Your Social Security number is one of the virtually important and personal pieces of information you accept. One of these unique nine-digit numbers is given to every American at nascency or at the time they obtain U.S. citizenship. It’s a vital particular that can help yous keep track of your earnings, open up new lines of credit and utilize every bit identification, amid many other activities.
Because it’s so personal and tied specifically to y’all, however, your Social Security number isn’t something you lot desire just anyone getting access to. After obtaining it, someone could use it to impersonate y’all, steal your identity or enter into financial transactions that create unnecessary hardship for you lot.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts at keeping your Social Security number (SSN) safe, it might end up in the wrong hands. If you suspect your SSN has been stolen, it’s vital to have the right steps to protect yourself. The following tips can help yous get dorsum on track if you’re dealing with a stolen number or similar identity-theft situation.
There are a few red flags to scout for that can indicate someone’s gotten ahold of your SSN and used it. I sign is that your credit score drops without any plausible caption. Some other is that your bank account has mysterious charges or withdrawals. Yous likewise may see suspicious emails or mail make it at your domicile.
It’due south important to have note of these occurrences and investigate them farther, not write them off. You may notice it helpful to sign up with a credit-monitoring program offered by one of the main credit bureaus to keep tabs on your score. Besides, try to get into the habit of regularly checking your bank balances online and reviewing new transactions to ensure you were the ane who made them.
Another popular scam happens when thieves steal someone’s SSN and use it to get a job or receive a paycheck. If this happens, yous may start to receive mailed notices from the Internal Acquirement Service (IRS). It’s important to annotation that the IRS will never call you. If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, this is probable a scam, and you shouldn’t divulge any personal information. You may, however, first to receive calls from credit agencies or debt collectors notifying you nearly accounts that are past due, and these may be legitimate calls. These fraudulent accounts may take been opened in your name without your knowledge.
If you lot’ve confirmed with the IRS or a credit agency that someone has used your SSN fraudulently, the following steps can assistance you protect yourself.
To kick off the identity-theft recovery procedure, you need to contact the Social Security Administration to report the fraud and brainstorm creating a record of your identity theft. The Social Security Administration may directly you to the Federal Merchandise Commission’s (FTC) reporting website. You can visit the site directly at identitytheft.org.
On the website, start by filing fraud and incident reports, which will include some basic information about the incident and what happened. From in that location, the site offers suggestions about what to exercise next. Depending on the specifics of your situation, you may need to written report the theft to a landlord or credit menu company, and you might also demand to get a new SSN altogether. The FTC’s website offers a footstep-by-step guide that includes links to file reports and initiate the recovery process.
File a Police force Written report
To begin documenting your identity theft, the Social Security Assistants may want you to provide a tape of the theft that it tin can later utilise while investigating your case. You can file a police force study in your local customs to legally document the crimes of fraud. This is also used afterwards if whatsoever legal action is taken. Keep in mind that your local police department may not investigate the crime. Yet, you’ll need a legal record to help reclaim your identity or get a new Social Security number.
The Social Security Administration allows you to receive a new SSN nether certain circumstances. Ane case is if you’re in immediate danger or being threatened in a domestic abuse state of affairs. Another is if your SSN has been stolen.
To brainstorm the procedure of obtaining a new SSN through the Social Security Administration, you’ll need to provide a written statement outlining what happened to you and why you need a new number. In improver to your statement, y’all’ll also need to provide legal documents bankroll up your statements; these can include your constabulary written report.
Y’all will also demand to fill out the SS-five form. This is the same class y’all or your parents filled out when you were built-in or that you filled out when you became a citizen. This form includes a serial of questions about your previous SSN filing. You’ll note on this course if y’all previously filed when y’all became a citizen or provide the names of your parents, who filed on your behalf.
In addition, you also need to provide documentation showing your U.S. citizenship, historic period, legal residence, identity and existing SSN. If you’ve ever changed your proper noun, yous’ll demand to submit documentation of this. If you inverse your name when you got married, for example, you could submit your spousal relationship license to satisfy this requirement.
Call the IRS Protection Unit and Check on Tax Filings
In addition to contacting and filing documentation with the Social Security Administration, you as well want to notify the IRS about the fraud. This is an important footstep in preventing anyone from filing a false tax return in your name to claim your tax refund. You can check to run across if anyone has already used your name to file a fraudulent taxation render on the IRS website by checking your transcripts. In add-on to using the tool on the IRS website, you can likewise call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946 or fill out an IRS 4506-T class to get a copy of your tax filing transcripts in the mail.
Set Upward Fraud Alerts
As soon as you lot learn that identity theft has happened to you, you lot’ll want to set up fraud alerts through your banking concern and credit card companies. This improves the likelihood that you’ll notice any new charges or suspicious activity on your credit study early on. Many banks already offer these services, but you may have to enroll in your bank’s specific plan to activate them. Yous can also set custom alerts for purchases over a sure amount. If your banking company or credit card’due south online system supports it, you lot may be able to receive notifications through email or text on all your processed fiscal activities and transactions — just to be rubber.
After you’ve experienced identity theft, notify all banks and credit carte companies where you have open accounts. Notify lenders, too. You tin can do this over the phone or through their websites. You’ll also need to inform the company or companies where the fraud took identify, if possible.
Next, you should put a freeze on your credit, which ways no 1 can open any new accounts in your name — this goes for y’all as well. Y’all’ll need to unfreeze your account when you experience comfy or when you lot’re gear up to make a big buy. Larn more about freezing your credit here.
To go on an eye on your financial activeness, download a gratuitous copy of your credit written report from the 3 major credit bureaus. You can practise this in one case a year through the Federal Merchandise Commission at annualcreditreport.com.