How To Protect Yourself from Identity Theft and Social Security Number Fraud
One type of identity theft that is particularly concerning is social security identity theft. Imagine that someone has stolen your identity and is using it to open bank accounts, apply for loans, and claim government benefits in your name. How would you feel? How would you stop them? How would you restore your reputation and credit score? This is the reality for millions of people who have fallen victim to social security identity theft, a type of identity theft that involves the misuse of your social security number (SSN).
Social security numbers (SSNs) are used for a wide range of purposes, including employment, credit applications, and government benefits. If a thief obtains someone’s SSN, they can use it to commit a variety of fraudulent activities, including opening bank accounts, obtaining loans, and filing for government benefits. In this article, we will explore what social security identity theft is, how it occurs, how to prevent it, and what to do if your SSN has been stolen.
Social security identity theft occurs when someone steals or obtains another person’s SSN without their consent and uses it for fraudulent purposes. This type of identity theft can be particularly devastating because SSNs are used as a primary form of identification in many areas of life, from getting a job to obtaining a driver’s license.
Stolen SSNs can enable identity thieves to:
- Open credit accounts in your name
- Apply for loans with your information
- File for government benefits that you are entitled to
How Can Social Security Identity Theft Occur?
Social Security identity theft can occur in several ways, including:
Fraudsters send fake emails or create fake websites that look legitimate, tricking victims into providing their personal information.
Hackers gain unauthorized access to a company or organization’s database, stealing personal information of customers.
The perpetrator pretends to be someone else, like a representative from a bank or government agency, to obtain sensitive information.
Thieves use special devices to collect credit or debit card information when a victim uses their card to make a purchase.
Synthetic Identity Theft
The perpetrator uses a combination of real and fake information to create a new identity, often using a victim’s social security number
A thief steals a wallet or purse containing personal identification, including a social security card.
These types of social security identity theft are thoroughly detailed below. Stick with us.
Criminals aim to steal Social Security number or SSN card of another person. Thieves can use this information to open credit card accounts, take out loans, or commit other types of fraud in the victim’s name. It is important not to carry your SSN card in your wallet, for just this reason.
It’s important to note that these types of social security identity theft can overlap or be used in combination to commit fraud. It’s essential to take preventive measures and monitor your personal information regularly to protect yourself from becoming a victim. Prevent SSN fraud. If you suspect that someone has stolen your Social Security Number (SSN).
What Can Social Security Identity Theft Cause?
Identity theft causes long-lasting consequences for victims. Legal Yogi offers free legal consultations and resources for people who have experienced identity theft, specifically in regard to their Social Security number. We provide guidance on protecting oneself from further theft and navigating the legal system.
There could be several other motives for Social Security identity theft that don’t involve money, such as:
Serious consequences caused by Social Security Identity Theft
How Social Security Identity Theft Differs From Other Types of Identity Theft
While social security identity theft is a type of identity theft, it differs from other types in several ways. For example, credit card fraud involves using someone’s credit card without their permission, whereas social security identity theft involves stealing someone’s SSN and using it for fraudulent activities. Additionally, identity theft that occurs through data breaches involves thieves accessing databases containing personal information and using it for fraudulent purposes, whereas social security identity theft involves thieves targeting an individual’s SSN specifically.
Prevalence of Social Security Identity Theft
Social security identity theft is a growing problem in the United States. Preventing SSN fraud is crucial for safeguarding personal information and preventing financial damage. According to a report by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there were 371,061 reported cases of identity theft related to government documents or benefits in 2020, which includes social security identity theft. This represents a 66% increase from 2019. The FTC also reports that government document or benefit fraud was the most common type of identity theft reported in 2020. Here are four statistics on the prevalence of Social Security identity theft:
- According to a 2021 report by the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft was the most common type of consumer complaint received, with Imposter Scams being the second most common consumer complaint. Consumer Affairs says in 2021 there were 395,000 people experienced government documents or benefits fraud.
- The same report found that younger people reported losing money to fraud more often than older people (43% of people aged 20-29, vs 23% of people aged 70-79). But when people aged 70+ had a loss, the median loss was much higher (Average median loss of $548 for people aged 20-29, average loss of $1,000 for people aged 70-79, and an average median loss of $1,674 for people over the age of 80.
