An identity thief may steal your Social Security number and sell it, or use the number to get a job or other benefits.
If you know your Social Security number is being misused, take these steps.
- Contact the Social Security Administration (SSA).
- Update your files.
- Record the dates you made calls or sent letters.
- Keep copies of letters in your files.
The SSA may assign a new Social Security number to you if you are being harassed, abused, or are in grave danger when using the original number, or if you can prove that someone has stolen your number and is using it. You must provide evidence that the number is being misused, and that the misuse is causing you significant continuing harm.
If you apply for a new Social Security number, you must prove
- your age
- your citizenship or lawful immigration status
- your identity
Getting a new Social Security number probably won’t resolve all the problems related to the theft of your identity. Government agencies and some businesses may keep records under your original Social Security number. In addition, because credit reporting companies use Social Security numbers and other personal information to identify a person’s credit file, using a new number doesn’t guarantee a fresh start. But by being careful with your personal information and monitoring credit reports for fraudulent activity, you can limit the misuse.
The SSA lets you apply for an original Social Security number or a replacement Social Security card for free. The application form and information about the supporting documents you need to apply are available online. The form takes just a few minutes to complete. But that hasn’t stopped some websites from claiming that the process is complicated, confusing, and time-consuming, and offering to do it for you — for a fee.
It’s up to you if you want to pay a company to help you prepare your application for a Social Security number or a card. Remember that a paid service can’t submit your application electronically: whether you pay a company to complete the form for you or you do it yourself, you still have to sign the form and take it or mail it, along with the supporting documents, to a Social Security office.
To find an SSA office near you, visit the Social Security Office Locator. No appointment is necessary. Once the SSA has your application, you can expect your card in 10 to 14 days.
Source: FTC: www.consumer.ftc.gov