What to Do When Your Social Security Number is Stolen
Your Social Security number (SSN) is easily the most valuable form of identification to cyber criminals. In fact, sales and distribution of Social Security numbers occur daily on the black market. A stolen SSN provides the opportunity for thieves to not only steal property and open accounts, but also use the victim’s name.
If an identity-theft victim’s name and SSN number are used by a criminal, the police will be looking for the victim, not the actual criminal. Unlike a compromised credit card, you cannot close out a SSN.
If you’ve become a victim to Social Security theft, follow these steps to further protect yourself.
Steps to Recover from Social Security Fraud:
- If a company responsible for exposing your information offers free credit monitoring, take advantage of it as soon as possible
- Head over to annualcreditreport.com to obtain your free credit reports and check for any accounts and/or charges you don’t recognize
- Consider placing a freeze on your credit. An unknown party will have difficulties opening new accounts with a credit freeze in place
- File your taxes as early as possible before a scam artist does it for you. Tax identity theft occurs when someone uses your SSN to get a tax refund or even acquire a job
- Distrust anyone who calls to say you’ll be arrested unless you pay for taxes or debt – even if they say they are from the IRS and provide all, or part of your SSN
- Continue to monitor your credit report as closely as possible
If you’ve done all you can to fix the problems resulting from misuse of your Social Security number, and someone is still using your number, the Social Security Administration may assign you a new number. Keep in mind that a new number likely won’t solve all your problems. This is because other governmental agencies (such as the IRS and state motor vehicle agencies) and private businesses (such as banks and credit reporting companies) will have records under your old number.
One of the best defenses against stolen personal information is secure document destruction. Depending on your individual needs, AccuShred offers daily, weekly, monthly, or on-call destruction services. We provide, free of charge, specially designed secure locking bins or console units placed strategically throughout your office or facility. Learn more about NAID Certified document destruction services at our website.