Your Social Security Number is the most important number that American citizens carry. It is also tied to vital information such as banking and mortgage records. Many people think that they will never be a victim of identity theft but let us look at five ways that these thieves can steal your Social Security number:
- By theft of your mail, wallet, or purse, any of which may contain credit card information, tax statements, and other such items that could provide identity thieves with your Social Security number.
- Internet theft of personal information you have provided to an unsecured website”information such as that found in personnel data and business statements, or information of a more personal nature which you have provided from your residence.
- Looking through your trash (whether at home or at the workplace) for the data that will help thieves steal your identity.
- Engaging in telephone or email fraud to fool people into believing they are making a legitimate request, such as may be made by, say, a landlord or an employer.
- Buying from a dishonest store employee the information found on your application for credit or other items offered by the store.
Therefore, the primary way to stop identity theft is always be cautious about using your Social Security number. Showing your card to a new employer to ensure accurate records is a reasonable use of your Social Security number, as is providing it to a financial institution for purposes of reporting your taxes. Otherwise, it is suggested that you store anything that contains your SSN in a secure place. It is not advisable to carry on your person any documents that reveal your SSN.
What to Do if Your Social Security Number has been Stolen
If you believe someone may be using your SSN, whether by accident or by design, be sure and report your suspicions to us. We will then check the accuracy of your records. You might also want to look over the earnings that are posted to your Social Security Statement (Form SSA-7005). The statement is mailed annually to workers over twenty-four years of age. One may also request a Social Security Statement online or by phone using our 800 number.
You may suspect that an identity thief is causing the credit troubles you are experiencing. If so, contact the Federal Trade Commission for identity theft advice or by calling 1-877-438-4338 (1-877-IDTHEFT)”TTY-1-866-653-4261. These problems canâ€™t be solved by Social Security.
Also, we suggest that you keep track of your credit report. You will find no-cost credit reporting at oursite.