Frauds & Scams

Protecting Your Social Security Number from Identity Theft

August 25, 2016 • By

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

indentity theftEvery year, millions of Americans become victims of identity theft. Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personally identifiable information and pretends to be you. They can use this information to open bank or credit card accounts, file taxes, or make new purchases in your name.  

It is important that you take steps to protect your Social Security number from theft. If someone obtains your Social Security number, they can use it to get other personal information about you, including your bank or credit information. Someone can steal your Social Security number by:

  • Stealing your wallet, purse, or mail.
  • Obtaining personal information you provide to an unsecured site on the Internet.
  • Rummaging through your trash.
  • Posing by phone or email as someone who needs information about you.

If someone asks for your number, you should ask why, how it will be used, and what will happen if you refuse. Make sure you give your employer and your financial institution(s) your correct Social Security number, so your records and tax information are accurate.

To minimize the risk of identity theft, keep your Social Security card and any other documents that show your Social Security number in a safe place. Do not carry your Social Security card or other documents with you that display your number unless you need them.

If you suspect someone’s using your Social Security number for work purposes, report the problem to us immediately by contacting the Federal Trade Commission. We will review your earnings with you to ensure our records are accurate. You may also verify your earnings were posted correctly with your personal my Social Security account. If you don’t have a my Social Security account, you can create an account today!

If someone misused your Social Security number to create credit or other problems for you, immediately go report the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Their website provides detailed information to help you defend against identity theft. You can reach them by phone by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338); TTY 1-866-653-4261.

You may also want to contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and file an online complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Safeguarding your identity and Social Security is of the utmost importance. If you think you’re a victim of identity theft, please act now. For more information, read our publication Identity Theft And Your Social Security Number or visit us online.


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About the Author

Deputy Commissioner, Office of Communications

Comments

  1. Shawnda C.

    Hello, I was notified by my employer someone tried to file an unemployment claim in my name. I am not unemployed and did not file the claim. What do I need to do?

    • Vonda

      Hi Shawnda, thanks for using our blog. Check out our Social Security and Coronavirus web page for details on what you can do if someone filed an unemployment claim using your information. We hope this helps!

  2. Andres G.

    Hi my name is Andy,
    Someone used my S.S. #, (S.S. # that has been mine since 1965), to file their tax return. Since I only receive S.S benefits I did not file a tax return. The identity thief has now received both of my stimulus payments. I have filed Identity Theft Affidavits with the IRS and the FTC. I have contacted the Taxpayer Advocate Service, Social Security. the IRS and the FTC, BUT to no avail. I have been on hold with the IRS for the last hour and five minutes. Who can stop this Identity Thief from using my S.S.#?

    • Vonda

      Thanks for using our blog, Andres. Generally, identity theft issues are handled by the Federal Trade Commission. Visit http://www.identitytheft.gov to report identity theft and get a recovery plan or call 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338).

      Visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page for details on what you can do if you think someone is using your Social Security number.

  3. Stephanie L.

    I received a letter from Illinois Department of Employment Security. The letter turned out to be fraudulent. I filed a police report. How do I proceed with my SS number? Do I call my local office or federal?

  4. Ivanna B.

    What should i do if someone stole my child social security number and claim taxas without my knowdlage?

  5. Eneli G.

    my son was in prison, while he was in there someone was using his social security number in Tennesee. Social Security told he needed a code so he could go back to using his social Security what is the fast way to clear this problem. he really needs to clear this problem.

  6. Nitin T.

    Amezing Post! It is really important that people become aware of how to protect their social media accounts from being stolen. Keep posting such like this amezing and valuable post love it. I also Have a great article about Kanpur Matka. Keep Loving

  7. Glenda M.

    How do I put a block on my SS account so that I would be contacted before any changes to my account could be made, including where my pension deposits?

    I recently learned my SS# has been used by someone else to try to file for unemployment in Kansas.

    • Vonda

      Hi Glenda, thanks for using our blog. You can call your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

  8. Yusimi S.

    Hello
    My minor daughter her info was stolen from her dental office like many other clients.
    What should I do?

    • Vonda

      Hello Yusimi, thanks for using our blog. If you think someone is using your daughter’s number, there are several actions you can take. Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page about this topic. Thanks!

  9. Narciso I.

    Hello.there few months ago my apartment was broken into and all my files are stolen including my sss no.I did reported to the credit bureau and it put a block on my dad. Is that enough I’ve been trying to call sss but I can’t get through I need to put a block on my sss that only me can access or know.Thank you.

  10. Felicia

    Hello,

    How do I unlock my SSN.

    • Vonda

      Hi Felicia, thanks for using our blog. Sorry to hear you are having difficulties creating a my Social Security account. If you are locked out, you may call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

      • Felipe D.

        What’s going on with my social security number

    • Ernest F.

      Ive been trying to create my social security account but it keeps saying it cant be created under my social security number. my card was recently stolen.

      • Keith

        Hi Ernest, thank you for using our blog to ask your question. We take protecting the public’s personal information very seriously. If you are unable to create a personal my Social Security account online, you can call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), or you can contact your local Social Security office for more assistance. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal.

        Generally, identity theft issues are handled by the Federal Trade Commission. Visit http://www.identitytheft.gov to report identity theft and get a recovery plan or call 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338). Visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page for details on what you can do if you think someone is using your Social Security number. We hope this helps.

    • Adrianna T.

      hi, my name is Adrianna Tully i’m here because of my mother taking from me i’m 16 years old and my mother is going on 37 a few years ago i acted out for disability for her and i’m old enough to know she is not spending a dime on me i am here to try n stop my check from going to her anymore if ANYONE can help me that would mean so much to me thank you

      • Vonda

        Hi Adrianna, thanks for using our blog. If you think your mother is misusing your benefits, tell Social Security right away. We will investigate all allegations of misuse, gather facts and evidence, and make a decision on whether misuse has occurred. You will receive a letter from Social Security telling you what we found. If we find misuse, Social Security may name a new representative payee for you or send the benefits to you directly. We will then take action to recover the misused money. Go to our Representative Payee web page for additional details.

        To report misuse, call your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

    • Mobin Z.

      Hi. I lucked my social security one year ago, and I need to unlock that but I don’t know how can I do it

      • Vonda

        Hi Mobin, thanks for using our blog. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can call your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

Comments are closed.