How To Protect Yourself: Identity Theft
Identity theft is a serious problem that affects millions each year. When an imposter uses your name, Social Security number , credit card number or any other form of personal information without your knowledge and permission, its a crime.
Unfortunately, sometimes victims remain unaware that their identity has been stolen until they receive monthly statements for credit card accounts they never applied for, credit reports including unfamiliar debts or monthly statements that include unauthorized charges.
If someone has stolen your identity, immediately take these three steps:
Take control of your identity.
Although identity thieves can destroy your personal finances, there are some things you can do to take control of the situation.
Some ways to handle the most common forms of identity theft are:
A- If an identity thief has stolen your mail for access to new credit cards, bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers and tax information or falsified change-of-address forms, that person has committed a crime. Report it to your local postal inspector. You may contact the United States Postal Inspection Service online at .
G- If any identity thief is using your name or SSN to obtain a drivers license, report it to your states Department of Motor Vehicles. Also, if your state uses your SSN as your drivers license number, ask to substitute another number.
Lossing My Wallet With My Driver License Ssn# And Other Cards
Today, I loss my credits, driver license, social security card and other Cards including Macy Card, Costco…ion my wallet at CVS store parking lot. around 8:10PM March 9, 2011.
What shall I do right now? please give me suggestion.
We generally only comment on Social Security issues. However, immediately contacting your credit card issuers is recommended.
See here to replace your SS card :
Consider Blocking Electronic Access
If your Social Security number has been compromised recently, consider an option the Social Security Administration calls Block Electronic Access. Taking this step means your Social Security record cannot accessed by electronically including through the administrations automated phone service or website.
The Social Security Administration explains:
When you do this, no one, including you, will be able to see or change your personal information on the internet or through our automated telephone service.
To undo this measure, you must contact the administration, ask for your electronic access to be unblocked and prove your identity.
According to the administration, you might want to consider this block if you:
Have been the victim of domestic violence
Have been the victim of identity theft or
Have any reason you do not want your record to be available.
To learn more about other ways to protect your identity, check out:
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Safely Using Your Social Security Number
Your Social Security Number is the link between you and your Social Security information. It makes sure there is an accurate record of your wages and any self-employment earnings. You need a Social Security number to get a job and to receive most government services. Because of this, Social Security numbers are often stolen and used for identity theft. If you lose your Social Security card, theres a chance someone else has it. Before ordering a replacement Social Security card, be sure to check your credit status and make sure it hasnt been used.
- Applying for federal disability benefits
- Military paperwork
- Department of Motor Vehicles
If you are applying for a service or product with your personal credit, they will need your SSN in order to view your credit report. This will come up if you are applying for some type of loan. Some of the federal benefits that require your SSN include: Medicare and Medicaid, unemployment insurance and disability benefit income, services such as free or reduced lunch, and financial aid for school.
How Do Hackers Steal Cell Phone Numbers
Its easier than you might think. Phone numbers can be found anywhere thanks in part to so many data breaches.
Often, hackers will find the cell phone number of their target floating around the internet , and call up their carrier impersonating the customer. With a few simple questions answered often little more than where a person lives or their date of birth, they ask the customer service representative to port out the phone number to a different carrier or a SIM card.
Thats it. As soon as the port out completes, the phone number activates on an attackers SIM card, and the hacker can send and receive messages and make calls as if they were the person they just hacked.
In most cases, the only sign that it happened is if the victim suddenly loses cell service for no apparent reason.
From there, its as simple as initiating password resets on accounts associated with that phone number. Facebook, Gmail, Twitter and more. A hacker can use your hijacked phone number to steal all of your cryptocurrency, take over or maliciously delete all of your data.
You can read what happened to TechCrunchs own John Biggs when his phone number was hijacked.
In the worst cases, it can be difficult or impossible to get your phone number back let alone the accounts that get broken into. Your best bet is to make sure it never happens in the first place.
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You Dont Have To Give Out Your Information
Companies may ask for your Social Security number, but that doesnt mean you have to give it to them. Often times doctors and dentists, supermarkets, drugstores, preschools, and even airlines may ask for your personal information. These companies have their reasoning for asking for this information. Sometimes they may ask for just a portion or the whole thing, and understanding the Social Security number formula will protect you against fraud. For example, many doctors will ask for this information so they have it in case you die while in their care, so they can put it on the death certificate. Even though there are reasons these companies have for asking this information, it doesnt mean you have to give it to them.