- In 2021 fraud complaints increased 19% for the year, to more than 5.8 million. Financial losses from fraud rose 77% from the previous year, to more than $6.1 billion. The number of consumer identity theft complaints rose 3.3% to just over 1.43 million in 2021.
These statistics demonstrate that Social Security identity theft is a prevalent issue that affects many individuals in the United States. It’s important to take preventative measures to protect oneself from the potentially devastating consequences of identity theft.
Common Scenarios in Which Social Security Identity Theft Occurs
Social Security fraud is a serious crime that can result in fines, imprisonment, and significant financial harm to victims. There are several common scenarios in which social security identity theft can occur.
One way is through phishing scams, where thieves send emails or text messages that appear to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The messages typically contain a link or attachment that, when clicked, installs malware on the victim’s device or prompts the victim to enter personal information, such as their SSN.
Another way that social security identity theft can occur is through pretexting, where a thief pretends to be someone else to obtain personal information. For example, a thief might call a victim and pretend to be from their bank, asking for their SSN to “verify their account.” This is also known as social engineering, and thieves commonly spoof their phone number, to appear as a call from a legitimate source.
Skimming is another common method used to steal SSNs. Skimming involves stealing personal information, including SSNs, from credit cards or other forms of identification using a small electronic device called a skimmer.
Signs of Social Security Identity Theft
It is important to be aware of the signs of social security identity theft so that you can take action if you suspect that your SSN has been stolen. Some common signs include:
- Receiving unexpected bills or invoices for goods or services you did not purchase
- Seeing unfamiliar accounts on your credit report
- Receiving calls from debt collectors for debts that are not yours
- Being denied credit or loans for no apparent reason
- Receiving notifications that your SSN has been used to apply for government benefits you did not request
Acts to Protect Yourself
It’s important to act quickly. Your SSN is a unique identifier that provides access to sensitive personal information, including financial and credit-related data. The following steps can help you protect yourself and your financial well-being.
First, review the earnings posted to your Social Security Statement. The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides an annual statement of earnings and benefits that you can review to ensure the accuracy of the information reported. If you notice any discrepancies or inconsistencies, report them to the SSA immediately. You can do this online, by phone, or in person at your local Social Security office.
Next, contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if you believe someone is using your SSN to file false tax returns or commit other tax-related crimes. The IRS has a dedicated identity theft hotline (1-800-908-4490) and online resources to help victims of identity theft. You should also consider filing a police report to document the crime and protect yourself from future legal repercussions.
One of the most important steps you can take is to order free credit reports annually from the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. By checking your credit reports regularly, you can monitor for any unauthorized activity or accounts opened in your name. You can request a free copy of your credit report from each bureau once per year through the Annual Credit Report Request Form (Disclaimer) or by calling 1-877-322-8228.
Finally, report the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) using their online Identity Theft webpage. The FTC offers guidance on how to report identity theft, steps to take to minimize the damage, and resources for recovery. By reporting the crime, you can help law enforcement agencies track down and prosecute the person responsible for the theft.
Identity theft can have long-lasting consequences and it can be difficult to recover on your own. By contacting our business, you have taken an important step towards protecting your personal information and restoring your identity. Our team of legal experts is dedicated to helping identity theft victims navigate the legal system and recover from this crime. Together, we can work towards a solution and help you regain control of your life.
RECAP and more DETAILS: Steps to Take If Your Social Security Number Has Been Stolen:
According to the FTC, they received 2.8 million fraud reports from consumers, which is a 70 percent increase over 2020 to more than 5.8 billion.
- Review Your Social Security Statement: Check the earnings posted on your Social Security Statement for any inconsistencies or fraudulent activity.
- Contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS): If you suspect that someone is using your SSN to work or commit tax fraud, contact the IRS at 1-800-908-4490 or visit their website.
- Order Free Credit Reports: Request free credit reports annually from the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to monitor any unauthorized activity on your credit. You can make a single request for all three credit bureau reports at the Annual Credit Report Request Form or by calling 1-877-322-8228.
- File a Police Report: File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place. This can help you establish a record of the theft and provide evidence if necessary.
