#4 Social Security Identity Theft
Your Social Security card is the most valuable little piece of paper you will ever own. And like all valuables, there are thieves trying to get to it. Most forms of identity theft have the end goal of attaining someone’s Social Security number.
Once a thief has your Social Security number, they can use it for themselves in several different ways, and many aspects of your finances could change for the worse.
Financial – Your bank accounts and credit/debit cards are at the mercy of the identity thief if they have your Social Security number. That number will grant them access to your finances, allowing them to open new accounts in your name, drain your current accounts, and transfer money to themselves.
Medical – If your Social Security number is stolen, criminals can file medical insurance claims under your name or receive medical care that gets billed to you.
Criminal – Is there a warrant out for your arrest? There could be if an identity thief with your Social Security number gives your information in place of theirs upon their arrest. This can show up on your background check reports and make it difficult to get a job later on. It can also lead to warrants that can potentially lead to an arrest if you get stopped for a routine traffic ticket.
IRS – Tax season is never fun, but it will be even worse if someone uses your Social Security number to file a fraudulent tax return in an effort to steal your tax return.
Unemployment benefits – An impostor claim is filed using your personally identifiable information (PII), such as name and Social Security number to collect unemployment benefits.
How might someone steal your Social Security number? Identity thieves get your personal information by:
- Stealing wallets, purses, and your mail (bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers, new checks, and tax information).
- Stealing personal information, you provide to an unsecured site online, from business or personnel records at work, and personal information in your home.
- Rummaging through your trash, the trash of businesses, and public trash dumps for personal data.
- Posing by phone or email as someone who legitimately needs information about you, such as employers or landlords; or
- Buying personal information from “inside” sources. For example, an identity thief may pay a store employee for information about you that appears on an application for goods, services, or credit.
Credit monitoring may not alert you to this type of fraud.
LibertyID will take the following steps for/with their members:
- Contact impacted creditor/businesses where the victim’s information was misused and have the fraudulent accounts closed and note the presence of identity theft.
- Place fraud alerts at all three credit reporting agencies
- Place credit freezes at all three credit reporting agencies, if appropriate
- File report with FTC
- If the identity theft involved the use of your driver’s license number, Social Security number, or another type of identification, will we contact the relevant agencies to notify them of the theft.
- Review credit reports with the victim to ensure there are no other types of fraud
- Provide single bureau credit monitoring with alerts for 12 months
- LibertyID will ensure that the restoration is completed with the victim
- Periodically contact the member throughout the 12 months following resolution of their ID theft recovery case, if warranted.