If you’re worried about Social Security Fraud, the first thing you need to ask yourself is: how could someone have gotten my Social Security Number? For example, if you lost your Social Security card in a wallet, or if you know that your credit file (including your SSN) was exposed in a data breach on a website, then you already know that your information may have already leaked. Even If you’re not aware of any leaks, that doesn’t mean no one may have your SSN — but if you DO know of a leak, you know that there’s a definite possibility that someone does. Here we share some of the early warning signs that someone may be using your Social Security Number.
- Calls or letters from creditors or collection agents for debts you’re not familiar with or don’t recognize might be from someone else who has a hold of your SSN
- Banks or credit card companies following up on payment arrangements or credit confirmation letter for loans you did not take out are also a significant indicator of fraudulent activity
- A sudden unexplained change (either positive or negative) in your credit score
- Errors when attempting to file income tax with the IRS
- Updated Social Security reports that show an incorrect level of salary or hours of employment for a quarter
- Bills or financial mail not showing up in your mailbox may be an indication that the thief has redirected it to their address
- Unauthorized transactions on your bank account or credit cards
- You get tax documents such as tax transcripts from the IRS that you did not request
- If you receive a tax refund before you’ve even filed your taxes, then the thief could be hoping to steal it out of your mailbox
- If mail goes missing, it could be because the thief is taking it from your mailbox
- Your implored informs you there is a problem with your Social Security Number when they are doing their paperwork and tax filings
- You get two-factor authorization requests that you did not submit
- You see small “test charges” on your credit or debit accounts
- You start getting advertisements for high-end items like cars, boats, and home improvement loans because there has been high-ticket activity on your accounts
Some of these signs aren’t always accurate and could be the result of clerical error or the regular operation of the system. For instance, your credit score might go up because you paid all your bills this month, and you may get a flier for a home improvement loan because a lender is sending them out to everybody. However, it is still best to follow up on anything unusual or abnormal that happens on here accounts, so that you can figure out why the event occurred. If there doesn’t seem to be a reasonable explanation for a cause, then it’s almost sure that your Social Security Number has been compromised.
To check the activity relating to your Social Security Number, you can get a Social Security statement. The Social Security Administration maintains an online service that lets you find out what you have paid into Social Security, how many hours of work your employers have reported each quarter, and what your expected benefits would be if you were to retire or go on disability in the near future. By requesting your Social Security statement, you can check these figures against your last statement and against what paid work you have been doing recently to quickly see if someone else has been logging hours to your Social Security account.
If you’re looking for protection against Social Security fraud, why not have a look through our list of the top Identity Protection services here. With these 24/7 companies, you can set your mind at ease and have the worry-free life you deserve.