- Report Identity Theft to the FTC: Report identity theft at the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft webpage. This will create a record of the incident and help law enforcement agencies investigate and prosecute the identity thief.
How Legal Yogi Can Help
Legal Yogi is a professional resource site that provides free legal consultations for identity theft. If your Social Security number has been stolen, Legal Yogi can help you understand your legal options and provide guidance on how to protect yourself from further identity theft. Their team of legal experts can also help you file police reports, contact credit bureaus, and navigate the legal system if necessary. Additionally, they provide a wealth of resources and information on identity theft prevention, so you can take proactive steps to safeguard your personal information.
In addition to the above steps, there are several additional measures you can take to protect your identity and personal information. These include:
- Shredding documents containing personal information before discarding them.
- Using strong, unique passwords for all your online accounts.
- Avoiding sharing personal information, such as your SSN, with anyone who doesn’t have a legitimate need for it.
- Monitoring your financial accounts regularly for any suspicious activity.
- Considering a credit freeze or fraud alert to prevent new accounts from being opened in your name.
Overall, it’s important to act quickly and decisively if you suspect your SSN has been stolen. By taking the steps outlined above, you can protect your identity, minimize the damage, and take steps toward recovery.
Identity theft is a growing concern in today’s digital age, with Social Security Numbers (SSNs) being one of the most valuable pieces of personal information for identity thieves. It’s essential to take preventative measures to protect your SSN and minimize the risk of identity theft. Here are some steps you can take to prevent social security identity theft:
The Emotion of Being Victimized
Social security identity theft can have a significant emotional toll on victims. It can be a stressful and overwhelming experience to discover that your personal and financial information has been stolen and used fraudulently. Victims may experience a range of emotions, including anger, frustration, fear, and anxiety.
In addition to the practical steps of recovering from social security identity theft, it’s important for victims to take care of their emotional well-being. This may include seeking support from loved ones or a professional counselor, practicing self-care and stress-management techniques, and taking time to address any negative emotions that arise. It’s also important for victims to remember that they are not alone and that there are resources available to help them navigate this difficult situation. By addressing the emotional toll of social security identity theft in addition to the practical aspects, victims can work toward a full recovery and regain a sense of control over their lives.
Prevention and Protection
It’s important you recognize your vulnerability to social security identity theft.
Signs that you may be at risk for SSN theft
- Your Social Security card has been lost or stolen.
- Your Social Security number was shared with several people or organizations.
- You accidentally responded to unsolicited requests for your personal information.
- In the past, you have been a victim of other types of identity theft.
- You’re starting to notice unauthorized charges on your credit card or bank account.
- The IRS has notified you that someone has filed a tax return in your name.
By recognizing these vulnerabilities, individuals can act right away to protect themselves from social security identity theft.
Steps to follow after being a victim of SSN Identity Theft:
SSN Identity Theft Repercussions
Social security identity theft can have serious consequences, including damage to your credit score, loss of money or property, and difficulty obtaining loans or credit in the future.
Identity Theft Restoration
The process of recovering from social security identity theft can be time-consuming and complex and may require working with law enforcement, credit bureaus, and financial institutions.
You may need to monitor your credit reports and financial accounts closely for months or even years after the incident to ensure that your information is secure and that no further unauthorized activity occurs.
You may need to take additional steps, such as placing a fraud alert or credit freeze on your credit reports, to prevent further fraud from occurring.
By understanding these finer points of social security identity theft, victims can take action to mitigate the damage and prevent future incidents. It’s important to act quickly and diligently to protect your personal and financial information and to seek assistance from trusted resources such as the FTC and SSA.
Tips to secure your personal information
- Safeguard your SSN: The first step is to safeguard your SSN and other personal information. Never share your SSN with anyone unless it’s necessary, such as when applying for credit or employment.
- Secure location: Keep your SSN card in a secure location and don’t carry it with you unless you need it. Additionally, don’t provide your personal information on websites or emails that you don’t trust, and be wary of phone scams.
- Monitor your credit reports: It’s essential to monitor your credit reports regularly for any signs of identity theft. You can request free credit reports from the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, once a year. Review the reports carefully and report any suspicious activity or errors immediately.
