They Can Use Your Ssn To Drain Your Existing Bank Accounts
Identity hackers also can use your stolen SSN to dip into any of your existing bank accounts. Armed with that knowledge, they simply can transfer money.
If they hacked your SSN, they might have obtained your passwords and the answers to secret security questions, too, such as your mothers maiden name. The drain on your accounts might be gradual or you might wake up to find your entire savings gone. Hackers also have begun to use apps such as Zelle to transfer money illegally.
Pro tip: Its important to protect yourself from hackers and scammers. Monitor your bank account on a daily basis to identify the slightest unfamiliar withdrawal or other changes to the account. The earlier you catch the fraud, the easier it will be to deal with it.
Earn Ssa Work Credits In Some Countries
You may not have enough credits from your work in the United States to qualify for retirement benefits. But, you may be able to count your work credits from another country. The SSA has agreements with 24 countries. If you earned credits in one of those countries, they can help you qualify for U.S. benefits.
What Should You Do If You Think Your Social Security Number Has Been Stolen
If you think your SSN has been stolen, you should immediately reach out to your banks, credit card companies and other financial services providers to let them know. Youll also want to inform the three main credit bureaus. Its a good idea to file a police report to have an official record, and make sure to check the FTCs official recommendations, which list who to notify and how.
Having your identity stolen can wreak havoc on your personal and financial life, but being as careful as possible with your SSN can help protect you. If you do find yourself the victim of identity theft or fraud, you may need to seek help from a or legal counsel.
Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.
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Tip : Memorize Your Social Security Number
Knowing your Social Security number by heart can be handy. Its there when you need it. Plus, you probably wont be tempted to carry your Social Security card with you or to jot down the number on a slip of paper.
This might seem like a small thing. But if youre not carrying your card with you, or youre not writing it down on slips of paper, youre far less likely to drop that paper or card on the ground or leave it behind at a local bank or government office. This means its less likely, too, that thieves might get their hands on your number.
While You’re On The Irs’s Website Get A Pin
The IRS offers a free, six-digit, identity protection PIN that you can get through their website. When you file your tax return you’ll need to provide that PIN to verify your identity. That makes it a lot harder for somebody else to file a tax return in your name, since even if they have your Social Security number they shouldn’t have your PIN.
To get the PIN just go to . You’ll need to go through a little process to verify your identity, then they’ll issue you the PIN.
It’s not a bad idea to do this proactively just to help limit the damage identity thieves could do later.
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Monitor Your Financial Accounts For Suspicious Activity
Many scammers will try and use your SSN for financial gain. Credit monitoring tools can alert you in near real-time if someone tries to open new accounts in your name.
For example, Aura constantly monitors your credit, bank, and investment accounts for signs of fraud â and alerts you 4x faster than the competition if any suspicious activity is found.
Learn more about how Aura keeps your finances safe from scammers â
Additional Tips To Protect Your Ssn
The best tip we can give you is to make it a habit of regularly checking your banks, credit card accounts, and other items tied to your SSN.
You need to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity, but also consider the following tips for additional protection:
- Never share your SSN with anyone, even lenders and insurance providers, unless youre sure about their authenticity.
- Keep your Social Security card at home.
- If you no longer need a document, destroy and properly dispose of it.
- Consider password-protecting your digital files.
- Never post it on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit.
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Examining Your Credit Report
One definite way to check if someone has used your SSN is to find discrepancies in your credit report.
Go to AnnualCreditReport.com or call the hotline 1-877-322-8228 to check your credit report. Examine your report thoroughly to confirm your accounts and other information. If not, then you may have a stolen SSN.
Keep An Eye On Your Credit Score
Unexpected changes in your credit score could indicate unauthorized activity using your Social Security number. Most banks and credit card companies these days offer you your credit score as an added perk of doing business with them. Sign into their website and take note of what your score is.
Small changes of a few points up or down are normal, but if it suddenly jumps or plunges unexpectedly you should get a fresh copy of your credit report to see why it changed.
