Your Social Security Number (SSN) is the most sensitive piece of information tying to your name. It’s a number that you do not want anyone else to know. With minimal information about you, plus your SSN, anyone could commit fraud under your name. So, you must learn how to protect your SSN now!
Social security identity theft is nothing new. It’s an approach that many identity thieves take because the SSN serves as a golden meal ticket. Yet, the ways that these criminals obtain the number in the first place are often the same.
Here are the most common ways your SSN could get stolen:
As you can see, some of the possible ways your SSN could get stolen are not preventable. This means you cannot guarantee that your identity stays safe. Of course, using a trusted identity theft protection service can help. You will still want to know everything you need to do, supposing someone steals and use your SSN.
Here are some reasons to question whether your SSN was stolen:
Regardless of the reason, you should address your worries right away!
Sound stressful? It’s really not …
SSA.gov is the official website of the Social Security Administration (SSA). It offers many helpful pieces of information and various types of forms. The website also offers a ‘my Social Security account’ feature. This allows anyone in the United States (with a Social Security Number) to track where their SSN gets used. This information is made available through your Social Security Statement, which you can access at any time.
You have to supply your full name, date of birth, home address, and Social Security Number to sign up. Before going to the next page, you are given the option to request a text message notification any time you log into your account. This is beneficial to have because if your account gets compromised, you will find out right away. To complete your registration, you will also have to verify your identity by answering a few questions about yourself.
Some other great perks for my Social Security account users include the ability to change your address, direct deposit information, and request a replacement Medicare card. You can also log on during the tax season and request a new copy of your SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S form.
There are many things you can do to protect your SSN from identity theft risks further.
First, you need to make sure that no one has any direct access to your SSN. This means you have to keep your SSN card on lock up. It’s not always needed when you are out and about, so put the card in a safe until you really need it. If the card is ever lost or stolen, make sure to request a replacement from the SSA.
Next, understand who you can trust with this number. You should limit this to a shortlist, such as credit report bureaus, employers, and the government. It’s not necessary to provide your SSN to verify your identity when setting up most accounts. For example, a cell phone provider can use your credit card to confirm your identity.
Oh, and don’t forget to observe a lot during tax season!
This is when the SSN identity theft attacks really take place. The vast majority of these criminals will take your SSN and file fraudulent tax returns. As a result, you could end up with some funny mail that does not seem to add up. Or, you might not end up getting any tax-related mail at all.