Privacy In America: Social Security Numbers
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably given out your Social Security number several times in the past few weeks. Chances are you didn’t even know you had a choice in the matter. And anyway, it’s such a convenient form of identification, you probably didn’t think twice about it.
But you should.
SSNs were originally created to number personal accounts for Social Security, tax collection and benefits payment. But today, SSNs have become a too-common identifier.
An ever-growing number of computer networks let organizations sell, store, transfer and link our personal and business information — usually without our knowledge or consent. It’s become way too easy for government agencies and private organizations to trace each of us, from cradle to grave.
The details of our personal lives belong to us — they’re no one else’s business.
MY NUMBER, MYSELF
Whether you’ve paid taxes, opened a bank account, been accepted for a credit card, joined a gym or a shopping club, or applied for a video rental card, a driver’s license or a mortgage, chances are you’ve been asked for — and given out — your SSN. That seems innocent enough.
But because the SSN is so commonly used as an individual account number, this nine-digit code ends up being a virtual pass key to a vast amount of private, and often sensitive, information about you — your address, medical history, shopping preferences, household income, and use of prescription drugs, to name just a few.
WHO’S GOT YOUR NUMBER
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Keep Your Identity Safe
If you use an online application to do your taxes, you can now log in with your username, password and a third personal item like a phone number. Using all 3 will keep your identity and data safer.
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen personal information, including your Social Security number, to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.
If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must file a paper return.
Tip : Memorize Your Social Security Number
Knowing your Social Security number by heart can be handy. Its there when you need it. Plus, you probably wont be tempted to carry your Social Security card with you or to jot down the number on a slip of paper.
This might seem like a small thing. But if youre not carrying your card with you, or youre not writing it down on slips of paper, youre far less likely to drop that paper or card on the ground or leave it behind at a local bank or government office. This means its less likely, too, that thieves might get their hands on your number.
Everyones Social Security Number Has Been Compromised Heres How To Protect Yourself
All of our SSNs have been compromised, say experts.
Every day, it seems, another data security disaster puts our personal information at risk. If its not a major hotel or restaurant chain getting hacked, its a financial institution.
Following breaches at Capital One, Equifax and a slew of other financial and healthcare organizations, theres little doubt that your social security number has been compromised, say cybersecurity experts. Not just yours. Mine, too, as well as those of our spouses, neighbors, friends and colleagues.
Your social security number is somewhere out there on the dark web, says Charles Henderson, who heads up X-Force Red, a team of hackers at IBM Security that companies hire to break into their computer systems to expose vulnerabilities.
It’s totally reasonable to assume that your social security number has been compromised at least once, if not many times, says Mike Chapple, associate teaching professor of information technology, analytics and operations at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.
A compromised social security number is much more problematic than when other types of personal data hacked. If your credit card number is stolen, your bank can issue a new one within days. If your passport or driver’s license is stolen, you can get a replacement issued with brand new numbers.
With Marriott and the other hotel breaches, all of those credit cards got revoked and re-issued, points out Henderson.
Consider Locking Your Social Security Number For Employer Searches
Many employers use E-Verify, a service run by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, to confirm the employment eligibility of potential hires. If youre not looking for a job, . Anyone using your SSN to apply for a job with an E-Verify employer will come up as a mismatch, and alert you and the employer of attempted fraud. You can unlock it any time a third party needs to verify your eligibility.
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Report The Identity Theft To The Ftc And Police
Your first action should be to report the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission and file a police report. When you visit the Social Security Administration’s website, you’ll be directed to the FTC website, IdentityTheft.gov, where you can report one or more of the following types of fraud related to your SSN:
- Someone filed a tax return in your name
- Someone filed for unemployment or government benefits in your name
- Someone gained access to your information
- Your information was exposed in a data breach
Next, you’ll get information on next steps to take, which may include completing more forms and getting a recovery plan. For tax-related identity theft, which usually involves your SSN, you may be required to complete an identity theft affidavit, or Form 14039.
After reporting the theft to the FTC, file a police report with your local jurisdiction. While your city or county may not be able to investigate this crime right away , having a police report can serve as documentation in your identity recovery and resolution endeavors.