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How To Know If Someone Is Using Your Social Security Number
One of the most dangerous forms of identity theft is a stolen SSN. But how do you know if someone is using your Social Security number? Here are a few telltale signs.
Your SSN is the key to your identity. And thats why its so vulnerable: if a hacker gets ahold of it, theyre able to crack open the most secure of accounts and wreak havoc on your life. But how do you know if someone is using your social security number?
As soon as hackers have access to your SSN, theyll have the ability to access your bank accounts, open new accounts in your name, open lines of credit and credit cards, obtain your tax return, take our loans, use your health coverage and open utilities and memberships in your name.
Unfortunately, not everyone knows when theyve been a victim of Social Security number identity theft. To stay safe and protect your privacy , you need to learn how to tell if someone is using your social security number.
Is your personal information in the wrong hands? Use Privacy Bees free Data Breach Checker to find out.
How Can I Check If My Ssn Was Leaked
Data leaked during breaches usually ends up on the dark web. There are databases online that can scan the web for leaked personal information. Mostly, these include email addresses, which is not a lot.
Surfshark Alert can check the web for leaks of your emails and passwords, Social Security numbers, and . It will also continue to monitor your information and will notify you if it finds that any of your data leaked on the web.
Heres how you can check your SSN for leaks with Alert in 6 steps:
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File Fraudulent Tax Returns
Your Social Security number is also used to file your taxes in most cases. Someone who has your SSN can file a fraudulent tax return in your name to be able to claim a refund or stimulus money. You often dont know that a fraudulent tax return has been filed until you go to file your own. It can take months to straighten things out with the IRS, and this can keep you from being able to access your own refund in the meantime.
File An Ftc Report Report The Incident To The Ssa And Alert The Irs
Even if you contact the affected companies as listed above, youll still probably want to contact a few government agencies to further document the ID theft. Consider filing a formal report with the FTC via IdentityTheft.gov. This government website will help you create a recovery plan. You can also contact the department directly at their 1-877-ID-THEFT hotline.
Also, alert the Social Security Administration that your unique SSN has been compromised. Depending on the severity of the theft, the SSA may assign you a new number. You cant get a new Social Security number just because youve lost your card or are seeking to avoid debts.
Report the incident to the Internal Revenue Service so that the identity thief does not file for your tax refund.
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Create Fake Tax Returns
When filing your taxes, institutions almost always require your SSN. When someone harvests your Social Security Number, they can file fraudulent tax returns under your name for stimulus money or refund claims.
Unfortunately, this can be difficult to track and will take you painful months of going back and forth trying to explain and defend your identity to the IRS.
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.
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Know The Signs Of Identity Theft
You may not know youre a victim of identity theft until youre notified by the IRS of a possible issue with your return.
Be alert to possible tax-related identity theft if:
- You get a letter from the IRS inquiring about a suspicious tax return that you did not file.
- You cant e-file your tax return because of a duplicate Social Security number.
- You get a tax transcript in the mail that you did not request.
- You get an IRS notice that an online account has been created in your name.
- You get an IRS notice that your existing online account has been accessed or disabled when you took no action.
- You get an IRS notice that you owe additional tax or refund offset, or that you have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return.
- IRS records indicate you received wages or other income from an employer you didnt work for.
- Youve been assigned an Employer Identification Number but you did not request an EIN.
What Should I Do If I Think Someone Is Using My Social Security Number
If you think someone is using your number, there are several actions you can take. Note that we can only resolve Social Security number reporting problems on our own records.
Review your Social Security earnings record Review the earnings posted to your record on your Social Security Statement. To get your online Statement, log into your personal mySocial Security account and check your account. If you see any inconsistencies, contact the Social Security Administration. We consider identity theft one of our major challenges so we have joined in government-wide efforts to prevent Social Security number misuse.If you want to report identity theft, where someone used your personal information, including your Social Security number, to get a loan or job, file a tax return, or conduct other business, please visit the Federal Trade Commissions Identity Theft page. This guides you through each step of the recovery process. Its a one-stop resource managed by the Federal Trade Commission, the nations consumer protection agency.Contact the Internal Revenue Service for issues involving taxesIf you believe someone is using your Social Security number to work, get your tax refund, or other abuses involving taxes, contact the IRS online or call 1-800-908-4490. Order a free credit reportYou can order free credit reports annually from the three major credit bureaus .Make a single request for all three credit bureau reports:
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How Democrats And Republicans Want To Strengthen Social Security
Now that you have a better understanding of why Social Security is in big financial trouble, let’s take a look at how lawmakers propose fixing the program.
