When your Social Security card is stolen, it can be a major cause for concern. The primary concern with a stolen Social Security card is identity theft.
With just your Social Security number, identity thieves can wreak havoc in your name, negatively impacting your credit, finances and even commit crimes in your name. As soon as you discover that your card is missing, you should do the following:
1. Contact local law enforcement.
File a crime report right away. You need to show copies of the report to let other agencies know that your personal information is at risk.
2. Let the three major credit bureaus know.
Add a fraud alert to your credit report at the three major credit bureaus – TransUnion®, Experian® and Equifax® – if you are a victim of identity theft or you may be. This alert can help creditors take extra steps to confirm your identity before issuing new credit under your name. Signaling one agency alerts the other two automatically.
3. Check your credit report.
One of the first places you may see indicators of identity theft is on your credit report. Thieves can use your information to take out a new credit card or loan in your name. That can show up on your credit report. Take advantage of credit report monitoring to help quickly catch suspicious activity.
4. Completely freeze your credit.
Freeze your credit so no one can access your credit information. You can turn the freeze on and off with each credit bureau individually.
5. 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.