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:
Report the Identity Theft to the FTC and Police
If you suspect that someone has stolen your Social Security number, it’s crucial to quickly limit the damage and protect your financial and personal information. One of the first steps you should take is to report the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the police.
To report identity theft to the FTC, visit their identity theft website at IdentityTheft.gov or call their toll-free hotline at 1-877-438-4338. The FTC provides valuable resources and support to victims of identity theft, including a personalized recovery plan.
Filing a police report can also help establish a record of the crime and may be required by creditors or financial institutions as you work to resolve the issue. Therefore, bring any documentation or evidence related to the identity theft when you file the police report.
Request a Credit Freeze or Fraud Alert
To help protect yourself from identity theft and fraudulent activities, you may consider requesting a credit freeze or fraud alert.
A credit or security freeze restricts access to your credit report, making it difficult for identity thieves to open new credit accounts in your name. When you freeze your credit, you must contact each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax®, Experian®, and TransUnion®) and request the freeze.
Once the freeze is in place, you’ll need to unfreeze your credit if you want to apply for credit in the future.
You can also request a fraud alert from the major credit bureaus. When you place a fraud alert on your credit report, potential creditors must verify your identity before issuing credit.
This can help prevent identity thieves from opening accounts in your name without your knowledge. Fraud alerts can last one year, and you can renew them as needed.
Both credit freezes and fraud alerts can help protect your credit and finances if someone has access to your Social Security number.
Contact Companies Where Your Social Security Number Has Been Used Fraudulently
It’s important to contact companies where your Social Security number has been used fraudulently to close fraudulent accounts and prevent further unauthorized activity. They can also inform you of any fraudulent charges or activity on your account, allowing you to take quick action to help protect your finances and credit score.
This can help you avoid any long-term financial repercussions from the fraud.
Get a New Social Security Card
If the situation warrants it, obtaining a new Social Security number is an option.
To receive a new Social Security number, you must complete an application and provide proof of identity, such as a driver’s license or passport. Then, the Social Security Administration can issue a new card with a new number.
It’s important to note that getting a new Social Security card will not erase any fraudulent activity or accounts already opened using your original Social Security number.
Social Security Fraud FAQs
Can Someone Access My Bank Account with My Social Security Number?
Yes, someone can access your bank account using your Social Security number if they have other personal information about you. Therefore, keeping your Social Security number safe and watching for any unusual activity in your bank account or credit report is essential.
How Do I Check to See If Someone is Using My Social Security Number?
To check if someone is using your Social Security number, you can take the following steps:
- Monitor your credit reports regularly: Every year, you are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus. Review these reports to ensure that all accounts listed belong to you and that there are no unauthorized accounts or activity.
- Watch for suspicious activity in your bank accounts: Keep an eye out for any unexplained transactions or withdrawals from your accounts.
- Review your Social Security earnings and benefits statement: This statement shows the earnings reported to the Social Security Administration under your Social Security number. Review it to make sure that there are no discrepancies.
- Be vigilant for signs of identity theft: Look for signs such as receiving bills or calls for accounts you didn’t open, being denied credit for no apparent reason, or receiving an IRS notice about the income you didn’t earn.
Can I Put a Lock on My Social Security Number?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not offer a lock feature for Social Security numbers. However, you can take steps to help protect your Social Security number, such as:
- Keeping your Social Security card in a safe place and not carrying it around with you.
- Avoiding sharing your Social Security number with anyone unless it is necessary.
- Checking your Social Security statement regularly to make sure that there is no fraudulent activity.
- Setting up fraud alerts with credit bureaus and monitoring your credit reports regularly.
To better protect yourself, sign up for IdentityIQ identity theft monitoring services that are dedicated to safeguarding your personal information. IdentityIQ services protect you by monitoring your credit, providing real-time fraud alerts, and having experts ready to assist you.