Check Your Credit Report
Your credit report is a dossier of all your personal information â including your name, SSN, and address â along with your credit account history, recent credit inquiries, and public records.
This information is reported by your lenders and creditors . If your personal information has been stolen, you must check your credit report for recent updates.
What does this mean?
Recent updates to your credit report indicate that some type of financial activity was initiated by you or the individual who stole your SSN.
For instance, your credit history will list each type of account you opened, the date of opening, the total loan amount, the account balance, and payment history. A quick look at your credit history will reveal if any new accounts were fraudulently opened in your name.
Similarly, when you apply for a loan, you authorize the lender to request a copy of your credit report. These requests appear on your credit report as credit inquiries, with the name of the inquirer and the date of the request. Recent inquiries that you have not personally authorized are often evidence of identity theft.
Hereâs how you do it:
Request your free credit report by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228. Once you receive your report, take note of any account or inquiry that you do not recognize.
Make a record of the name and type of business and the date of the inquiry or account opening. These are useful details to add to your FTC and police reports.
If Your Mail Was Stolen Or Your Address Changed By An Identity Thief
Notify the Postal Inspector if you think an identity thief has stolen your mail or filed a change of address request in your name. To find the nearest Postal Inspector, look in the white pages of the telephone book for the Post Office listing under United States Government. Or go to the Postal Inspection Services Web site at .
Review Your Credit Reports Carefully
When you receive your credit reports, read them carefully. Look for accounts you dont recognize. Look in the inquiries section for names of creditors from whom you havent requested credit. You may find some inquiries identified as promotional. These occur when a company has gotten your name and address from a credit bureau to send you an offer of credit. Promotional inquiries are not signs of fraud. Also, as a general precaution, look in the personal information section to verify your Social Security number, address and name.
If you find anything you dont understand, call the credit bureau at the telephone number listed on the report. Tell them you want to block, or remove, any information on the report that is the result of identity theft. For more on what to tell the credit bureaus, see the Privacy Rights Clearinghouses Identity Theft: What to Do When It Happens to You.
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Get A New Drivers License
If your drivers license was in your wallet, youll need to replace it. If you dont, you could face a hefty fine if youre driving and youre stopped by a police officer.
You might have to visit your local DMV to do this. The requirements for a new license vary by state, so make sure to check the website of your local DMV to make sure you have the proof of identity you need. Most states will require you to show proof of your residency, usually in the form of a utility or cable bill or some other paperwork with your name on it your birth certificate and your Social Security number.
Many states limit how many replacement drivers licenses you can order in a year, and others will charge a fee often around $5 to replace a license. However, some states will waive this fee if you can prove that your license was stolen. This, again, is where a copy of a police report is useful.
Place A Fraud Alert On Your Credit Reports
- Trans Union : 680-7289
Request that your credit report be flagged with a fraud alert and add to your report a statement that you are a victim of fraud and that all creditors should contact you at a phone number you provide to verify all future applications. Each of the major credit bureaus may have different procedures, so ask each one how long the fraud alert will remain on your report and the circumstances under which that period may be extended. You should also request a written copy of your report to review and verify that each piece of credit information is valid.
Placing a fraud alert may not necessarily prevent the fraud from resuming. Some creditors may not see these alerts if they do not obtain your full consumer report, but rather rely on a credit score or another automated credit application system.
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How Long Will It Take To Receive A New Social Security Card
The time it takes for the SSA to process consumer requests varies depending on whether the request was for a new Social Security card, a SSN, or if thereâs any additional documentation necessary to verify your legal status.
For a replacement Social Security card:
If your Social Security card was lost or stolen, you can receive a replacement card in the mail within 10 to 14 business days of filing the request with the SSA.
For a new Social Security number:
If youâve applied to change your SSN, you will need to prove your identity to the administration and provide evidence that your identity was stolen.
In particular, you will need to supply evidence that your SSN was used for fraudulent transactions, that you have suffered ongoing financial harm, and that you have exhausted all other means to recover your identity.
The process to provide such information to the SSA can take anywhere from three business days to three weeks depending on the severity of the fraud. Once the process has been approved, you will receive a card with your new SSN within 10 to 14 business days.
For additional information to verify legal status
If you were not assigned an SSN at birth and received one upon immigrating to the United States, the SSA may need to verify your legal status before issuing a replacement card or new SSN. To do so, they will file a request with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services .
