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What Should I Do If Someone Gets Ahold of My Social Security Number?

Graham Cook  — May 11, 2019

There’s nothing new about fraud and theft. However, with the advancement of modern technology, it is much easier to take advantage of people these days. From mobile banking to employee payroll, our society shares a great deal of sensitive information on the Internet.

Of course, there are criminals who steal the old-fashioned way, as well. Many people wonder about what to do if someone gets my Social Security number. No matter how your information was compromised, there are steps you should take in order to do damage control.

Take Inventory

Once you realize that someone has access to your Social Security number, you should act quickly. Thieves usually work fast in order to avoid detection. Their goal is to rob you before you have a chance to alert anyone. The very first thing you should do is notify your banking and credit institutions of the incident.

Next, you should take note of everything that is at risk. Cancel your credit/debit cards and put a hold on any online accounts that make regular withdrawals. In addition to your basic information, most companies only require the last few digits of your Social Security number in order to verify identity.

If the thieves have your personal information as well, then this will be easy for them. It is also possible to put a “freeze” on your Social Security number. When this is in place, no one can open any new lines of credit using your name. Don’t be afraid to be vigilant and meticulous. Any gaps may leave you susceptible to even more problems.

Protect Yourself

After you have fully assessed the damage, you should consider methods of protection to reduce the risk of it happening again. There are several different ways to protect your information.

For example, if you usually keep your Social Security card in your wallet, you may want to re-think this. Most people have their Social Security number memorized, which means you only need the actual card for special situations. It is much safer to have this card in a separate, secure location.

You should also be in habit of using a shredder to dispose of any paperwork that includes sensitive information. Another strategy to consider is identity protection services. These professionals can monitor your information and report any changes or suspicious activity. They can also track your credit regularly avoid any problems in the future.

Falling victim to thieves is a horrible experience. Once you have gone through this violation, it can wreck your sense of trust and safety. As frustrating as this is, however, it can also be a valuable learning opportunity.

Criminals must adjust their methods all the time. This is how they are able to spot vulnerabilities and steal from others. Do not wait to learn what to do if someone gets my Social Security number. This mistake can cost you a lot of money. It can also affect your future goals and take away your peace of mind.