Your social security number is valuable to you but it’s a treasure to identity thieves. There are end number of reasons why losing your social security number can be devastating.
Although it’s foolish of you to keep your social security card in your wallet, the possible reason why you lose your SSN card is that you lost your wallet consisting of your social security card.
As important do you think it is to find your lost wallet or to find your lost phone, it is as important to search for your lost social security card.
So let’s dive into and learn why your SSN card is important to you, what can someone do with your social security number, and most important, what to do if you lose your social security number.
Table Of Content
- What Can Someone Do With Your Social Security Number
- How To Know If Your Social Security Number Has Been Compromised
- What To Do If Your Social Security Number Is Lost Or Stolen
- Conclusion: Play Safe With Your Social Security Number
What Can Someone Do With Your Social Security Number?
When we lose most of our stuff, our biggest concern is related to the money we spent on it. But in the case of a social security number card, it’s not at all about the money. It’s all about the wrong use that can happen after your social security card is stolen or lost or if you accidentally gave up your social security number to a scammer.
So if your question is, what happens if I lost my social security card, then here’s the list of all the possible unwanted actions that an identity thief or a scammer can take with your SSN card.
1. Taking Loans
Your social security number is one of the most important things that is needed to apply for a loan. If your SSN card is stolen, a scammer can use your social security number and apply for loans and credit in your name.
But what when it’s time to repay that loan? Of course, they are never going to repay it, hence it will damage your credit score.
All the missed payments are going to be reflected under your social security number now making it hard for you to apply for loans in the near future.
2. Commiting Crimes
Suppose the thief who stole your social security number gets caught in some heinous crime and when asked for their social security number, they hand over your card to the authority.
Now if your social security number gets registered for their crime, this will be a disaster for your image and career.
While applying for jobs, opening a bank account, and in any activity where a social security number is required, the crimes done by him are going to be reflected in your records.
3. Filing For A Fraud Tax Refund
Almost all the taxpayers in the US are eligible for a tax refund. Your social security number is an important document if you want to file for a tax refund.
But if your social security number is stolen by someone, then they can file for a fraudulent tax refund that you were eligible for. This means that you won’t be getting any benefit for paying your taxes on time.
4. Getting Medical Aids
Social security number also aids in getting medical assistance. If it gets stolen and someone uses it to get the medical treatment in your name, then it can be very detrimental for you in the future.
First of all, it will deplete your healthcare coverage and secondly, the health reports mentioned in your name will be completely different from the actual ones. As a result, you might get treatment on the basis of those misinformations which can create a disaster for your health.
The identity theft thief can also lay hold of your medical insurance, leaving you in the lurch when it’s time for you to take the benefit.
5. Selling Your Identity
If the identity thief is not using your social security number for themselves, they can sell it on the dark web to hackers.
Using your SSN, a thief can actually become you and commit all kinds of foul play, including financial, medical, and utility frauds.
Utilities such as gas, phone, water, light also require your social security number. A hacker can open these accounts by your name or upgrade their existing accounts.
The unpaid bills on these utilities will reflect in your credit report, tarnishing your credit score.
How To Know If Your Social Security Number Has Been Compromised
It’s easy to know if your social security number is being used by someone. Just look for these warning signs, and if these suspicious activities are happening to you, it means your SSN has been compromised.
1. Unexplainable Credit Score
The identity thief will be using your SSN for a long time and stealing all the benefits that belong to you without paying a penny.
These unpaid bills will disturb your credit score making it hard to get the benefits in the future. If your social security number is hacked, you will see changes in your credit score, obviously not in a positive way.
2. Unknown Employment Records
Your social security number is an important document if you want to get employed in the US. But if you see an employment record that does not belong to you, it’s a strong indication that someone is using your social security number.
3. No Tax Refund
An identity thief will try to get all the tax refunds that you are eligible for. So if you notice that you are not getting any refunds for your tax returns then there’s a chance your SSN is compromised.
