Your Social Security Number Is Not Secure Aura Can Help
SSNs were originally created to track contributions to your retirement fund. Over time, though, they became the single most important identifier for a U.S. citizen.
This means that scammers will always have an unabated motive to steal your SSN: to file tax returns, obtain credit, or open bank accounts to fleece you.
To protect your SSN and prevent identity theft, follow these five steps:
- Use alternate identification instead of your SSN. Most businesses accept your driver’s license, U.S. passport, or even a utility bill as proof of identity.
- Safeguard your physical Social Security card. Try to memorize your SSN and leave the card at home. Also, never use your SSN as a password for online accounts.
- Shred financial documents that you no longer need. Also, avoid leaving your mailbox unattended for an extended period. If youâre going to be away, set up a mail-forwarding service.
- Never give out your SSN over the phone or via email. The same applies to your family members’ SSNs. Don’t reveal your SSN to anyone unless you are certain they have a valid reason to have it . To avoid scam calls, learn how and when the SSA may contact you.
- Use credit and identity monitoring to keep track of your most important documents and accounts. You can set up a credit monitoring service like Aura to always keep a watchful eye on your credit scores and bank accounts.
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Request Additional Free Credit Reports
California identity theft victims with a police report of identity theft are entitled to receive up to 12 free credit reports, one per month for the 12 months following the date of the police report. The procedure for requesting free monthly reports is different for each of the credit bureaus.2
Experian: Make a single request to receive all of your free monthly reports. Mail your request for 12 free monthly reports to Experian at P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013. Enclose a copy of the police report of identity theft, a copy of a government-issued identification card , and a copy of proof of current mailing address . Also provide your full name including middle initial , previous addresses for the past two years, Social Security number and date of birth.
TransUnion LLC: Write or call in your request each month. Mail to TransUnion LLC, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016. Or call the toll-free number printed on your most recent TransUnion LLC credit report. Provide your full name including middle initial , Social Security number, date of birth, and proof of residence .
Equifax: Write or call in your request each month. Mail to Equifax Fraud Department, P.O. Box 740250, Atlanta, GA 30374. Or call the toll-free number printed on your most recent Equifax credit report.
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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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.
How To Report Identity Theft To Social Security
8 MIN READ
In the hands of a thief, your Social Security Number is the master key to your identity.
With a Social Security Number , a thief can unlock everything from credit history and credit line to tax refunds and medical care. In extreme cases, thieves can use it to impersonate others. So, if you suspect your number is lost or stolen, its important to report identity theft to Social Security right away.
Part of what makes an SSN so powerful in identity theft is that theres only one like it. Unlike a compromised credit card, you cant hop on the phone and get a replacement. No question, the theft of your SSN has serious implications. If you suspect it, report it. So, lets take a look at how it can happen and how you can report identity theft to Social Security if it does.
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Write Letters To All Three Bureaus
Dont worry about your penmanship you can type these letters up. But you must send written requests to each of the three credit bureaus. You will have to include personal information including your legal name in full, your date of birth, your Social Security Number, the address at which you currently live, all previous addresses from the past two years, and the reason for which you need a freeze.
How To Protect Your Identity When Your Social Security Card Is Stolen
If your social security card has been stolen, youve lost important vital records that prove your identity. Taking steps to protect yourself will help prevent fiscal losses.
- If you dont know your social security number, contact the Social Security Office first with a copy of your birth certificate or passport.
- Then, report identity theft to the FTC. Visit IdentityTheft.Gov and fill out the wizard to make a report.
- Also, call the IRS at 800-908-4490 to report the theft and to prevent someone from submitting a tax return in your name. You may have to prove your identity with your birth record.
How Does Identity Theft Occur
Your personally identifying information may be compromisedthrough a variety of methods.
Dumpster Diving – Looking through your garbage for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.
Skimming – Skimmers are small electronic devices that can be easily concealed in a pocket and when your credit card is swiped through it, the device reads all of the information encoded on the magnetic strip on your card.
Phishing – Phishing scams are electronic mails sent from what appears to be a legitimate financial institution. They are devised to trick you into sending them account and password information. A common scam would be an email advising you that due to a security issue your bank would like you to confirm or reset your password.
Address Change – Your bills are diverted to another address where they are read or your mail is stolen from your mail box.
Theft – Your personally identifiable information is acquired through the theft of a wallet, purse, home burglary or car burglary.
Pretexting – Your are called or receive a text message from what appears and sounds like a legitimate financial institution in an attempt to trick you into revealing personally identifiable information.
Additional information can be found at:
What To Do If Someone Steals Your Tax Refund
If someone uses your Social Security number to file for a tax refund before you do, youll usually find out when you file your return with the IRS.