Contact The Social Security Administration
If you believe your Social Security number has been compromised, you should contact the Social Security Administration. Order a copy of your Personal Earnings and Benefits Estimate Statement and compare it to your work history. If you notice any employers or earnings you do not recognize, someone may be using your Social Security number for employment. Report any discrepancies to the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General and to the Federal Trade Commission.
If necessary, the Social Security Administration may change your Social Security number. However, changing your number will be done only as a last resort when a very specific set of criteria have been met. Contact the Social Security Administration directly to determine the best course of action for you.
Office of the Inspector GeneralSocial Security Administration 269-0271
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Self Lock Helps Protect You From Employment
Self Lock is the unique feature that lets you protect your identity in E-Verify and Self Check by placing a “lock” on your Social Security number . This helps prevent anyone else from using your SSN to try to get a job with an E-Verify employer. If an employer enters your locked SSN in E-Verify to confirm employment authorization, it will result in an E-Verify mismatch, called a Tentative Nonconfirmation . With Self Lock, you are always in control – you can unlock your SSN any time a new employer needs to verify your employment authorization in E-Verify. Your Self Lock remains active as long as your account remains valid and you have not unlocked your SSN. The Self Lock feature is only available to myE-Verify account holders.
Protect Your Social Security Number
The Social Security Number is the most frequently used record-keeping number in America. It is used to report earnings for future Social Security benefits, by financial institutions and credit bureaus for accounting and data systems, and by government agencies to record Medicare, Medicaid and unemployment benefits. Unfortunately, SSNs are also used fraudulently by ID thieves to get credit and jobs. To protect yourself:
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Signs That Your Social Security Number Has Been Stolen
There are a few red flags to watch for that can indicate someones gotten ahold of your SSN and used it. One sign is that your credit score drops without any plausible explanation. Another is that your bank account has mysterious charges or withdrawals. You also may see suspicious emails or mail arrive at your home.
Its important to take note of these occurrences and investigate them further, not write them off. You may find it helpful to sign up with a credit-monitoring program offered by one of the main credit bureaus to keep tabs on your score. Also, try to get into the habit of regularly checking your bank balances online and reviewing new transactions to ensure you were the one who made them.
Another popular scam happens when thieves steal someones SSN and use it to get a job or receive a paycheck. If this happens, you may start to receive mailed notices from the Internal Revenue Service . Its important to note that the IRS will never call you. If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, this is likely a scam, and you shouldnt divulge any personal information. You may, however, start to receive calls from credit agencies or debt collectors notifying you about accounts that are past due, and these may be legitimate calls. These fraudulent accounts may have been opened in your name without your knowledge.
How Lifelock Id Theft Protection Works
It only takes a few minutes to enroll.
We look for threats to your identity.
We alert you of potential threats by text, email, phone or mobile app.
If you become a victim of identity theft, a U.S.-based Identity Restoration Specialist will work to fix it.
We’ll reimburse funds stolen due to identity theft up to the limit of your plan.
Screen may be modified for demonstration purposes and subject to change.
Up to $1 million for coverage for lawyers and experts, collectively, if needed, for all plans. Reimbursement and Expense Compensation, each with limits of up to $1 million for Ultimate Plus, up to $100,000 for Advantage and up to $25,000 for Standard. Benefits under the Master Policy are issued and covered by third party insurance companies.
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Take Action If You Are A Victim
There are steps you can take if your Social Security number or other personal information is compromised.
If your Social Security number is compromised and you know or suspect you are a victim of tax-related identity theft, the IRS recommends these actions:
- Respond immediately to any IRS notice: Call the number provided.
- If your e-filed return is rejected because of a duplicate filing under your Social Security number, or if the IRS instructs you to do so, complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft AffidavitPDF. Use a fillable form at IRS.gov, print, then attach the form to your return and mail your return according to instructions.
- Visit IdentityTheft.gov for steps you should take right away to protect yourself and your financial accounts.
See Identity Theft Victim Assistance: How It Works for more information about how the IRS can help you.
If you previously contacted the IRS and did not have a resolution, contact us for specialized assistance at . We have teams standing by to help you.
If you believe someone has filed a fraudulent return in your name, you can get a copy of the return. See Instructions for Requesting a Copy of Fraudulent Returns.
Not all data breaches or computer hacks result in tax-related identity theft. Its important to know what type of personal information was stolen.
You can report other suspicious online or emailing phishing scams to .