Identity theft is a crime that in one form or another affects millions of people every year in the United States. While it may not be as obviously damaging as physical crimes against another person the effects can be even more detrimental to a person’s life look at it from a long-term perspective. It can severely limit the access a person has quality credits. This may not seem like a big deal but can prevent people from owning a home or purchasing a vehicle. That is to say, identity theft can severely limit a person’s choices in life if left on dealt with which is why we are going to show you how to respond to this grave situation if it ever happens to you in this article.
So Your Social Security Number Has Been Stolen, Now What?
Your Social Security number is likely the single most important piece of information about you. At least in terms of financial access to your identity, it is the most important piece of information. What say you received the terrible news that your Social Security number was recently stolen? How do you respond? Do you just sit down and feel bad for a few hours? Or, do you get to work making things right? The correct answer to this question is both. Obviously, it is a horrible situation to have your Social Security number stolen and it is entirely reasonable to feel bad about it. At the same time, it should be clear that if you do not do anything the situation is not going to get any better so let’s get to work.
The Steps to Take After Your Social Security Number Has Been Stolen
Luckily, there is a process that you can walk through step-by-step to ameliorate this terrible wrong. It is fairly straightforward but it can take a good amount of time. It does not need to all be done on the same day but the quicker than you can take care of each item the faster your life is going to get back to normal so it’s best if you hurry on up.
Notify One of the Credit Agencies to Freeze Your Credit and Place a Fraud Alert
The very first thing that we are going to need to take care of is contacting one of the three major credit agencies. If you have an established relationship with one of them then go with that one otherwise just pick whichever one you can find first. When you are in contact with them go ahead and let them know that you need to place a freeze on your credit and also play a fraud alert on your credit report. A freeze on your credit report allows the credit agencies to automatically block any incoming inquiries no matter the source until you unfreeze your credit. This can severely limit the damage that identity theft can potentially cause so it’s important that you take care of this step quickly.
Let Each Of The Three Major Credit Agencies Know
Now you are going to need to get the contact information for all three of the major credit agencies. Contact each one of them and let them know that your Social Security number has been compromised. They will then give you a free copy of your credit report. Once you have the reports look over them carefully and make detailed notes of anything that looks suspicious or out of place.
Report the Theft to the IRS
The next step is to contact all of our favorite government agency the IRS. Let them know that you have a compromised Social Security number. They will do for your taxes with credit agencies did for your credit. It will prevent any tax fraud or a person is able to collect your tax refund illegally in your place.
Contact the Federal Trade Commission
There’s only one more agency after this one that you are going to need to contact. Contact the Federal Trade Commission or the FTC and let them know that you have a stolen Social Security number. They will file a report and place an active monitor for any activity with the stolen Social Security number to collect any information that law enforcement agencies might need during investigation and prosecution procedures.
Let Your Local Police Know and File A Report
Finally, you can go ahead and contact the local police department. File a report and let them know all of the information that you can. This is an important step because if you want to get a new Social Security number then you will need to have a copy of this police report so don’t leave until you have a hard copy for your personal records.
Forward All Relevant Information to the Internet Crime Complaint Center
File a report with the Internet crime complaint center. They will give a copy of the report to all of the relevant authorities in your jurisdiction area.
How to Get A New Social Security Card
It is possible to get a replacement social security card online but the process can take time and you need to make sure that you have all of the correct documentation and information first. Before we begin let’s go over a few of the caveats that come with getting a new Social Security card.
- It Can Be Difficult
Getting a replacement social security card online is not always an easy process. You need to have verifiable proof that the loss of your Social Security number has caused you serious hardship. This kind of hardship needs to be demonstrated in the form of something like a denied mortgage application, problems with law enforcement were tax agencies or devastation to your credit report that is impossible to fix.
- It Will Have a Completely Blank History
Now once you are approved for a new number one thing that you definitely need to make sure that you understand is that people have a completely blank credit history. For some people, this could be a good thing but for the majority, it will be a bad thing at least in the short term. Most lenders prefer talents to people that have a few year’s worth of established credit so you may have limited access for a few years with the new Social Security number.
- It Is Up To the Social Security Administration Whether You Get Approved or Not
There is no guaranteed way to ensure that you will get a new replacement Social Security number. The ultimate decision-maker at the end of the day is the Social Security Administration. They will review the evidence and make a decision on whether they believe that you are deserving of a new Social Security number or not. If they decide that you are not eligible for a new Social Security number then you will not get one and there is nothing that you can do to change the decision. That is why it is so important that you take care of all of the previous steps and keep proper documentation along with detailed notes every step of the way. This could prove vital as you plead your case with the Social Security Administration so that you can sway the decision in your favor the first time around and do not need to worry about being denied and getting stuck with a tarnished credit report.