Social Security: When someone misuses your number
Your Social Security number is personal to you. It is the key to your Social Security earnings record and you’re the only person with that Social Security number. When someone misuses your number, it generally means they’re pretending to be you-they assume your identity. And when someone pretends to be you, they can wreak havoc with your life.
If you think you are victim of identity theft, this leaflet explains:
*how you can find out if someone is using your number to work
*what you should do to report this misuse
*what to do if you have credit problems because someone used your Social Security number to obtain credit
*how to get a new Social Security number
It may be easy to steal your number:
You may not realize how easy it is for someone to get access to information about you. Identity thieves get your personal information by:
*stealing wallets and purses, your mail (bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers, telephone calling cards and tax information):
*stealing personal information you provide to an unsecured site on the Internet from business or personal records at work and personal information in your home.
*rummaging through your trash and business trash for personal data
*posing as someone who legitimately and legally need information about you such as employers and landlords
*buying personal information from ‘inside’ sources
Be careful with your Social Security number and card to prevent their theft. Show your card to your employer when you start a job, so your records are correct. Then, put it in a safe place-don’t carry your card with you.
Is someone misusing your number?
Do you suspect that someone is using your number? You may have noticed unexplained charges on your phone bill or credit card statement. Maybe your wallet or purse was stolen.
One way to find out whether someone is using your number to work is to check your earning record. If you’re age 25 or older and not already receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll automatically receive a Social Security Statement each year. The Statement lists earnings posted to your Social Security record and provides an estimate of benefits you and your family may be eligible to receive now and in the future. You should receive your statement about three months before your birth month.
If you don’t receive a statement, you can ask for one by submitting a Request for Social Security Statement (Form 7004). To get a Form 7004:
*Download the form from the Internet at http://www.ssa.gov/online/ssa-7004-pdf.
*Call our toll-free number 1-800-772-1213
*Visit your local Social Security Office
After you complete the form and return it to us, you can expect to receive your statement in 4 to 6 weeks You should call and tell us right away if there are any errors or if you have any of the problems listed below:
*You have missing or incorrect earnings. If possible, have your W-2 or tax return for those years available.
*Your name is listed incorrectly. We’ll need to see a document with your name spelled correctly.
*Your date of birth is listed incorrectly. We’ll need current identification and an original source document-such as your birth certificate indicating the correct date.
What should I do to report that someone is using my Social Security number?
You should report this information to the Social Security Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271. Depending on the circumstances of your particular care, we may open an investigation. Even if we don’t investigate, we’re interested in learning how your Social Security number has been used by someone.
What if I have credit problems?
If someone has used your Social Security number to get credit, Social Security cannot fix your credit record. To resolve your credit problems, you need to:
*Immediately contact the creditors who approved the credit (follow up with a letter).
*File a police report.
*Contact the fraud department of the major credit bureaus.
*Ask to have a flag placed on your record, requiring creditors to contact your before approving additional credit using your name and number. Ask how long the flag is posted on your account and how you can extend it, if necessary.
*Add a victim’s statement to your report; include your name, state the problem and provide a telephone number where you can be reached.
*Request a copy of your credit report from each major credit bureau and check for signs of fraudulent activity. If you’ve been denied credit, you may be entitled to a free copy of your report. If you haven’t been denied credit, the most you can be charged is $8.00.
The major credit reporting agencies are:
Report fraud: 1-800-525-6285
Order a credit report: (800) 685-1111
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Report fraud: 1-888-397-3742
Order a credit report:
(888) EXPERIAN (397-3742)
P.O. Box 1017
Allen, TX 75013-0949
Report fraud: 1-800-680-7289
Order a credit report: (800) 916-8800
Fraud Victim Assistance Department
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834
To remove incorrect information from your records, you should contact and follow up with a letter with each involved:
You’ll want to check your credit report annually for errors. Keep copies of:
*records of your telephone calls and
*other documents showing your efforts to correct the problem.
Can I get a new Social Security number?
If you can prove that you’re being disadvantaged because someone used your Social Security number, visit your local Social Security office to request a new one. If you’ve done all you can yo fix the problem and someone is still using your number, under certain circumstances, we may assign you a new number. We can’t guarantee, however, that a new number will solve your problem.
A new Social Security number will NOT be assigned to you:
*intend to avoid the law or your legal responsibility.
*commit fraud or a criminal action.
*intend to avoid disclosing a poor credit or criminal record.
*file for bankruptcy.
*have lost your Social Security card or it was stolen but there is no evidence that your number is being used by someone and you’re being disadvantaged by that use.
Can I do anything else?
You can file a complaint about identity theft with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Information your provide can help the FTC and other law enforcement agencies track, investigate and prosecute identity thieves. You can file a complaint with the FTC by:
or write to:
Identity Theft Clearinghouse
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20580
Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from the Social Security Administration pamphlet and I give them full credit for the information. Please call or email the above numbers for more information on what can help.