Social Security Number Stolen? What To Do
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It happens all the time to even the most careful Americans, and yet so many of us don ’ triiodothyronine know what to do should it happen to us. We ’ rhenium talking about having your Social Security number stolen. Identity thieves snatch these cute digits through a variety show of ways, including by hacking us online or scamming us by posing as a legit agency such as the IRS or Social Security Administration .
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once they obtain this most medium information, criminals can sell it on the dark web or use it to open a new credit card among other benefits. Though this happens much ( the Federal Trade Commission estimates that some 9 million Americans are victims of identity larceny on a annual basis ), dealing with it is a concern. It ’ mho crucial to stay calm and go about the site promptly and with diligence .
To clarify and streamline the process of what to do if your Social Security total is stolen, GOBankingRates consulted with personal finance experts. here ’ s what we learned you should do .
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Alert Any of the 3 Major Credit-Reporting Agencies
“ It is critical to act swiftly and alert either Equifax, TransUnion or Experian, ” said David Clark, lawyer and collaborator at The Clark Law Office. “ Doing thus significantly limits the perpetrator ’ mho use of your SSN, giving you enough time to settle the issue legally. ”
note that this fraud alert must be renewed every 90 days until it ’ sulfur established that the larceny is resolved .
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Run Credit Reports
“ After realizing your SSN has been stolen, run your three accredit reports from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, ” said Dr. Chris Pierson, CEO of the cybersecurity solutions firm BlackCloak. “ You can do this for free and do not need to pay or join any subscription avail under a prior federal law. once you do that, review each for any issues and immediately dispute any credit cards or accounts that are not yours. ”
You can get the three credit reports for dislodge here .
Request a Fraud Alert or Credit Freeze
“ Fraudsters may want to use your identity to scam others. They may want to make purchases under your identify, rent a car or an apartment, open a fresh credit calling card or apply for a loan, ” said Francis Locknear, founder of The Cost Guys. “ This is why it ’ sulfur ideal to request a credit rating freeze if person has stolen your social security number. A recognition freeze will restrict access to your recognition report. ”
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You will need to freeze your credit with all three credit agency : TransUnion, Equifax and Experian .
“ If person has your SSN but doesn ’ thyroxine have any proof of the incident, you can however prevent the fraudster from using your identity, ” Locknear said. “ You can have a fraud alert placed. It will not restrict access to your credit rating report, but it will prevent anyone from using your data without verifying your identity inaugural. ”
Report the Theft to the IRS
“ This next step is crucial as access to your SSN provides the thief means to file tax returns in your appoint and collect your tax refund, ” Clark said. “ The fact of the count is that, unlike credit circuit board accounts, stolen SSNs can ’ metric ton be closed indeed your only course of legal action is to report the incidental to the IRS. Doing so will help absolve your name from any possible tax fraud committed using your steal SSN within the duration of the publish. ”
You should specifically file a Form 14039 Identity Theft Affidavit with the IRS to notify them of the SSN larceny, Pierson specified .
File an Identity Theft Report
“ A stolen valid SSN carrying the holder ’ s mention and address is valued at a senior high school price and most likely sold to undocumented workers or people trying to hide their identities, ” Clark said. “ Ensuring there is a patrol record affirm you are not in use of your SSN at the time of a crime involving your identity will help clear your records and your name. This is besides a prerequisite to applying for a newfangled SSN. ”
Check Your Banking Relationships
” You will besides want to check your major trust relationships because a steal SSN could be just the begin of a larger identity larceny outline aimed at your fiscal accounts, ” Pierson said. “ At a minimum, be indisputable to change your password and access to each of your savings bank accounts. Make certain your fiscal accounts besides have dual-factor authentication turned on so that no matchless else can gain access to the account. ”
Watch for Unusual Activity
“ Criminals typically use SSN larceny as the originate point for fiscal larceny, policy and tax refund victimize, so you need to go down the number and contact all of those organizations to make sure your report information ( particularly your contact data ) has not been changed, to look for any strange bodily process and to add any extra protections you can to these accounts, ” Pierson said. “ These should include ( in addition to your deposit ) your electronic mail, health policy, and any local, state of matter or federal accounts you might have. You need to talk to each of those organizations to find out what extra anti-fraud protections can be added to your bill. ”
Up the Security With Your Mobile Carrier
“ last, but not least : Call your mobile carrier and increase the security on your mobile history, ” Pierson said. “ Most of the carriers will allow you to add a PIN to the account which will prevent an imposter from trying to gain control of your account. This is extremely authoritative for you to do because ‘ SIM swapping ’ is very common for people who have been the victims of identity larceny. ”
Pierson explained that SIM swap is when a criminal is able to trick the mobile carrier into switching out the SIM menu associated with your earphone act, which efficaciously gives the criminal manipulate over that telephone number .
“ typically, they do this in order to steal your dual-factor authentication codes for a trust report or some other authoritative account, ” Pierson said. “ however, SIM swapping besides allows the criminal to receive all your calls and text messages and to impersonate you in making calls or texts to others. ”
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About the Author
Nicole Spector is a writer, editor program, and writer based in Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, the Atlantic, Vice, and The New Yorker. She ‘s a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her 2013 debut novel, “ Fifty Shades of dorian Gray ” received laudatory blurbs from the likes of Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and was published in the US, UK, France, and Russia — though cipher knows whatever happened with the russian version ! She has an affinity for Twitter