- Be cautious of suspicious emails or phone calls: Be careful when responding to unsolicited emails or phone calls, especially those requesting personal information. Scammers often use tactics like phishing to trick people into giving out their SSN or other sensitive information.
- Use strong passwords: Use strong and unique passwords for all your online accounts. Avoid using simple passwords like your birthdate or pet’s name. Instead, use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts and consider using a password manager to keep track of your passwords.
- Enable banking alerts: Almost all banks have settings that will enable you to receive alerts (either by email or txt typically) whenever a charge is made, or security settings are changed, or whenever a wire transfer is initiated.
- Enable two-factor authentication: Many online services offer two-factor authentication as an additional layer of security. Two-factor authentication requires you to enter a unique code or provide a biometric scan in addition to your password when logging into an account. This helps to prevent unauthorized access to your accounts, even if your password is compromised.
Can Your Social Security Number be Used for Identity Theft?
Yes, someone can steal your identity with your Social Security number (SSN). In fact, SSN theft is one of the most common types of identity theft.
If a thief obtains your SSN, they can use it to apply for credit cards, loans, and other financial accounts in your name. They can also use it to apply for government benefits, such as Social Security or Medicare, or to obtain employment using their identity. Additionally, they can use your SSN to file a fraudulent tax return and claim a refund, leaving you to deal with the repercussions.
Identity theft can cause significant financial and emotional harm, so it’s essential to take steps to protect your SSN and other personal information. Protect social security number by:
- Keeping your SSN confidential – Don’t carry your Social Security card with you, and only provide your SSN when necessary.
- Monitoring your credit reports – Check your credit reports regularly for any suspicious activity, such as new accounts or inquiries you didn’t initiate.
- Using strong passwords – Use unique, strong passwords for all your online accounts, and enable two-factor authentication when possible.
- Being cautious with your personal information – Be cautious when sharing personal information online, and don’t provide sensitive information over the phone or in response to unsolicited emails or text messages.
- Shredding sensitive documents – Shred any documents that contain personal information before throwing them away.
By taking these precautions, you can reduce your risk of identity theft and protect yourself from the consequences of SSN theft.
If you suspect your SSN has been stolen or used fraudulently:
It’s essential to act immediately and make your social security identity theft report. Here are some resources for reporting and recovering from social security identity theft:
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): The FTC offers a one-stop-shop for reporting identity theft and getting help with recovery. You can file a report with the FTC online http://www.ftc.gov/idtheft or by phone (1-877-438-4338), and they will provide you with a recovery plan tailored to your situation.
- Contact the Social Security Administration (SSA): If you suspect that someone is using your SSN to work, the SSA can help you report the fraudulent activity and protect your benefits. You can contact the SSA by phone (1-800-269-0271) and submit a report online at http://oig.ssa.gov/or in person at your local Social Security office.
- Place a fraud alert or credit freeze: You can place a fraud alert on your credit reports to alert lenders and credit bureaus that you may be a victim of identity theft. A credit freeze, on the other hand, restricts access to your credit report, making it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name.
In addition to these resources, here are four best practices for avoiding SSN fraud:
- Don’t carry your SSN card with you: Instead, keep it in a secure location, like a safe or lockbox.
- Shred documents containing personal information: Don’t throw away documents like bank statements or credit card offers without shredding them first. This helps prevent identity thieves from retrieving personal information from the trash.
- Beware of public Wi-Fi: Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks for sensitive transactions, such as online banking, as they may not be secure.
- Keep your devices up to date: Keep your computer, phone, and other devices up-to-date with the latest security updates and patches. This helps to prevent hackers from exploiting vulnerabilities in your devices.
- Use a unique password for every website that you use, and do not use insecure passwords such as your birthday or pet’s name.
If you’re a victim of identity theft and need legal assistance, take the first step towards regaining control of your situation by contacting Legal Yogi today. With free legal consultations, expert guidance, and resources for prevention, Legal Yogi can provide the support you need to protect your identity and regain your peace of mind. Don’t wait any longer, take action now and start your journey toward recovery with Legal Yogi.
What Legal Yogi Has to Offer to the SSN Fraud Victims
Legal Yogi offers up to four free legal consultations, which can be helpful for individuals who may not have the financial means to hire a lawyer. We also ensure:
- Access to legal experts: Experts who can offer advice and guidance on how to protect oneself from further identity theft and navigate the legal system if necessary. You can find social security identity theft Lawyers near you or in your area.