If Your Debit Card Or Number Is Stolen
A debit card is an ATM card with a credit card logo on it. It accesses money directly from your bank account, and the legal protections are different from those for credit cards. If your debit card is compromised, call your bank right away and cancel the card. The bank will send you a new debit card and your checking account number will not change. The stolen money, however, will be gone while your bank investigates the matter. If you call the bank within two business days of the fraudulent transaction, your liability is limited to only $50. As time goes by, your liability for fraudulent transactions increases. If you wait more than 60 business days from the date the bank mailed the statement with the fraudulent transaction, you could lose the entire amount of the fraud.
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How Do I Replace My Lost Or Stolen Social Security Card
You can replace your Social Security card online. According to the Social Security Administration, if youre only requesting a replacement card, and no other changes, you can use our free online services from anywhere. All you need to do is log in to or create your personal my Social Security account.
Once you receive your replacement card, dont put it in your purse or wallet. Keep it stored securely in a safety deposit box, or at home.
Here’s What To Do When You Lose Your Wallet
Losing your wallet can be extremely stressful. A stolen wallet is even worse. Whether your wallet has been stolen or misplaced, this guide will explain how to reduce the risk of fraud.
COVID-related fraud has cost American consumers $382 million in losses . Last year alone, 47% of Americans experienced financial identity theft, which often starts with a stolen wallet, stolen smartphone, or lost checkbook.
If your wallet is lost or stolen, you no longer have access to the credit cards, debit cards and ID that you rely on daily.
Repairing this situation can be aggravating. Youâll need to cancel any credit card accounts and debit cards that were left in your lost or stolen wallet.
Youâll also need to call various credit card companies, insurance companies, and credit bureaus to protect yourself against fraud.
While this is a frustrating experience, it’s important to take a deep breath and remain calm. Maintain your composure and stay grounded as you attempt to recover your lost or stolen wallet.
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Avoiding Social Security Fraud: Leave Your Social Security Card At Home
Once you receive your replacement Social Security card, lock it away in a safe place until you absolutely need it. Experts advise to avoid carrying your card around on a regular basis partly because of the risk of losing it again, and partly because you really dont need to present your Social Security card on a regular basis. In fact, one Social Security expert says that Social Security cards are irrelevant in the digital age, and the real priority should be targeted at fraud protection.
Its extremely rare that you need your actual Social Security card, says Steven J.J. Weisman, Esq., an Amherst, Massachusetts-based college professor whose expertise is in investigating white-collar crime. A Social Security number is the most important piece of information that a criminal can use to make you a victim of identity theft so you shouldn’t carry it with you in your wallet, anyway.
But if you do lose your card, Weisman recommends taking direct action to protecting the cardholder from financial fraud.
Because of the danger of identity theft if your Social Security card is lost, you should put a credit freeze on your credit reports at each of the three major credit reporting agencies in order to prevent someone from leveraging the Social Security number into accessing your credit or establishing accounts in your name, he says.
Other data security experts agree, citing the high risk of losing a card if you cart it around in your wallet or pocketbook.
How Do You Know If Youve Been A Victim
You suddenly find charges on your statements that you didnt make. The scammer may be starting with a small purchase to see if any alarm bells go off, so if something doesnt sound right, don’t wait for the chagres to pile up. You could also start seeing bills for an entirely different credit card in your name, one that you never knew you had. A number of companies can help you prevent this, including Experian IdentityWorks, which will send you a real-time alert if someone applies for credit in your name.
You may also find sudden changes in your credit report as well as receive calls from collection agencies. You may find that youre not receiving mail from certain accounts, which could mean that scammers have changed the mailing address for your accounts. In addition,you may see that your credit card is denied, indicating that someone else has been using it and has exceeded the limit. With products like Panda, you can personally set a charge limit on your cards and receive a notification when it is exceeded.
Basically, if something sounds off, trust your gut and look into it. It shouldn’t take long to call the credit card company to get some clarity about the charge and to file a report if you believe you were the victim of theft.
