In the technological age we live in today, identity theft and fraud are unfortunately becoming a problem of increasing magnitude and financial impact for many Americans. Learning how to protect yourself from Social Security number fraud and other types of fraud and identify theft is now necessary for every citizen, and even learning just a few simple and basic tips can help minimize the risk that you will ever become a victim of fraud or identity theft. Learn from experts how to protect yourself from Social Security number fraud and other types of identity theft by keeping your personal identification information secure and safe.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is the federal agency in charge of issuing and tracking social security numbers throughout the lifespan of each individual assigned one. Together with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the SSA tracks usage of social security numbers through earnings reports submitted by employers. If you have a suspicion that your social security number has been stolen or is being used in any way that is fraudulent, the first step you need to take is to call the SSA at 800-772-1213 to report the suspicious activity.
You can also contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-ID-THEFT to report any suspicious or fraudulent activity that involves your social security number. This is definitely an avenue you should take if you suspect that any individual or organization has taken your Social Security number and is using it to open credit cards or bank accounts or make purchases in your name. You can also file a theft report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center by visiting its website and filling out an online complaint form.
Another action you should take immediately if you suspect theft or fraud using your Social Security number is to contact your local police to file a report. It will be important here to identify the county or city in which you suspect the theft took place so that you file the fraud report within the proper jurisdiction of the local police.
Finally, as a protective measure to minimize future theft and fraud and safeguard your credit rating, you should quickly contact all three of the "big three" credit reporting bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. You can report that you are a victim of identity theft and alert them that you need to be contacted by any merchants or creditors who are attempting to change or open any new accounts in your name or collect any payments. Concurrently with alerting the three credit reporting bureaus, you should take prompt action to close all accounts that are at risk for fraud or have been altered in any way or accessed as a result of your Social Security number being used in a fraudulent manner.