Your Social Security card is one of the most critical identification documents that you have as a citizen of the United States. Without your Social Security number, you will have difficulty foiling tax returns, getting medical treatment, and applying for credit.
If someone else gets hold of your Social Security number, on the other hand, they will be able to do all of the above and even commit a crime under your name. You will have to carry the consequences for everything they do with your Social Security number.
Take Precautionary Action
Your first instinct may be to contact the Social Security Administration and to start the process of replacing your Social Security card. Before you do, however, you have to make sure that your identity and financial assets are out of harm’s way.
As soon as you realize that somebody stole your Social Security card, you have to the following:
Inform the Internal Revenue Service
If someone has your social security number, they will be able to file a false tax return to claim a refund. By notifying the IRS, you reduce the risk of this happening. In future, try to file your return as soon as possible as the IRS will reject the second return.
Contact the Federal Trade Commission
Filing a complaint with the FTC will help you during the prosecution stages later on. The FTC collects all the information they can, and they will furnish you with a reference number that you should keep safe.
Place a Fraud Alert on Your Credit
There are three credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Contact any of these three credit reporting agencies and place an alert on your credit activity. Contact them for a credit report once every 90 days to make sure that all your credit information is accurate.
Contact your Credit Card Company
Although freezing your credit may cause inconvenience, it may be a good idea to prevent the person with access to your Social Security number from using your credit, opening a bank account in your name, and opening new lines of credit.
Get a Replacement Social Security Card
Now that your identity is less of a low-hanging fruit, you can go ahead with the application filing for a replacement Social Security card.
This application consists of providing the Social Security Administration with the complete application form as well as supplementary documents to prove your citizenship and identity.
Make sure that you complete the application form correctly as the smallest mistake may lead to the rejection of your application. After submitting your application, you can expect a waiting period of around 14 days before receiving your replacement Social Security card.
File a Police Report
One other important step is to file a police report. Provide the police with evidence of the crime as well as your identification. Reporting the theft to the police will ensure that you are not implicated in any crimes that the holder of your Social Security number commits.