The Democrats’ proposal
There are only two ways to approach a $20.4 trillion estimated cash shortfall: raise additional revenue or cut costs. Democrats prefer the former.
The core proposal by Democrats in Congress is to increase payroll taxation on high-earning workers. As noted, wages and salaries above $147,000 in 2022 are exempt from the payroll tax.
Prior to his November 2020 election to the Oval Office, Joe Biden proposed a plan that would reinstitute the 12.4% payroll tax on earned income above $400,000. Meanwhile, earnings between $147,000 and $400,000 would remain exempt from the payroll tax. To offer some context, well in excess of $1 trillion in earned income escapes Social Security’s payroll tax every year.
The other Social Security proposal offered by Democrats is to change how annual cost-of-living adjustments are calculated.
The Republicans’ proposal
On the other side of the political aisle are Republican lawmakers, who collectively believe that reducing long-term program outlays will strengthen Social Security.
The key change Republicans would like to see implemented is a gradual increase to the full retirement age . A person’s FRA is the age when they become eligible to receive 100% of their retired-worker benefit from Social Security. For anyone born in 1960 or later, their FRA is age 67.
They Can Use Your Ssn To Identify Themselves When Picked Up For Criminal Activity
In some types of SSN fraud, you, the victim, can get arrested and thrown in jail. This could happen if the SSN thief commits a crime and uses your name and SSN to identify himself when apprehended. Weisman said this scenario becomes even worse when the hacker posts bail and then doesnt show up for the hearing.
In that event, criminal charges will be on record against the identity theft victim , who will have difficulty straightening this out, said Weisman, an attorney who includes identity theft as part of his practice.
Pro tip: If you do become a victim of this type of fraud, Weisman said you should contact the credit reporting agencies and demand they remove the false information from your credit report. You also should file a criminal complaint for identity theft with the local police so that it is a matter of record.
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How Do I Tell If Someone Has Stolen My Social Security Number
Unfortunately, this type of crime can often be challenging to discover. People who steal a persons social security number can use their identity for long periods without being found out. However, there are ways that you can check whether your social security number has been compromised.
The best way to find out if someone is using your identity or has stolen your social security number is by keeping a close eye on your . Your credit report can make you aware of any unusual activity. For example, if you notice any accounts that do not belong to you, this could indicate that you are a victim of identity theft using your social security number.
Social Security Is Facing A $204 Trillion Cash Shortfall
Since 1940, Social Security has been providing eligible workers with a monthly retirement benefit. For the vast majority of those years, the program has brought in more revenue than it’s paid out in benefits.
Where does Social Security get its revenue, you ask? Approximately 90% of the money it brings in comes from the 12.4% payroll tax on wages and salaries. This payroll tax is paid on earned income between $0.01 and $147,000 in 2022, although the upper limit will rise to $160,200 next year.
The remaining 10% of annual revenue comes from a combination of taxing Social Security benefits for recipients who earn above select income thresholds and the interest earned on bonds held by Social Security’s trusts. The excess revenue Social Security brings in most years over what it pays out in benefits is required by law to be invested in low-risk special-issue government bonds that pay interest.
The problem for Social Security is that numerous demographic shifts are increasing payouts at a much faster pace than revenue growth. As a result, Social Security ran a deficit in 2021. This deficit is expected to grow in size every year moving forward.
These demographic shifts include the ongoing retirement of baby boomers, a slowdown in legal net immigration into the U.S., historically low birth rates, lower interest rates , and growing income inequality.
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