Your social security number is required in many ways, from filing tax returns to obtaining a loan. Generally, you must also provide your Social Security number and present your Social Security card when starting a new job. However, it is not a good idea to have your SSN everywhere. You must do everything you can to protect your NHS from thieves. If this number falls into the wrong hands, it can have serious consequences. Identity thieves can use your personal information to wreak havoc on your finances and waste hours of your time trying to repair the damage. So what are the best ways to protect your Social Security number? We will discuss this here, so read on.
Why Protect Your Social Security Number
You must protect your number as it can have serious consequences if it is stolen. If you are a victim of identity theft, it can be extremely difficult to repair the damage. First, a lost or stolen number can wreak havoc on your personal finances. You may owe money on loans or credit cards that you never applied for. This information will be reflected in your credit report and you will be ready to repay the money & ndash; at least initially. This can keep you from getting the credit you really need, like a car loan or mortgage.
If your social security number isn’t protected, it could be used by thieves and you may have to spend hours trying to repair the damage. You will need to file police complaints, contact credit reporting agencies, file disputes with lenders, and take many other steps that could have been avoided. Keeping your number safe and secure can save you countless hours and dollars in the long run. Interestingly, SSNs were never intended to act as universal identifiers as they are today. According to the history-of-social-security/ “> history of Social Security, originally they were intended to simply keep track of your tax payments in the Social Security and Benefits Eligibility System.
How a thief can use your SSN
You may be wondering why it would matter if a thief got her SSN. What can you do with a social security number anyway? Unfortunately, there are many ways a thief can use her SSN and none of them are good. First, they can use your number to simply log into bank accounts or credit card accounts. Once they gain access, they have the option to transfer funds or make purchases using their accounts. They may also decide to apply for new credit in your name. Once they get the loan or a new account, they transfer the money to your account and disappear – and ndash; letting them refund your money.
In addition to credit and financial damage, a thief could also land you in legal trouble with the IRS. They can use your Social Security number and personal information to file fraudulent tax returns. The Internal Revenue Service may be knocking on your door without you even knowing that this fraud has taken place. Finally, someone could use your SSN to create an online account with the Social Security Administration (SSA). After doing this, they may divert your Social Security benefits to your account or make other unwanted changes to your Social Security account.
Ways to protect your SSN
So now that you know how much damage a lost or stolen social security number can cause, how can you keep your SSN safe? There are several ways to keep your number safe and these are the best.
Do not bring your social security card with you
If you’re wondering how to protect your Social Security card, the answer is simple. Just don’t use it. This increases the chances that you will lose it or leave it behind. This also increases the chances of a thief getting your card, thereby obtaining your SSN. You should always keep your card in a safe place at home and carry it with you only when absolutely necessary. This could be your first day at a new job or when you need to open a new bank account. However, on a normal day, your card should be kept safe so it doesn’t get lost.
Learn and memorize your social security number
Although you should always protect yourself To obtain your social security number, there are some situations where your number is needed. This could be applying for a new car loan or opening a bank account. storage Having your SSN will allow you to provide this information without having to look at your social security card. Most of the time, when you need your SSN, you just need to know your number and you don’t have to present your actual social security card. In these cases, having your number memorized reduces the chance that your card will be lost or forgotten. This is a great way to protect your SSN.
Be careful about sharing your SSN electronically
As we just mentioned, sometimes it is absolutely necessary to share your SSN. However, you should be careful about the method by which you share your number. Never send your SSN via email, especially emails that are not secure or encrypted. Sending your SSN via email gives hackers a perfect opportunity to intercept your SSN and use it illegally. Also, putting your SSN on websites can be dangerous. If you need to use a website to share your number, make absolutely sure that the website is secure and does not represent the site you intended to use. Whenever possible, share your SSN only through paper documents or over the phone. Giving your Social Security number over the phone to a trusted source reduces the chance that your electronic communications will be intercepted and your number stolen.
Share your SSN sparingly
Although you are sometimes asked to share your SSN with others, you should do so sparingly. Share your number only when absolutely necessary. There are some obvious times when it will be necessary. If you’re applying for a loan, credit card, mortgage, or other type of credit, you probably know that you’ll be asked to share your SSN. However, sometimes you may be asked for your SSN at other places, like a doctor’s office or school. If you are not sure if it is necessary, ask someone why this information is needed. In many cases, you can simply provide another type of identification number, such as your driver’s license or date of birth.
Beware of scams
There are many scams that try to steal your personal information, including your SSN. These scams occur through email, phone, and even regular mail. You should beware of these scams and never give your SSN to anyone who calls or emails you asking for it. Scammers will often pose as your financial institution or even the IRS. They will tell you that there is a problem with your account and that they need to verify your information. You may also come across a scammer who tells you that your Social Security Number has been suspended. Whenever this happens, you should immediately hang up. You can always call your bank directly and ask if they need any information from you. Most will never call or email for this type of information.
