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Social Security identity theft is a serious crime. Unfortunately, it’s hard to do anything these days without having someone ask for your Social Security number. Applying for any type of insurance (health, life, home, car, etc.), going to the doctor, purchasing a vehicle, etc. all ask for your Social Security number (SSN), which means that’s one more place that a thief could steal your SSN. Find out what to do if you lose your Social Security card or have it stolen.
What Is a Social Security Number?
A Social Security number is specific to US citizens and was created in 1936. It is a number in the format xxx-xx-xxxx and is unique to each individual. This number was originally used to track Social Security benefits but has since expanded to other purposes. Today, it is assigned at birth and used for identification purposes.
How to Get a Social Security Number
Fill out this form to apply for an original Social Security card, apply for a replacement Social Security Card or change information on your Social Security number record. You can then mail or deliver the form in person to any Social Security office. If the applicant is older than 12-years-old and applying for an original SSN, an in-person interview is required.
If you are the parent of a newborn, you can get an SSN for your child through the “Enumeration at Birth” (EAB) process.
If you are a United States immigrant, you can file for an SSN through Enumeration at Entry (EaE). Anyone older than 18-years-old can apply.
Stolen Social Security Card – What To Do
Someone stole my Social Security number, what should I do? Report your lost Social Security card and then do the following to protect your identity from further damage:
- Report stolen social security card to the IRS or call 1-800-908-4490
- Place a fraud alert on your credit file by contacting Equifax, Experian or TransUnion (by notifying one, the other two will be contacted)
- Tell all three bureaus that your SSN has been stolen and review your credit reports for unfamiliar activity
- Report social security identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission or call 1-877-438-4338
- File a report with your local police
- Document, report and close all fraudulent accounts by contacting the companies holding the accounts and credit-reporting agencies
- Report the fact that your social security number was stolen to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, which will distribute the report to relevant authorities
As you can see, there’s a lot of work that has to be done when you have a stolen SS card. We recommend trying to get through this list of “to-do’s” as quickly as possible. The sooner you report the stolen SSN card, the sooner you’ll have help stopping this criminal.
How Are Social Security Numbers Stolen?
Criminals can obtain your SSN through data breaches, rummaging through your trash or another approach. Once your SSN is obtained, thieves can sell your identity to the highest bidder and voila, down goes your credit score and up goes your debt.
I Lost My Social Security Card, I Need a New Social Security Card
Lost your Social Security card? No worries, you can get a replacement Social Security card at no cost. Follow the steps below to get a new one.
According to the Social Security Administration, you can use your “my Social Security” account to request a Social Security card replacement online if you:
- Are a U.S. citizen
- Are older than 18-years-old
- Have a U.S. mailing address
- Are requesting no changes to the card or information on the card
- Have a driver’s license or state-issued ID card from one of these states
If you are unable to apply online for a replacement card, you’ll need to visit your local Social Security office with specific documents on hand to replace the lost SS card.
These documents vary depending on your citizenship and your specific request. Dial your social security office number ahead of time for specifics on how to replace your lost SSN card.
How Can I Secure My SSN?
The best way to keep tabs on your SSN is to sign-up for credit report monitoring or identity theft protection. Be sure to choose one that monitors your Social Security number (all of the companies in our comparison do).
Not only will your SSN be monitored, but many other personal data items will be protected as well. And in the case that your SSN is stolen, many companies offer recovery assistance to help get you back on your feet.
Have you ever had an identity theft scare?