Identity Theft: What to do When Someone Steals Your Social Security Number
There are certain steps you need to take if you are a victim of identity theft. Stolen Social Security numbers (SSN) are the main target of identity theft.
How to Find Out if You are a Victim of Identity Theft
A stolen Social Security Number might be used as much as 30 times for identity theft to illegally get jobs.
If you have to file for unemployment benefits, your state labor board will at some point find out that there are other wages in your name and SSN that might not be yours and notify you of this, possibly in the same state or another state.
A woman in Chicago applied for a job and found out that someone was already using her Social Security number, at the same company she applied for a job.
Collection agencies writing or calling you with debts that are not yours is a good sign you are a victim of identity theft.
And worst of all, you might have the police tell you that there is a warrant out for your arrest for something you didn’t do.
Check your credit reports at least once a year and make sure there are no open or closed accounts that are not yours. The article How to Get Your Free Credit Report and Fix It will help.
All of us get a Social Security statement of wages usually a month or so before our birthday; make sure nothing looks out of place.
Steps to Take When Someone Steals your Social Security Number and Commits Identity Theft
There are specific steps you need to take once you find out you’re a victim of identity theft. Keep detailed notes of all phone conversations and names of people you talk to.
It is helpful if you can get the persons name who is using your Social Security number. Your state labor board will know if this person used your social security number to get a job. Sometimes a state labor board will give you the name and other times they will not.
If this person who stole your identity is in another state, call that state’s labor department and report this to them. If they do not give you the person’s name who stole your identity, tell them that you need it to file the police report; they still might refuse to give you their name.
If you do get the name of the thief who stole your SSN and business where they are currently working, do not call the person or business. The manager or owner will then confront the identity thief and that person will disappear and use your Social Security Number at some other time and place.
Now you need to file a police report in the city where this person who stole your identity is using it at work and or living in. For example, if you live in Butte, Montana and you find out that someone in Dallas, Texas is using your Social Security Number, you need to file the report with the Dallas Police Department. Have them mail you a copy of this report; you might need it in the future.
Next, file a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC); you can do this online, telephone or regular mail. This report will then be forwarded to hundreds of civil and police agencies, hopefully so it doesn’t happen to you again. You can file the report at Filing a Complaint with the FTC.
Then you need to request your Social Security Statement (form SSA-7005) to verify the wages and earnings are accurate and only your wages. Request the SSA at Social Security Statement.
Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 if you believe that someone is using your Social Security Number to obtain jobs or if you have received a notice from the IRS concerning unreported wages that are not yours.
The Social Security Department can work with the IRS when it comes to wages and earnings that are not yours. Social Security cannot straighten out problems when it comes to credit reports though.
If you believe your identity theft is because of a cyber crime on the internet, you can report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) which then forwards it to local and federal law agencies.
Credit reporting agencies
You can also put a fraud alert on your credit reports. You only have to contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies, once one is contacted about the fraud alert, they are required to contact the other two. You can contact them at the following phone numbers and addresses. Once you report the fraud, you are entitled to free credit reports from each of the credit reporting agencies.
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Experian: 1-888-397-3742; P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013
Children and Identity Theft
Identity theft of children’s Social Security numbers is becoming a big problem. Thieves are stealing and using children’s SSN because usually they are not found out until years later when that child is old enough to start working or apply for credit. Check your children’s Social Security Statements to make sure they are not being used.
SSN and No Taxes Taken Out
Another worry is when someone has stolen your SSN to get a job, but they are being paid under the table without Social Security or taxes being taken out. Then this will not show up in the usual places. Continue to check your credit reports and Social Security statements yearly for anything unusual.
What Should be Done to Stop Identity Theft
I was told that many police departments are overwhelmed with this problem and hopefully will catch and arrest the thief before they can use your Social Security Number and commit identity theft again somewhere else.
By federal law, businesses are supposed to check and verify everyone they hire to make sure the Social Security numbers match the ID and name. From my recent experiences, many businesses are not doing this. If businesses in the US would abide by this law, maybe there wouldn’t be such a huge problem with stolen Social Security numbers and identity theft.
© October 8, 2010 Sam Montana