Shred old documents
Some thieves even rummage through the trash looking for documents with personal information. Many types of documents also include your Social Security number. This includes tax returns and sometimes even bank statements. This is why you should always shred your old documents. With proper shredding, a thief will not be able to reconstruct any useful information from your old documents. Make sure your shredder cuts documents into many small pieces. If you simply cut the paper into wide strips, a thief could reassemble the document and read the numbers quite easily.
Use strong passwords for online accounts
Most people today have created online accounts for their banking information and other important data. It is essential to use strong passwords for these accounts. Otherwise, a thief might trick you. Easily hack your password and hack your account. By gaining access online, they will be able to view the account numbers and personal details associated with your account. You should use strong passwords, change your password regularly, and never use the same password on multiple accounts. This will help keep your information secure.
Sign in to “My Social Security” Account
Even if you’re not nearing retirement age, you should go ahead and sign up for a at SSA.gov. This will prevent an identity thief from creating an account using your information. As mentioned above, make sure to use a very strong password when creating this account. This will also help protect you from fraud and ensure your information is not used with other government agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service.
Keep an eye on financial accounts
You should always check all your bank statements regularly. Checking them regularly helps you quickly notice any irregularities. Also, many credit card companies and other financial institutions will not allow you to dispute items that are more than 60 days old.
Check your credit report
This is one of the best ways to protect your Social Security number. You have to keep an eye on your credit report. You can get a free copy from each of the major credit bureaus at annualcreditreport.com . If someone is trying to use your information to get credit, it will show up on your credit report. The sooner you identify any problems, the sooner you can begin to resolve them and protect yourself from further financial damage.
Sign up for identity theft protection
You should also consider subscribing to an identity theft protection service. This can be extremely helpful when it comes to troubleshooting issues caused by a lost or stolen SSN. Additionally, it can help provide SSN protection against further use. The cost of these services is relatively inexpensive when you consider how much time and money they can save you. Most also include insurance that protects you financially from the fraudulent use of your Social Security number.
Act quickly if you notice a problem
After following all the other steps, you should be promptly notified of any fraudulent activity using your SSN. It is also imperative to act quickly when you notice this type of activity. This can prevent further damage to your finances or credit history. You must act immediately and follow the advice given in the next section.
What to do after identity theft
You may be wondering, “What should I do if I gave my Social Security number to a scammer?” There are several steps you should take immediately after an identity theft or possible theft. First, you must notify the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and file a theft report at IdentityTheft.gov. You must then file a report with your local police department. In many cases, a police report will be required to begin repairing the damage caused by the fraud. Go ahead and take a look at your free credit report to make sure there aren’t any additional items you’re not aware of. At the same time, you should report the fraud to credit reporting agencies like Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. You can place a fraud alert on your Social Security number with these agencies. This alerts potential lenders to potential fraud on your SSN and prompts them to take extra steps to verify your identity before issuing new credit.
You could even go one step further and block the credit on your SSN. This prevents anyone from getting a copy of the rapper’s credit card and credit score, so you can be sure no new credit will be issued until you remove the lock. It’s usually a good idea to sign up for credit monitoring right now so you can get immediate notification of any new activity on your Social Security number. This can help you take immediate action when suspicious activity occurs.
The final result
Keep your number Social Security card safe from identity thieves is vital to protecting your finances. There are many steps you can take to secure your NHS, and we’ve discussed some of the best ways here. If your number is still stolen, be sure to take the steps outlined here right away to protect yourself from further damage.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I check if someone is using my social security number?
The best way to See if someone is using your SSN is to keep an eye on your credit report. This will alert you that someone is opening or trying to open accounts in your name. You can also request your tax transcripts from the IRS to make sure no one files tax returns using your information.
Can you block your social security number?
Yes, you can ask the credit reporting agencies to block credit on your account number. Basically, this locks down your information and no one can get a copy of your credit history or score. This will block the issuance of new credit and you can release the block if you legitimately request the credit. Are you wondering how to block your social security number? Simply notify the credit bureaus.
How do I get a new social security number?
New social security numbers are rarely issued and this only happens in the worst cases of identity theft. You have to prove that the identity theft was so bad that you can’t fix the problems without starting over with a new SSN. The social security administration would then accept the request to issue a new social security number. If you simply lost your card, the SSA will issue a social security replacement card and I advise you to carefully monitor your credit history.
Can someone steal your social security number with your name?
Yes, this information is often stolen altogether. An unnamed Social Security number usually doesn’t do a thief much good. They will need identifying information to commit fraud and use your SSN for their own personal gain. A thief could steal both the information of a lost social security card, a loan application, tax return or any other document containing both information.