If you file by mail, the IRS will mail you a letter explaining that they received more than one return in your name. Follow the instructions in the letter.
If you try to submit your tax return online or through a tax preparer, the IRS will reject your tax return as a duplicate filing. If this happens, go to IdentityTheft.gov and report it. IdentityTheft.gov will create your
- FTC Identity Theft Report
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Report It To The Police
If you see something, say something especially if you see it done to yourself. If you are a victim of any crime, you should report it to your local police in any case. If you are the victim of identity theft, you are going to have to freeze your Social Security Number. In order to qualify for a freeze free of charge, you are required to have a copy of the police report.
What To Do If Your Social Security Number Is Stolen
Below are some immediate steps to take if your social security number is stolen.
Report the ID Theft to the Responsible Government Agencies
An important step in restoring your identity is reporting the identity theft crime to the appropriate agencies. First, you will need to contact the Social Security Administration to get a new card. You will also want to report the fraud to the Federal Trade Commission and contact local law enforcement if you lost any money or your wallet. You should also contact the Internal Revenue Service and get a PIN to use when you file your next tax return. The U.S. government has a helpful website to help victims of identity theft.
Request a Credit Freeze with Each of the Three Major Credit Bureaus
Identity theft can affect your credit history, and negative marks can stay on your credit report for years. Therefore, it’s essential to contact the three major credit agencies and put a fraud alert on your file. You are entitled to a free credit report each year. Visit annualcreditreport.com to get a copy of your credit report.
Contact the Fraud Department of Any Company Where You Suspect Fraudulent Use of Your Social Security Number Has Occurred
You will need to contact any companies or vendors where your SSN was used fraudulently.
Do You Need a New Social Security Number?
Get A New Social Security Card
It can be helpful to have a copy of your Social Security card to prove your identity, so replace it and keep it in a secure location.
To better protect your personal information, like your Social Security number, consider signing up for an identity theft protection plan. An identity theft protection service can monitor your personal information and help spot any suspicious activity.
What Do I Do If I Become A Victim
Contact your local police department and file a report and obtain a case number. Most credit and financial institutions will require that you file a police report. Police departments in New Jersey are required to take a report when you reasonably believe or suspect you are a victim of identity theft notwithstanding the fact that jurisdiction for prosecution or investigation may lie elsewhere.
Immediately call the fraud units of the three credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Report the theft of your credit cards or identity to them. Request that your account be flagged and have a Fraud Alert/Victim Impact statement placed in your credit file asking that creditors call before granting credit. Obtain the names and phone numbers of businesses where fraudulent accounts have been opened, if any.
- Contact your creditors and those businesses who providedcredit in your name fraudulently by phone and in writingto inform them of the problem. Ask for replacementcards, close out old and fraudulent accounts, and obtainnew account numbers and create new pin numbers if theaccount have been used fraudulently.
Federal Trade Commission :
Assisting Law Enforcement:
National Check Fraud Service
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How To Report A Lost Social Security Card
If your social security card has gone missing, itâs common to feel panicked. After all, this card is one of the most important documents you have. Your social security card is linked to the most important aspects of your life: government, finances, health care, employment – and more.
If your card has been lost or stolen, you need to begin the process to report and replace it right away. This article will guide you through everything you need to know if your social security card is lost, including:
- How to report a lost social security card
- Why itâs important to report your lost card
- Why you should replace your card quickly
- What youâll need for a replacement social security card
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 .
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Additional Suggestions For Victims Of Id Theft
Victims of identity theft are advised to take the following actions:
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How To Use Idme
TWC uses ID.me to verify the identity of an individual who filed a claim for unemployment benefits. If you did not file the unemployment claim, you must not use ID.me.
Most claimants can verify their identity using the ID.me self-service webpage. You will need to submit photos of your:
You might not be able to have your identity verified using the self-service webpage if:
- The photos of your government-issued ID or your personal photo are blurry or shadowed
- If you have credit issues, such as no credit or frozen credit or your credit information is incorrect
- Or if the phone number you submit is not associated with your name.
If you cannot use the self-service option, you may be able to verify your identity during a video conference call with ID.me. To verify your identity using a video call, you will need:
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What To Do When Your Social Security Card Is Stolen
Linda Collins – October 11, 2019
Your Social Security Number is wholly unique. Assigned at birth, no one but you has ever had that specific number, and no one but you will ever have that number again. It is a crucial part of your identity within the framework of the United States, and if your Social Security Card gets stolen or misplaced in a mugging, a home invasion, or any other type of robbery which can lead to identity theft, it is essential that you act fast and follow these steps.