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Social Security fraud has been an obvious problem for a long time, but last year’s big Equifax hack brought things up a notch. An estimated 143 million Americans had their data compromised in 2017, including Social Security numbers, meaning the likelihood of becoming a victim of fraud is even higher.
What Happens If Someone Steals Social Security Number
If you have reason to believe that your Social Security benefits have been stolen, you should take immediate action. Otherwise, you risk losing money that is rightfully yours.
The Purpose Of Having A Social Security Number
In the past, it was easier to tell if your Social Security benefits were stolen because the benefits were sent in the form of a physical check. These days, these payments are usually made by direct deposit, so if you don’t manage your bank account, you may not know if yours has gone missing.
The best way to ensure you don’t lose any of your benefits is to set a payment schedule and be sure to check your account every time you expect money to arrive. Social Security payments are sent on the second, third, and fourth Wednesday of each month, depending on your date of birth. If your birthday falls on the first or tenth day of the month, you can expect to be paid on the second Wednesday of the month. If it’s between the 11th and 20th, you’ll get paid on the third Wednesday of the month. And if your birthday is between the 21st and 31st, the money will arrive on the fourth Wednesday of the month. You can view this payment schedule for more information.
Of course, it’s easier to tell when your benefits have been stolen if you’ve already received them. But what if you haven’t applied for benefits yet? In that case, someone could file for Social Security on your behalf, divert your payments to an account he or she can control, and then collect those payments before you know it. So, if you’re of eligible age (ie, 62 or older) but haven’t signed up yet, set up a Social Security account online and keep an eye on it. If you see activity that you did not initiate, contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) immediately at (800) 772-1213.
In the meantime, be sure to keep any documents you receive from the SSA. Sorry if anyone
What Can Someone Do With Your Social Security Number?
Try to steal your identity – and your benefits – you have to prove you’re the rightful owner, so the more official documents you have, the stronger the case you’ll build.
If the world were a more honest place, we wouldn’t have to worry about criminals trying to get access to money they’re not entitled to. But unfortunately, this is not the case, and therefore we must be vigilant to protect ourselves. The moment you discover your Social Security payment is missing, or new activity appears on your account that isn’t yours, take immediate action. The longer you wait, the longer you risk running out of money, you can lose.
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Million Illegals Working Under Stolen Social Security Numbers: Audit
Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance and more from The Motley Fool’s premium services. Stop whining about your stolen credit card number. Ditto if you’re one of the half a billion victims of the Yahoo hack, where logins, passwords and possibly dates of birth and other peripheral information like phone numbers and answers to security questions were stolen by what are said to be government-sponsored individuals . You don’t know the problems.
That’s because the real problems are reserved for those whose Social Security numbers have been stolen. Where does this happen? In various Internal Revenue Service hacks, in some health insurance provider hacks, and in any of the many doctor and hospital hacks.
When a credit card number is compromised (usually discovered when you notice a fraudulent charge on your statement and call to complain), what happens? Faster than you can yell “fraud,” that card is probably canceled and a new one is on its way to you.
Social Security numbers are another matter, and even worse, SSNs are a magic formula that can help unlock everything from new bank accounts to credit cards to tax returns. Stealing a credit card number is like stealing a tie or scarf. An inconvenience, of course, but ultimately not a big deal. Stealing a social security number is like stealing a person’s right hand. Adam Levine, founder of identity theft firm IDT911, called Social Security numbers “the skeleton key to your life.”
Ways To Determine If Your Identity Has Been Stolen
He added that “in 2015, four breaches (Anthem, Premera, Excellus, and the US Office of Personnel Management) exposed more than 120 million social security numbers.” And there were more violations than those mentioned by Levin. Do the math, and most likely your social security number is floating around in criminal markets or already in the hands of fraudsters. And healing doesn’t come quickly, easily, or painlessly.
“A stolen Social Security number can be far more devastating than a stolen credit card: more time, more paperwork, and the cleanup can take months, even years,” said Matt Ehrlich, Experian’s senior director of fraud and identity product strategy.
There are steps you should take if you believe your Social Security number is in the hands of fraudsters. To begin with, Ehrlich suggested three: “1) file a police report with the local police department; 2) place a fraud alert within 90 days on your credit report; and 3) notify your banks, credit card companies, and other important accounts that you have been the victim of identity theft. The great thing about all three of these steps is that they’re free.”
When a fraud alert is filed, it signals that credit bureaus and issuers need to slow down before extending new credit.
What Can Someone Do With Your Social Security Number?
Identity theft expert Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity, believes that with multiple recent breaches, “all consumers should be aware that their Social Security numbers are actually in the hands of thieves.”
Siciliano offered this antidote: “Consider participating in a credit freeze. It’s a relatively simple process that involves going online to each of the credit bureaus and finding their credit freeze page, then filling in the required information and, in some cases, a small fee.” Once frozen, no one will be able to open a new line of credit in your name and with your SSN.
Now you want to finance the new iPhone 7? No problem. Siciliano said, “If you need a new line of credit, just temporarily unfreeze your credit. And then freeze it after a week or two.” A small fee may be required – perhaps $5.
It’s definitely a hassle, but dealing with fake credit and checking accounts in your name is a much bigger hassle.
The Absolute Worst Case Of Identity Theft In History
Can’t you just change your social security number – like you do with credit cards, for example? About. The Social Security Administration offers instructions here and note that the process begins with an in-person visit to Social Security. Tip: Bring plenty of ID and police reports.
Also understand that – according to several experts – there may be delays in issuing a new SSN, the application may also be rejected.
You likely won’t get a new SSN, experts say. But with a credit freeze, you’re doing your part.
Then be ready. This threat will not go away for days, weeks or even months. Whenever you suspect a scam, follow up because you might be right. Your Social Security number is valuable to identity thieves because it is tied to your identity. Learn what to do if your Social Security card is stolen or lost and how to protect your personal information. [Duration – 1:48]
Identity Theft Knowledge 4 You!
Your social security number is valuable information to identity thieves. This is an important part of your identity and is also related to tax and credit information. And, except in limited circumstances, it cannot be changed. That’s why losing or having your card stolen is such a concern.
1. Consider placing a fraud alert or freezing or blocking your credit report. With an initial fraud alert, potential lenders and creditors are encouraged to take additional steps
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