My Social Security Number Was Stolen – Now What Do I Do?
Every day, database security breaches occur every day and normally involve the loss or theft of Social Security numbers to the point that millions throughout the country may have been compromised.
Many states have adopted laws that require businesses to notify consumers when a data breach has occurred. In addition, financial institutions covered by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, a federal law designed to protect consumers, must adopt procedures that safeguard data and they must notify customers when data has been accessed in an unauthorized manner.
For many consumers, receiving notification that their Social Security number has been stolen can be frightening and confusing. If this has happened to you, there is every possibility you are concerned about your identity and want to know what your next steps should be.
Enroll in Identity Theft Protection
The most common criminal activity thieves engage in when they obtain stolen Social Security information is to use the number to open credit in the name of the person’s whose card was stolen.
In some cases, the company or financial institution may offer such protection on a limited basis for free as an apology to the consumer for the data breach. If this is the case, accept the free offer, but continue to monitor your credit file as identity-theft protection is not foolproof.
Place a Fraud Alert on Your Credit File
As a consumer, you have the right to request the three credit bureaus to place a 90-day fraud alert on your file.
This will require anyone who attempts to open a new account using your Social Security number to take additional steps, such as providing photo identification when opening accounts. You can actually notify just one of the bureaus and they will take care of notifying the other two.
Place a Security Freeze on Your Credit File
Placing a security freeze on your credit file prevents the credit bureaus from giving out any information without your express permission.
Although this can be frustrating when you are legitimately attempting to get credit, it keeps thieves from using your credit fraudulently.
Contact the Social Security Administration
Even if you are not collecting benefits, you should notify the Social Security Administration of the theft. There have been recent reports of illegal immigrants using stolen Social Security information to obtain work papers and other documents.
These actions will not appear on your credit report, but should the person using your information be arrested, your Social Security number may be used as part of the police report, causing significant problems for you in the future. In addition, you should report the theft to the Internal Revenue Service and to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
This may prevent the thief from using your Social Security number to file fraudulent tax returns or get a job using your number. If someone obtains employment using your number, you could face additional tax penalties as it will appear as if you are not claiming all the income you earned.
The theft of your Social Security number can be frightening. If you have been the victim of a stolen Social Security number, contact the Law Offices Of Georgette Miller and Associates today to learn what rights you may have. Arrange your free consultation by completing the simple form on our website or calling us at 1-866-96-GMLAW.