as long as your account remains valid, and you have not unlocked your SSN. The Self Lock feature is only available to myE-Verify account holders.
How Can I Place A Free Credit Freeze Or Unfreeze My Credit
There are several things to know before doing a credit freeze. Experian, TransUnion and Equifax maintain dedicated webpages where you can set up credit freezes, unfreeze your credit, and find instructions for requesting freezes by mail.
To place a credit freeze, you must provide your:
- Address history for the past two years
- Social Security number
When requesting a credit freeze online, you can provide requested items electronically. If you have an Experian account, you can simply log in to manage your Experian credit freeze.
To freeze your Experian credit report by mail, you can write to Experian Security Freeze, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013. Written requests should include the following:
- Your full name including middle initial
- Social Security number
- Complete addresses for the past two years
- One copy of a government issued identification card, such as a driver’s license or state ID card
- One copy of a utility bill, bank or insurance statement or similar
Make sure that each copy is legible and displays your name and current mailing address and the date of issue. Send copies of any documents you wish to provide to us and always retain your original documents.
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Can Someone Access My Bank Account With My Social Security Number
Someone could try to access your bank account using your Social Security number, but it alone wouldnt be enough. Theyd need a lot more personal information than that to get to your finances.
Dont believe me? Try calling your bank and saying youve forgotten your password. Youll be surprised at the range of questions theyll ask you, from What is the second letter of your mothers maiden name? to When and how big was your last deposited check? and Is the number youre calling from your personal one?
Many times, youll be required to physically show up if you want to reset your bank account password. Why?
Anyone can call a bank having stolen someone elses Social Security number, but its not enough to prove your identity. Usually, a bank would not even ask for your SSN if you called them because it is not a good way to verify who you are.
Without additional information, no one could access your bank account with your Social Security number alone. In terms of bank security, you should worry about other things like a poor password, lack of two-factor authentication, and general carelessness when online banking.
Signs That Someone Stole Your Identity
If you’re the victim of a data breach announced by a major company, you should assume that someone compromised your identity. Move quickly to freeze your social security number. At other times, identity theft can be subtle, but indications usually add up. If you see any signs of identity theft, you should take action before someone does any severe damage.
Pay close attention:
- If unfamiliar loan paperwork shows up in your mailbox, it could mean that someone is applying for loans using your name.
- If you don’t receive your tax return, it may mean that someone has already used your social security number to file the return and collect your money.
- If you receive rejection notices for credit cards or loans you didn’t apply for, it may mean someone is tampering with your identity.
- If medical bills are on your account for services you did not receive, it is an indication that someone compromised your identity.
- Someone is likely using your identity if your annual credit report checks show unrecognized activity, such as loans or credit cards.
- If a collection agency contacts you for unpaid debts that you know are not yours, there’s a strong possibility that someone stole your identifying data.
- If you receive a statement about unemployment benefits that you didn’t collect, it could mean someone has filed a claim under your name.
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Protected Consumer Freeze: How To Protect A Minor Or Incapacitated Adult
A Protected Consumer Freeze is a freeze that a parent, guardian or person with a valid power of attorney can place for a minor or incapacitated adult. When a Protected Consumer Freeze is placed, it will remain on a credit file until you request its removal. Aminor can also request its removal themselves once they are 16 years old or older.
To place a Protected Consumer Freeze for a minor or incapacitated adult, mail TransUnion a request with documents proving you have the authority to act on their behalf. A parent or guardian can place a Protected Consumer Freeze for children aged 15 and younger. Learn more about what to provide and where to send everything below.