4. Mails And Emails From Medical Companies
If there’s a social security number breach, you might receive bills in the mail and emails from medical companies for unknown medical services.
The mail and emails might also claim that you have reached the maximum limit of your medical plan benefits.
5. Losing Your Utilities
The identity thief might have changed the devices and address to which you are currently receiving your utilities for their own devices and address.
As a result, you will not be receiving those utilities anymore but you might still have to pay for them.
6. Mails And Calls From Debt Collectors
It’s possible that if your social security number is compromised, you will start to receive calls, messages, and mail for the unpaid debts for the stuff that you don’t remember using.
This could be a strong indication that your social security number is used by an identity thief.
7. Arrest Warrant Issued In Your Name
If there’s a serious crime committed by a thief after stealing your social security number, they might give up your information in spite of their own. This will further lead to an arrest warrant in your name.
This is the reason why you need to act quickly once you think your SSN is used by someone.
What To Do If Your Social Security Number Is Stolen Or Lost?
1. Report SSN Lost To Police And Responsible Agencies
If you were carrying your social security card in your wallet and now your wallet is missing, it’s time to act fast.
You need to immediately contact the police department and file theft or lost SSN report with them. Don’t forget to mention the other important cards that you were carrying in your wallets like your debit/credit cards, and license.
2. Request For A Credit Freeze
Your original social security number card is rarely needed physically anywhere. This may benefit you because the chances of the card getting lost decrease to a high extent. But if you do lose it somehow, the same benefit may turn against you because the thief just needs to remember your SSN to avail all the benefits.
That is why you need to request a credit freeze immediately after you feel suspicious about the social security number theft.
You just need to contact the three major credit reporting agencies, that are, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion and put a credit freeze on your credit reports.
Once you successfully do this, the thief won’t be able to avail the advantages that you are the rightful owner of.
3. New SSN Card Request
To apply for a new social security card, you need to contact the Social Security Administration, let them know about the incident, and place a request for the new card.
You can contact the administration at (1-800-772-1213) this number or you can reach their website here.
Applying for a replacement social security card is not as easy as you think it is. You need to attach some documents along with your request for a replacement card.
You can either use a hospital record to show your birth, your valid U.S passport, or some religious record showing your birth.
In a rare case, if you don’t have any of these documents, then you can use other cards to prove your identity. These documents include a U.S military card, employee identity card, some verified medical records, health insurance card, school identity card, or a certificate of naturalization.
Make sure to fill out the form the way it needs to be as it’s a lengthy process and you don’t want to go through the whole process again.
It takes about 10-14 business days for your new SSN card to finally arrive at your registered address.
Conclusion: Play Safe With Your Social Security Number
As we discussed before, a social security number is not something that one should carry in their pocket all day long. In fact, your physical card is hardly required anywhere.
So the best way to avert the problems related to your social security card getting lost or your SSN getting stolen is by not carrying it in your wallet and not sharing it with untrusted organizations and people.
If your social security number is in use by a hacker or a scammer, you will hardly know about it unless a big problem arises.
The only quick way you can be certain about your SSN getting compromised is by using an identity theft protection plan.
These best identity protection companies for your family will keep a track of your data on the internet and notify you immediately after they notice your data being used on the internet.
If you lost your social security card or your social security number is stolen, you should request an immediate credit freeze and request for a new card.
To put an alert on your social security number, you need to contact any of the three major credit reporting agencies. You can contact them on their respective website.
If you think someone is using your social security number or you have given it to a scammer by mistake, then you need to immediately put a credit freeze on your SSN.
It’s highly unlikely that just with access to your social security number, a scammer can access your bank account. They need to pass a lot of other security checks to finally get in touch with your money.
A fraudster can use your social security number with a different name or a variation of your name and create a new you to avail all your benefits.
If you lose your social security number, the scammer will get their hands on all your utilities, they can use your medical insurance, open bank accounts in your name, file for tax refunds, and harm you in plenty of other ways.