What to Do If Your Social Security Number Stolen, All we know about the importance of our SSN, means Social Security Number, according to the news 10 to 20 million Americans were identity theft victims in 2016-2017. And the number could shoot up in the get-up of the recent Equifax data breach. The Equifax hack compromised over 140 to 150 million Americans’ data, according to the FTC which is Federal Trade Commission.
With the use of that data thieves targeted Social Security Numbers which is your SSN and other corresponding information from that credit agency’s records. So in that case you have to protect yourself by getting knowledge of what to do if your SSN information was stolen.
What to Do If Your Social Security Number Stolen
Why do thieves are stealing your private financial information? What is their purpose? Recovery Options
Basically, thieves steal your personal information and use it for personal gains as well as for their financial gain without letting you know. They target to thieve your private information like credit card numbers, Social security Numbers, Addresses, and Insurance Numbers.
So keep your information safe do not share your personal information with anyone to avoid further financial loss. Listen the thieves are very smart, even those who know how to prevent identity fraud under normal conditions can still also be victims of losing their private information so be careful while sharing your information with anyone and doing online transactions for the safer side.
In another case somehow if your SSN was stolen then you are able to find out if the Equifax hack affected you by visiting the company’s Cybersecurity Incident webpage. If you think your SSN was stolen or to prevent your financial loss here are some steps to prevent further financial loss crime and fraud with your private data.
Report the private data (Identity Theft) to the Police
If you think something is wrong with your information you go to your nearest local police department and report about identity theft incident but in this case, you need more documents regarding the thieves if you know them or your doubts then further action will be taken by them, so report an incident as a proof of that your SSN is stolen.
Report Identity Theft to the FTC at the official website – FTC Identity Theft Report
If your Social Security Number is stolen then try to contact SSA that your SSN is stolen but SSA advises you to file a report of that theft on the federal trading commission’s identitytheft.gov webpage.
In some cases, your social security card was lost by your own mistake the SSA gives advises reporting it to the local police department and requesting for replacement of your social security card by calling the following number 800-772-1213.
You can file a Fraud Alert on your Credit Reports
The first thing you should do is to communicate with 1 of the three major credit reporting agencies, said idtheftsecurity.com INC, CEO Robert Siciliano. By taking this action, a creditor uses much more stringent strategies when they receive an application for credit. These alerts are only valid for 90 days, but you can also get a grace period when that time passes.
To get an extension, which lasts for seven years, “You will be asked to provide an identity theft affidavit which will include a police report,” he said (by CEO Robert Siciliano). John Ulzheimer, a credit expert formerly with FICO and Equifax, says the importance of placing a fraud alert, “This will prevent any new fraudulent credit from being issued in your name.
Any prospective lenders will have to call you and verify that you did, in fact, apply for credit.” So this kind of transaction makes you feel safer, if someone trying to cheat on you then that thief will be caught.
For your convenience fraud alert numbers for the credit reporting agencies: Call Equifax Agency: 1-800-525-6285 Call Experian Agency: 1-888-397-3742 Call TransUnion Agency: 1-800-680-7289
Fraud Detected then Implement a Credit Freeze to Credit Reporting Agencies
Applying a fraud alert is still important, you can also freeze your credit reports. “If you want to move further, you can freeze your credit reports, which takes them out of circulation until you choose to make them available again,” Ulzheimer (credit expert formerly with FICO and Equifax) said. “This process is informally referred to as freezing and defrosting.
Security freezes are free if you have been a confirmed victim of your identity theft.“The security freeze seems to have surpassed the fraud alert as the best practice in the wake of the Equifax breach, but you have to place them individually at each credit bureau,” Ulzheimer said. “There’s no one-stop shop for freezes.
Equifax is allowing you to do this for free. The other bureaus might charge a small fee, but its money well spent. Robert Siciliano (idtheftsecurity.com INC) recommended freezing your credit indefinitely, despite the minor inconvenience of needing to unfreeze credit for legitimate applications and freeze credit again when you’re done.
“Keep your credit frozen for the remainder of your life and thaw when needed,” he said. Call these numbers to freeze credit at the 3 credit reporting agencies: Call Equifax Agency: 1-800-349-9960Call Experian Agency: 1-888-397-3742Call TransUnion Agency: 1-888-909-8872
Confirm and Review Your Credit Reports
Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion these agencies will give your credit report for your credit at no cost once per year from AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228. If you got your reports, inspect your account reports if you found any charges that you don’t make or something else then you can go for the next step like when that transaction was made from where it was made kind of information you will get and it useful for the detection of thief.
You can call the Companies Where Fraud Occurred
After reviewing your credit reports somewhere fraud was detected then immediately contact each company where you noticed that fraud occurred to close fake new accounts, close or freeze your current accounts and remove any fraud charges.
In this case, major banks as well as large companies basically have a loyal fraud department to take care of identity theft problems. Recommendation to change passwords, PINs, and other login credentials for these companies’ official websites.
Possibly accept Free Identity Theft Protection from the responsible company
With corresponds to data theft, Equifax is dealing free credit monitoring services as well as identity theft protection to those affected and for those also who want that service to prevent identity theft. Federal Trade Commission legally advises taking advantage of the offers to minimize the damage to your credit.
Immediate file Tax Return after Your SSN is stolen
The Federal Trade Commission warns that thieves may use your stolen social security numbers to get employed or to steal your tax refunds. So the recommendation is to file your income tax return as early as possible.
Ignore Calls Demanding Payment for fake Tax Debt/Other fraud Bills:
Thieves know that your social security number is stolen, consequently, it is possible you receive a call from them demanding your previous tax and other non-existing bill payment. So after losing your SSN be careful while doing any of the payments and transactions. The FTC says to ignore such scammers.
Final Words from Verdict:
As you know it requires a lot of work and time to repair the damage to your credit, bank, insurance, and other financial accounts, So be careful don not to share your information like credit card details, bank account details, ATM Pin and Social security number with anyone be safer while doing online transaction. Social Security Number Stolen