What Happens to my Social Security Number after Identity Theft?

There are many scams on the internet that prey on people’s fears, uncertainties, or mistaken assumptions to harvest their personal information for malicious purposes. An identity theft defense attorney will identify this as “phishing”, which masquerades as a message from a trusted entity to make you give up sensitive information. Clicking on links and filling up forms by the attacker leaves them with a copy of your passwords and sensitive personal information.

Since unlike viruses and malware there isn’t an immediate sign of harm being done, phishing attacks are very difficult to spot by your average consumer.

They could be calling on the phone. They might be making urgent calls in emails and messengers. It can be as sophisticated as an entirely duplicated web site to fool users, or even as blatant as a text box that directly asks for your sensitive data to check if it has been STOLEN on the internet.

Leaving aside how this is actually how your credit card number is stolen, there is no way to mass check credit card and SSN numbers if they have been compromised over the Internet as those numbers are supposed to be private and protected financial data by banks and payment processors.

For this exact same reason, the government should be asking for your social security number in exchange for new social security checks or threatening that it is going to be suspended, because they should already know it. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

What Happens to my Social Security Number after Identity Theft?

Why is phishing for my Social Security Number such a concern?

Harvested credit card numbers are only the tip of the iceberg however. At least credit cards have charge-backs if you catch malicious transactions early enough. There are multiple protections in place to deal with credit card fraud.

But if someone has managed to take your Social Security Number, that is a much bigger problem according to many an identity theft defense attorney.

The Social Security Number (SSN) is an important part of the most secure identity verification methods as it is a unique number ever issued to one person only and cannot normally be replaced or modified. The SSN allows access to many private and government services and they have the power to perform financial actions that normally only you would be authorized to perform.

Identity theft with the SSN is the most complete and damaging form of identity theft possible.

What can a criminal do with my Social Security Number?

By having your social security number, and other data harvested from other social media (Facebook and public registries, for example), fraudsters have a broad range of powers on what they can do with your identity.

Financial Fraud – a scammer may then use your information to open a new bank account and fill out false applications for loans, credit cards, automobiles, property rentals and other credit. The bank will then be able to look at your credit record. They can now write checks and make purchases in your name and then leave you responsible for the consequences.

Tax Identity Fraud – millions of Americans are qualified for some form of tax refund. All taxes are linked to the social security number, and if you do qualify all they need to do is to change the preferred address for sending refund checks when applying for a refund on your tax returns.

Mortgage Fraud – someone who has your Social Security Number may be able to take out a line of credit on your home equity, a second mortgage, or even worse potentially gain possession of the title to your property.

Criminal Identity Theft – one of the most dangerous reasons for illicitly obtaining SSNs is to set up a different identity. Since all other valid identifications can be changed – driver’s license, postal identification, etc. can be changed under the excuse that the card has been lost, if they have your SSN they can then validate a new set of identification articles. Then, when they commit a crime, people might be pointed to your identity instead of theirs.

It can be as benign as trying to escape driving citations or as bad as terrorism. Criminals are always on the lookout for SSNs to use for their activities. This can be devastating once an arrest warrant is issued or if a criminal record suddenly shows up in your background check. In these instances it’s best to contact an identity theft defense attorney asap to get expert assistance for this time-sensitive problem. Proving innocence is one thing, but the damage it leaves to your personal record and reputation may take years to recover from.

Medical Identity Fraud – another big way to use someone else’s SSN is to use their background information when inquired for medical and insurance purposes. You can only be surprised once you learn your healthcare coverage reports unfamiliar collections or denied due to misinformation and going over the plan limit.

Senior Citizen Identity Fraud – surprisingly, compromised identities are also used often to take advantage of senior citizen discounts and benefits. While this seems the most benign, a false identity like this is also among the hardest to expose. It is far less benign if it takes benefits that would have gone to their proper owners. See: medical identity fraud.

Utility Fraud – similar to the financial fraud, utilities such as phone, water, gas, cable and internet providers, do not inquire very deeply into the background of their subscribers. Thus, with a modicum amount of stolen personal information it is easy to sign up or to upgrade utility agreements and then for someone to make full use of those services until you suddenly hear from a bill collector.

What Happens to my Social Security Number after Identity Theft?

How do I know if my SSN has been stolen?

Since as previously noted no one can tell you if your SSN has been stolen since there is no central database of compromised social security numbers.Typographical errors alone mean that millions of Americans may have two or more alone SSNs associated with their account. The only real way to know is if there is suspicious activity on your personal record.

You can check activity that uses your SSN on http://www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
You can check your credit record for free once a year on https://www.annualcreditreport.com/.

Monitoring your credit record is the most reliable way to catch identity theft early.

Can I change my SSN if it has been used for fraud and criminal purposes?

A US citizen is allowed to change their SSN in some very specific circumstances, most of them related to identity theft or danger of abuse and harassment.

You must provide a statement explaining why you need a new number and credible third-party documentation about the reason – which includes medical, legal, and police documents. The assistance of an identity theft defense attorney will help make the process go more smoothly.
Collecting and presenting the necessary evidence why you should be allowed a new Social Security Number because of identity theft can be a very daunting process for regular citizens. This is not a job where going DIY will save either time or money.

What Happens to my old Social Security Number?

An old number is not cancelled. It is used for cross-reference between the new and old number to make sure that people get credit for earnings and activities under both numbers. The IRS, SSA, DMV, FBI, banks and credit card companies, etc. continue to have an interest in files under the original SSN.

If someone does something using your previous number anything done to it will not affect your new number.

SSNs are never cancelled. Never. Anyone that calls and threatens the cancellation of a SSN number or the seizure of bank accounts due to an expiring SSN is a scammer. You should never be called to verify your SSN to anyone making a call even if it is supposedly from the government.

Can I use a new SSN to clear my credit or employment record?

Your SSN can only be renewed for stringent reasons. This is not one of them. If someone is offering you the use of an alternate Social Security Number to register and use for your new clean credit record – that is a scam or fraud. That is a crime with you being an accomplice to the theft of someone else’s Social Security Number.

An identity theft defense attorney may also serve as credit repair attorneys, and are superior to credit repair companies that may offer fraudulent or unrealistic claims.

Validity of a SSN is easily done by employers and individuals via https://www.e-verify.gov/. A check like that can only tell if an SSN is valid in the registry, not its records of use.

What can I do with my new SSN to fix the damage to my credit score?

Once you have been assigned a new SSN, that will not automatically transfer your previous credit history. This might not be a good thing, a ‘clean’ record may be worse sign to lenders than an old one with plenty of activity. Fraudulent items can be removed from your credit record after proving identity theft had occurred.

Credit repair starts with the help of an identity theft defense attorney challenging misleading negative information and providing substantial evidence that you were not the one to make those accounts and activities on your record.

What if I am accused of trying to use someone else’s identity?

Mistaken identity is a lot more common than you think, specially when the crime is committed online. When criminals are falsely using identities or mixing together different information to synthesize a new identity, a lot of people can be caught in the crossfire.

You may also have accidentally accessed someone else’s personal information. It may have been a filing error. It is very common when spouses and households are managing multiple accounts.

An identity theft defense attorney can help you because a charge of identity theft first necessitates an intent to commit some crime. If you have been given permission to use that information, such as from family members or friends to make purchases and file paperwork on their behalf, that is not a crime. Furthermore, they can help you recover from improper search and seizure of your home, vehicle, and belongings.

 

 

What Happens to my Social Security Number after Identity Theft?