What If My Social Security Card Was Stolen
If you’re replacing your Social Security card because it’s been stolen, there are several precautions you should take immediately to reduce your risk of identity theft. Your Social Security number is a very important piece of personally identifiable information that can be used to open new credit accounts in your name, among other things, if it falls into the wrong hands.
What Are The Dangers Of Losing My Social Security Card
Scammers can use your SSN to apply for credit cards or loans in your name, or commit account takeover fraud and steal or access additional personal information. One of the fastest-growing COVID-19-related identity theft crimes is tax fraud and identity theft, whereby thieves file a phony tax return in your name, hoping to snag a refund before you catch on. If your Social Security card is stolen, be sure to report the loss to the Internal Revenue Service. Another recent COVID-19 scam that cruelly exploits job losses involves filing phony unemployment claims using your SSN, birth date, name, or address.
Even if your Social Security card is not stolen or lost, you need to remain vigilant for scammers who call you claiming theres a problem with your SSN or account and try to get you to divulge personal information. If theres a legitimate problem with your number or account, the Social Security Administration will mail you a letter with your Social Security number. To learn how to respond to unsolicited robocalls or calls using caller ID spoofing, visit this SSA webpage.
If You Do Not Have One Of These Specific Documents Or You Cannot Get A Replacement For One Of Them Within 10 Days They Will Ask To See Other Documents
Since you must provide original documentation you may not want to mail the application in. One alternative is to get copies certified by the issuing agencynot photocopies or notarized copies. If you are filing an application on behalf of someone else, you must produce evidence of your relationship to, or responsibility for, that person. You must also show proof of your identity.
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I Lost My Social Security Card How To Report A Stolen Social Security Card
Whether youve lost it and suspect that it may be stolen or know that it has been stolen, reporting the theft of your social security card is important. Do this before researching how to get a new social security card.
Contact the Social Security Office directly to report the lost card. You can do so by making an appointment at your local Social Security Office or calling 800-772-1213. If you believe someone is already using your identity, contact the Social Security Fraud Hotline at 800-269-0271. After you contact the office, youll be ready to learn how to get a new social security card.
Ask Questions When They Ask For Your Social Security Number
There is no law that prevents businesses from asking for your SSN. And you may be denied service if you don’t give the number. If giving your SSN to a business doesn’t seem reasonable to you, ask if you can show another form of identification. Or ask if the business can use another number as your customer number.
Remember that some government agencies can require your SSN. These agencies include DMV, welfare offices, and tax agencies. Look for the required “disclosure” form. The form should state if giving the number is required or optional, how it will be used, and the agency’s legal authority to ask for it.1
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What Is A Social Security Card
Your Social Security card is an important piece of identification. You’ll need one to get a job, collect Social Security, or receive other government benefits.
When you apply for a Social Security number , the Social Security Administration will assign you a nine-digit number. This is the same number that is printed on the Social Security card that SSA will issue you. If you change your name, you will need to get a corrected card.
What To Do If Your Social Security Card Is Lost Or Stolen
You need to act fast if you believe your Social Security Card has been lost or stolen. Here’s what to do.
If you’ve lost your Social Security card, or you believe someone has stolen your card, take immediate action. Your Social Security Number is the most important and valuable form of government identification you have. A thief can use it to do anything you could do with it, including purchasing property or opening new financial accounts.
Your Social Security Number could be sold to people staying in the U.S. illegally, or even used to commit crimes under your alias. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to invest in the best identity theft protection services , which can alert you to fraud and help you to reclaim losses from identity theft if your Social Security Card gets into the wrong hands.
Unlike with a lost or stolen credit card or debit card, you cannot close your account when your Social Security Card goes missing, so you need to take this series of steps as soon as you can.
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How To Receive Federal Benefits
To begin receiving your federal benefits, like Social Security or veterans benefits, you must sign up for electronic payments with direct deposit.
If You Have a Bank or Credit Union Account:
- Call the Go Direct Helpline at .
If You Don’t have a Bank or Credit Union Account:
- Direct Express debit card – a pre-paid debit card. Get help by calling the Go Direct Helpline at .
Make Changes to an Existing Direct Deposit Account:
On Go Direct’s FAQ page, learn how to make changes to an existing direct deposit account. You also may contact the federal agency that pays your benefit for help with your enrollment.
How To Stop Social Security Check Payments
The SSA can not pay benefits for the month of a recipients death. That means if the person died in July, the check received in August must be returned. Find out how to return a check to the SSA.
If the payment is by direct deposit, notify the financial institution as soon as possible so it can return any payments received after death. For more about the requirement to return benefits for the month of a beneficiarys death, see the top of page 11 of this SSA publication.
Family members may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits when a person getting benefits dies. Visit the SSA’s Survivors Benefits page to learn more.
