Victims of ID theft: 5 steps to take
How to Report Identity Theft to Social Security
If you believe someone is using your Social Security number to establish a new identity, steal money or goods, or defraud the government, you may be the victim of identity theft. The Social Security Administration cannot help you recover any money you may have lost, but they can correct and protect your Social Security account. This article discusses identity theft and your Social Security number.
Recognizing Identity Theft
Recognize identity theft.Using personal information of someone else to establish a new identity or defraud the government is guilty of identity theft. Many times that personal information includes the Social Security number. Often, you will not know if you are the victim until damage has already been done. Following are some things that may indicate you have been a victim of identity fraud:
- Being informed by the IRS that you did not report all of your income
- Suddenly being turned down for credit
- Receiving collections calls from creditors with whom you didn’t open an account
- You learn that your annual tax return has already been filed though you did not file them
- Receiving medical or other bills for services or products you did not purchase
Know common uses of Social Security Numbers.Most of the time, identity thieves will need to use your Social Security number in order to actually use your identity. With your Social Security number, an identity thief will be able to:
- Open credit card and other accounts
- File income tax returns
- File for government benefits
- Get medical care in your name
Save evidence of identity theft.Any evidence you find of the unauthorized use of your identity can be used, but you must save any original documents that you come across. You will need to provide proof of the unauthorized use of your identity to:
- Get protections from credit card companies for unauthorized charges
- Get protections from your bank for unauthorized charges
- Assist prosecutors with prosecuting the identity thief
Reporting Identity Theft
Gather information.The Social Security Administration will need a variety of information in order to investigate your report and devise a plan for correcting your Social Security account. You will need the following information to make your report:
- Your personal and business contact information
- The Social Security number that has been compromised
- Information about the person who is using your Social Security number, if known
- Contact information for the victim, if you are not the victim
- A summary of the events that lead you to believe the Social Security number has been compromised.
Report the identity theft online.You only have to report the identity theft one time. Many people choose to report it online.
- Go to the SSA website portal at .
- Fill in the blanks with the information you previously gathered.
- Click the button to submit the form.
Fax or mail your information.If you reported online or prefer to report by phone or fax, you do not need to report by mail. If you choose to report by mail:
- Write a letter to the Social Security Administration that includes all of the information you previously gathered.
- Mail your letter to Social Security Fraud Hotline, PO Box 17785, Baltimore, MD 21235 or fax it to 410-597-0118.
Call the Social Security Administration.If you reported online or by mail or fax, you do not need to also report by phone. If you chose to report by phone instead of any of the other methods :
- Call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-269-0271 (1-866-501-2101 TTY) from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
- Tell them you are a victim of identity theft of your Social Security number. They will likely ask you questions about the information you have previously gathered. Answer their questions and follow any additional instructions they may give you.
Report the identity theft to other agencies.Because the Social Security Administration is limited in the relief they can provide, you may want to consider reporting the identity theft to other agencies and organizations.
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can give you information about dealing with identity theft and place your information in the secure consumer fraud database. They may also be able to refer your case to an appropriate law enforcement agency. Contact them at 1-877-438-4338.
- Contact the credit reporting agencies to place a fraud alert on your report and remove any inaccurate information. The major reporting agencies are: Equifax (1-800-525-6285), Trans Union (1-800-680-7289), and Experian (1-888-397-3742).
- Contact your local law enforcement agency for potential criminal prosecution.
- Contact the IRS’ Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) at 1-800-908-4490.
Protecting Your Social Security Number
Consider requesting a new number.If you have done everything you can to correct your problems, but someone is still using your Social Security number, consider requesting a new number. Prior to filing for the new number, call the Social Security Administration to talk with someone about the risks and benefits of obtaining a new number. You can reach them at 1-800 722-1213 (1-800-325-0778 TTY). Some of the risks of getting a new Social Security number include:
- Having no credit history
- Continuing susceptibility to identity theft because your other personal information remains the same
- The difficulty of changing your Social Security number with other agencies, such as the IRS and banks
Protect your Social Security number.There is no way to be 100% safe against someone obtaining your Social Security number. There are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of your Social Security number falling into the wrong hands. These include:
- Shredding any documents that include your Social Security number before putting them in the trash.
- Refusing to give out your Social Security number to a person or business who has called you. Often they are not who they portray themselves as.
- Not carrying your Social Security card on your person.
- Not sending your Social Security number over an electronic medium.
Regularly review your earnings statement.Social Security provides an earnings report free of charge. They mail it to individuals without an online account at regular intervals. If you have an online account with the Social Security Administration, you can view your earnings statement at any time. For identity fraud protection purposes, this statement will show you how much income has been reported for your Social Security number for any given period. Outside of those protections, it can:
- Estimate your benefits at retirement age
- Estimate your benefit if you become disabled
- Estimate benefits for your spouse and/or children if you become disabled or pass away
QuestionIs it standard to request a copy of my social security card to rent an apartment?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt isn't standard but some home-owners may ask you for it to identify who you are.Thanks!
Do I have to submit a copy of police report to SSA fraud unit after the incident was reported.?
Can my social security check be sent to another address if my social security number was stolen?
Video: THEY STOLE MY IDENTITY! || STOLEN SSN || ID THEFT VICTIMS || COLLECTOR OR CREDIT BUREAU DISPUTES
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