Anyone can fall victim to fraud – and with cyberattacks on the rise, it’s never been more important to protect your data. 60-80% of social security numbers have been stolen by hackers, according to data scientists’ estimates.
Keeping an eye on financial records can protect you from potential security threats. If you think someone is using your social security number, you’ll need to act quickly to reduce any damages.
There are 5 steps you can take if you think your SSN has been compromised…
1. Review your account statements
If you have a suspicion that your data has been compromised, the first step is to assess your account statements. Any errors should be located and dealt with immediately, as they could indicate fraudulent activity. It is simple to monitor the accuracy of your historic earnings record online at www.ssa.gov.
Unauthorized activity is a good indication that your social security number has been stolen.
2. Place a fraud alert on your credit report
Placing a fraud alert on your credit report is important when tackling suspicious activity. This can prevent fraudsters from stealing your identity, while further protecting your personal data. If your statement has inconsistencies, a credit reporting agency should be notified.
You can request a free credit report online at annualcreditreport.com from one of the major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. This will not prevent you from using any existing credit cards, it simply notifies the credit issuer of suspicious activity on your accounts.
3. Contact the Internal Revenue Service
On recognizing any inaccuracies with your account statement, the next step would be to contact the Internal Revenue Service. Financial reporting errors must be recorded by the federal government. Mistakes do happen – but it’s vital to act quickly and avoid any potential threats to your personal data.
4. File a report to the Federal Trade Commission
If fraud has taken place, it should be reported immediately to the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC will provide you with a case number and guide you through the remaining process. They can also add an extended fraud alert to your credit file, making it harder for fraudsters to continue compromising your accounts.
This also helps to prevent scammers from operating by building a case and alerting the community.
5. Inform the police
File a police report with your local jurisdiction to alert them of any social security breach. Be sure to retain copies of all documentation, as this can serve your identity recovery. It is vital to provide as much information as possible to prevent further illegal activity while regaining control over your personal data.
If you suspect, act quickly!
If you suspect someone is using your social security number, it is crucial to act quickly. Delays can cause further damage by accumulating further debt, providing scammers and fraudsters free-reign over your personal data.
Avoid any potential threats to your social security by reviewing your accounts and identifying any inconsistencies. Remember – it’s best to check quickly and know for sure, rather than wait and see.
For more information on how to tell if someone is using your social security number, check this guide.