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How To Replace A Social Security Card
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If your Social Security card is lost or stolen, you can replace it for free through the Social Security Administration website, by visiting a local SSA office or through the mail. If you don’t need a card right away and you know your number, you may not want to go to the trouble, because you are not required to have an actual Social Security card.
You are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime, but there are some exceptions. For example, if you have a legal name change, this does not count toward the limit neither do changes in immigration status that require card updates.
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How To Get A Social Security Card
Contact Companies Where Your Social Security Number Has Been Used Fraudulently
In the case that your information was used to create fraudulent accounts, you’ll want to contact each company involved. For example, if your SSN was used to create bank accounts or credit accounts in your name, reach out to each company and explain that you’re a victim of identity theft. They can then close your accounts so the identity thief can’t use the accounts any longer.
If someone used your information to create fraudulent identification records, you’ll need to contact all agencies involved, possibly including the IRS, Social Security Administration and your secretary of state’s office, which handles cases of fraudulent identification.
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Wills Or Other Estate Planning Documents
In Texas, if you have lost your original will, you should execute a new will. This is true even if you have a copy of the original will, because Texas law imposes many burdens on those trying to probate a lost original will. If there are no originals or copies, then a new will must be executed. As a practical matter, even if you have your original will, it may be necessary to draft a new will due to the dramatic change in property value/ownership due to a disaster. Certain gifts in the will may fail if property has been destroyed, or the prior will also may not adequately deal with insurance proceeds as a replacement for specific gifts.
If you do not have the original will for a recently deceased person but do have a copy, the copy can be submitted to probate. To probate a lost will, three things must be proved: due execution , reason why the original will cannot be produced , and the contents of the will, either with a copy or by a witness who is familiar with the contents. Under Texas law, if a person dies and their will cannot be proved, the person is considered to have died intestate and their estate will be distributed according to state law.
You may want to consider taking your will to your local county clerks records office. The office will keep the original will for safekeeping but will not make it public unless a formal probate action is filed.
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Can You Get A New Social Security Number
Typically, Social Security numbers are assigned for life. In some cases, however, the Social Security Administration might issue new numbers to persons who can prove they have a compelling and immediate need for one.The SSA may assign a new Social Security number if the applicant is being harassed, abused, or placed in grave danger when using their original Social Security number, or if they can prove that someone has stolen their number and is using it fraudulently. In general, the applicant must provide evidence that their original number is being misused, and that the misuse is causing them significant continuing harm.
According to the SSA, different Social Security numbers will be assigned only if:
- Sequential numbers assigned to members of the same family are causing problems
- More than one person has been assigned or is using the same number
- A victim of identity theft continues to be disadvantaged by using the original number
- There is a situation of harassment, abuse or life endangerment or
- An individual has religious or cultural objections to certain numbers or digits in the original number.
When the SAA assigns a person a different Social Security number, the original number is not destroyed. Instead, the agency cross-references the new number with the original number to make sure the person receives credit for all earnings under both numbers.
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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.
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.
How To Apply For A Replacement Social Security Card
While you dont need to have your Social Security card on you all the time, there are occasions where having your physical card is imperative. So, if you have lost your card, then youll need to get a replacement from the Social Security office. Thankfully, the process of getting a replacement SS card is not extremely difficult. Youll just need to provide the proper documentation and your new card will be mailed to you.
Once you have created your mySocialSecurity account, you can request a replacement card online in most states. As long as you have a United States mailing address and are making no other changes , then you will simply need to upload a copy of your valid drivers license or state-issued identification card to make the request. The site will guide you through the process, and you should have your new card in under 30 days.
If you live in a state that does not qualify for online requests, then youll need to either mail in the application for a new card with your documentation or visit your local Social Security office. You will need one document that proves your identity. There are a few you can choose from, and they are as follows:
- U.S. Birth Certificate
- U.S. hospital record of birth
- Religious document showing date of birth
- Final adoption decree
Report The Identity Theft To The Ftc And Police
Your first action should be to report the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission and file a police report. When you visit the Social Security Administration’s website, you’ll be directed to the FTC website, IdentityTheft.gov, where you can report one or more of the following types of fraud related to your SSN:
- Someone filed a tax return in your name
- Someone filed for unemployment or government benefits in your name
- Someone gained access to your information
- Your information was exposed in a data breach
Next, you’ll get information on next steps to take, which may include completing more forms and getting a recovery plan. For tax-related identity theft, which usually involves your SSN, you may be required to complete an identity theft affidavit, or Form 14039.
After reporting the theft to the FTC, file a police report with your local jurisdiction. While your city or county may not be able to investigate this crime right away , having a police report can serve as documentation in your identity recovery and resolution endeavors.
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