SSN Theft: What to Do if Your Social Security Number Is Stolen?
Table of Contents
- By David Lukic
- Apr 19, 2022
A stolen social security card could be devastating. Not only could someone use your social security number (SSN) to impersonate you, but it could also result in identity theft and financial fraud.
What is SSN Theft?
SSN theft or fraud is a type of scam or crime resulting from identity theft or other identity breach incidents. SSN fraud primarily affects people's financial well-being and is a growing problem. Many financial scams could make you a victim of identity theft which could lead to substantial monetary loss. These types of fraud can also affect credit scores and credit records, which harms your ability to open new accounts or access credit lines.
What are the Dangers of Losing My Social Security Card?
SSN fraud is a very serious crime that can result in account takeover, financial losses, and other types of damage. Whether your social security number is stolen due to a lost wallet or online in a data breach, the risks are the same. If your social security card is stolen, you could become the victim of identity theft and worse.
Your social security number could be used to access your other accounts, including bank and credit card accounts.
How Can Thieves Profit from Stolen Social Security Cards?
A stolen social security card could result in social security identity theft and fraud. Using your SSN, a cybercriminal could impersonate you and obtain a new driver's license, birth certificate, and other legal documents. They could also take out new loans in your name, open bank and credit card accounts, and even rent property, making you responsible.
How to Check if Social Security Number was Stolen?
Some ways to check if your social security number is stolen include:
SSN fraud is very common on the internet. It provides an opportunity for thieves to steal your money and take control of your financial accounts. There are numerous ways SSN theft can happen. The most common ways are website and account hacks that steal your personal information and provide the criminals with data to open new accounts in your name.
There are multiple ways for scammers to send out realistically looking scam emails or notifications that prompt users for their private information. Once the user fills out any of the scam forms, the identity thieves would take the information to perpetrate fraud and start stealing from your accounts.
Nowadays, new technology makes it easier to create websites and other applications that could appear legitimate but, in essence, are just fraud services that prey on unsuspecting customers. The moment that a user submits a form on one of these scam websites with their personal information, it is intercepted by the scammers and used unlawfully for their financial gain.
Credit Card Fraud
Credit or debit card fraud involves digital or physical theft of your card account information, including your social security number, to illegally duplicate your credit information or open new accounts in your name. Once thieves get a hold of your SSN, it is easy for them to commit social security identity theft and steal from your financial accounts.
The most serious types of SSN fraud involve SSN or credit account takeovers, where financial scammers take complete control of your stolen personal information and details to control your open accounts. They would quickly deplete these accounts of any available funds and try to open new ones, as long as they are not caught or the financial institutions are not informed while these scams are taking place.
Counterfeit SSN Cards
Identity thieves could take your real social security card or number and try to make a new physical or digital representation of it to use for their scam purposes. They could open almost any type of a new account by pretending to be you and using your real SSN. It's essential to keep an eye on your credit and identity health to quickly identify if there's any unauthorized activity going on.
SSN & Financial Crimes
Financial crimes connected to stolen social security cards are very prevalent in today's digital environment. Many online scams target unsuspecting users to lure you into giving up as much personal information as possible. Be wary of any unfamiliar websites, web services, emails, or other types of notifications that look sketchy or amateurish and lack proper contact information or other verifications that the business or service is legitimate.
Personal Account Breaches
SSN theft can occur when any one of your personal accounts is subject to a data breach online. Many types of information could be exposed or stolen during the breach, including your social security number. It is crucial to verify that your personal information is protected and that none of your accounts was involved in any type of data breach or information leak in the past.
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 (SSA) to get a new card. You will also want to report the fraud to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and contact local law enforcement if you lost any money or your wallet. You should also contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and get a PIN to use when you file your next tax return. The U.S. government has a helpful website (identitytheft.gov) to help victims of identity theft.
Request a Credit Freeze with Each of the Three Major Credit Bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, Experian)
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?
In most cases, no. The Social Security Administration may provide a new social security number in some extreme cases, but because it is linked to every important vital record in your life, typically, they will not want to reissue you a new one.
How to Protect Your Social Security Number
Some ways you can protect your social security number are:
Keep Your SSN Private & Safeguard Login Credentials
We strongly recommend that you keep all your personal information private, such as your SSN or any identifiable pieces of data from your account records, including bank records, account numbers, routing numbers, address, zip code, name, contact info, and other personal data.
Use Safe Websites & Services & Check for Breaches Regularly
Always make sure that any website or online service that you frequent utilizes the latest security protections and certificates that allow for safe and secure personal data exchanges and storage. Do not send your personal details by email or text, and never fill out any forms on sites you do not recognize.
Use Identity Theft Monitoring
The best way to keep an eye on your information and other personal data is to use identity monitoring. You will receive notifications and alerts every time a breach or exposure of your personal information occurs, or your details are found on scam sites. Prevent becoming a victim of financial scams by proactively monitoring your identity with identity theft protection and credit monitoring.
You must protect your SSN with every available protection. Your social security number is your unique identifier, and it could be used against you in many ways. Do all you can and do yourself the favor of signing up for credit and identity theft monitoring to keep yourself safe.
Frequently Asked Questions About SSN Theft
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.
What are the signs of SSN theft?
The most obvious signs are unauthorized transactions in your bank accounts and credit or debit card accounts. In addition, look for unexpected notifications or messages from your financial institutions, letters and emails that you do not recognize or have requested, incorrect or erroneous financial information on your accounts, and other suspicious records.
Can SSN theft result in a monetary loss?
Many financial scams perpetrated on the Internet cost consumers a lot of time and money to identify and resolve. They can also result in huge financial losses and stolen money or other various personal assets.
Can identity monitoring & protection help avoid SSN theft?
Identity monitoring and protection cannot protect against all financial threats and scams, but it will give you a valuable tool to monitor your information and get access to alerts and notifications if your data becomes compromised.