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Stolen Or Lost Social Security Card: What To Do Next
If your Social Security card is lost or stolen, it could wreak havoc on your personal affairs. Since your Social Security number is used for basically everything from identification to creditworthiness, you could easily become the victim of identity theft if your card falls into the wrong hands. There are steps that you need to take immediately upon recognizing that your card has been compromised. We will outline those steps in this article as well as tell you what you need to do to get a replacement card. While losing your card is not good, following the advice below can help you ensure that your lost card does not end up causing a disaster for you.
Measures You Can Take To Prevent Identity Theft
Identity theft happens when a person illegally uses your personal information to commit fraud. Someone illegally using your SSN and assuming your identity can cause a lot of problems. But there are several things you should do to prevent identity theft:
- Do not routinely carry your SSN.
- Never say your SSN aloud in public.
- Beware of phishing scams trying to trick you into revealing personal information.
- Create a personal account to help you keep track of your records and identify any suspicious activity.
- Consider adding these blocks to your account with us:
- The eServices block This prevents anyone, including you, from seeing or changing your personal information on the internet. Once we add the block, you or your representative will need to contact your local office to request removal of the block.
- The Direct Deposit Fraud Prevention block This prevents anyone, including you, from enrolling in direct deposit or changing your address or direct deposit information through or a financial institution . Once we add the block, you or your representative will need to contact your local office to request removal of the block. You will need to do the same to make any future changes to direct deposit or contact information.
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Review Your Social Security Statement
Your Social Security Statement is a summary of your earnings and Social Security and Medicare taxes. Criminals who assume your identity with your SSN can indirectly alter your Social Security Statement, especially if they commit tax fraud.
What does this mean?
Your Social Security Statement explains what you can anticipate in Social Security benefits when you reach full retirement age. Itâs based on your earnings, which are reported by you and your employers.
Your earnings are recorded by the SSA throughout your lifetime and are updated each time you or your employers re-report them.
However, your Social Security Statement is only as accurate as your earnings. A criminal who steals your SSN and creates fraudulent identification records or commits tax fraud will drastically alter your earnings. Itâs important to review your statement to flag any unfamiliar activity.
Hereâs how you do it:
To review your Social Security Statement along with the earnings that could signal fraudulent activity, first log into your personal my Social Security account. To access your statement, visit the designated tab: www.ssa.gov/myaccount/statement.html. Report any inconsistencies to the SSA immediately.
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Use The Id Theft Affidavit
Creditors may ask you to fill out fraud affidavits. The Federal Trade Commissions ID Theft Affidavit is accepted by the credit bureaus and by most major creditors. Send copies of the completed form to creditors where the thief opened accounts in your name. Also send copies to creditors where the thief made charges on your account, to the credit bureaus, and to the police. The form is available on the FTC Web site at ww.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/resources/forms/affidavit.pdf. File a complaint of identity theft with the FTC. See their Web site at www.consumer.gov/idtheft The FTC keeps a database of identity theft cases that is used by many law enforcement agencies.
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How Likely Am I To Become A Victim Of Ssn Theft
Almost 1 in 4 people are affected by identity fraud, and a large part of identity theft is financial fraud. Unfortunately, the average person’s chances of experiencing financial scams are very high. Therefore, we strongly recommend a free scan to check what information is available on the Internet about you.
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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The Nightmare Of Identity Theft
Disclaimer: Views expressed in Bobs Blog belong solely to the author and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the CAC Office in Aging or its staff.
Are you like me? Have you developed a false sense of security over the years?
I have always lived where there has been little or no crime. I have always felt safe.
At various points in my life, I have visited some undesirable areas. Yet, nothing ever happened to me. I was never mugged. Once I had a car stolen. However, I wasnt in it at the time and I did get it back.
Regularly in the news or on television, there are reports of older people being mugged and having their identities stolen. I have never worried about that happening to me.
You Know just because we havent been concerned about being victimized doesnt mean it wont happen. The sad truth is as we aged, we have become weaker. Were also not as alert as we once were. Thieves look at us as easy marks.
Let Me Ask . . .
. . . Have you ever thought about how you would respond if you were mugged or had your identity stolen? Do you realize it could be a real nightmare for you? How long would it take you to get back to the way you were before it happened and to be able to trust again? Would you ever?
If your identity was stolen, you might not realize it happened for some time possibly weeks or months. The cost to you could be overwhelming.
Purchases on Credit Cards
Your Social Security Number
You may not realize . . .
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