- Assistance with paperwork: Legal Yogi can help identity theft victims file police reports, contact credit bureaus, and fill out necessary paperwork, so victims don’t feel overwhelmed.
- Resources for prevention: Legal Yogi offers a wealth of resources and information on identity theft prevention, which can help individuals take proactive steps to prevent SSN fraud.
- Ongoing support and communication throughout the legal process, including assistance with navigating the legal system if necessary. You are never alone through this process.
It’s important to note that the specific services may vary depending on your individual situation and level of damage, but Legal Yogi will strive to provide comprehensive support and assistance to all clients.
Additional value-added services /features
We will help alleviate some of the stress and burden that identity theft victims experience and get the support you need to navigate this difficult situation.
There is a range of value-added services beyond those mentioned here. Providing comprehensive support to individuals who have been victims of identity theft.
With Legal Yogi a positive transformation for identity theft victims is likely, giving you the tools and resources needed to recover from the trauma of identity theft and regain control over your life.
BENEFITS of Getting Help from Legal Yogi
Legal protection and advocacy: Legal Yogi’s legal experts can offer advice and guidance on how to protect oneself from further identity theft and advocate for the victim’s legal rights.
- Reduced stress and anxiety: Dealing with the aftermath of identity theft can be overwhelming and stressful. Naturally, working with Legal Yogi can alleviate some of this stress by providing support and assistance with paperwork.
- Financial recovery: Legal Yogi can help identity theft victims file claims and recover stolen funds, which can be transformative in helping victims regain financial stability.
- Save money and time by comparing the best offers and services for your Legal needs.
- Empowerment: By working with Legal Yogi, victims can regain a sense of control over their situation and take proactive steps to prevent future theft.
What do Our Clients Say About Us?
“I was devastated when I found out someone had stolen my identity and ruined my credit. I felt like I had no control over my life. Legal Yogi helped me get a great lawyer to restored my credit and identity and gave me peace of mind. They are awesome and I can recommend their service.”— Brandon Carter
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FAQ About Identity Theft
How can I find a reputable lawyer who specializes in Social Security identity theft near me?
Finding a reputable lawyer who specializes in Social Security identity theft can be challenging, but there are several ways to do it. One option is to ask for recommendations from trusted friends or family members who have been in a similar situation, another option is to search for attorneys in your area who specialize in identity theft or consumer protection law. Resolve social security identity theft today.
What legal options do I have if my Social Security number has been used fraudulently?
You can report the fraud to the Federal Trade Commission and the Social Security Agency. You may also want to file a police report and contact your bank if any accounts have been opened or used fraudulently. Additionally, you can also consult with an attorney to explore the possibility of taking legal action against the perpetrator.
Can a lawyer help me get my stolen Social Security number replaced?
Yes, a lawyer can assist you in the process of replacing your stolen Social Security number. Of course, they can provide guidance on the necessary steps to take, such as contacting the Social Security Administration, providing documentation of the theft, and obtaining a new Social Security number.
Can a lawyer assist me in recovering any financial losses resulting from Social Security identity theft?
Yes, a lawyer can help you recover financial losses resulting from Social Security identity theft. They can assist you in filing a claim with the appropriate authorities, such as the Social Security Administration or credit reporting agencies, and pursue legal action against the perpetrator.
What is the process for resolving Social Security identity theft with the SSA?
Naturally, the process involves first reporting the theft and providing documented proof you’re a victim of identity theft and fraud. Contact other agencies, such as Equifax and law enforcement to provide and also gather additional information. The SSA can investigate and work to resolve the issue. This may include issuing a new Social Security number and correcting your earnings record. You may want your social security locked, and by calling the Social Security Administration you can have electronic access to your SSN blocked. If you would like to contact the Social Security Administration, call 1-800-772-1213.
Is there a statute of limitation on taking legal action against SSN theft?
Well, the statute of limitations for taking legal action against SSN theft varies depending on your state and some specific circumstances of your case. Each act may have its own statute. It’s best to get legal advice from an attorney to determine your options and any applicable time limits for taking legal action.