How to Protect Yourself if Your Social Security Number is Stolen

Don’t worry – we’ve all been there. You just received a notification about suspicious charges linked to your social security number, and your stomach sinks with dread. While it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and anxious in this situation, it’s important to remain calm and take proactive steps to protect your financial future. In this blog post, we’ll go through the key steps you should take if your social security number has been stolen, so you can keep your information secure and minimize damage. So, here we go – let’s take a closer look at how to protect yourself if your social security number is stolen.

What to Do When Your Social Security Number Has Been Stolen

When your Social Security Number (SSN) has been stolen, it’s important to take prompt and immediate action. The first thing to do is determine the extent of the theft in order to understand the potential damage it could cause. Monitor all bank accounts, change passwords for online accounts that are connected to your SSN, and alert creditors and financial institutions about any suspicious activity or unauthorized withdrawals.

It can also be helpful to check your credit report regularly to see if there have been any changes or any attempts to open accounts using your stolen SSN. If a credit check shows that there are new accounts opened in your name, then contact the creditors as soon as possible and make sure they are closed down and no fraudulent activity has taken place.

Contacting law enforcement may be necessary so that credit bureaus can investigate any fraudulent transactions made with your SSN. This may be difficult for some individual’s depending on their financial situation or the potential criminal implications of the situation. It is important to weigh out the pros and cons before making this decision.

Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Law Enforcement

Once you have determined that your Social Security number has been stolen, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and law enforcement. The FTC is the federal government’s lead agency for data security-related issues, and it is your best resource for help if you are dealing with identity theft. Reporting any kind of fraudulent activities to your local law enforcement can help prevent further crimes.

It is important to act quickly when contacting law enforcement or the FTC as this can help minimize potential damage caused by identity thieves. It is also a good idea to contact your bank and credit card company if the stolen numbers were used to make any unauthorized purchases or transactions. By providing detailed information of what occurred, the providers can take additional steps to secure your accounts before more serious damage is done.

Must-Know Summary Points

If you suspect that your Social Security number has been stolen, it is important to take immediate action. Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and law enforcement and be sure to provide detailed information of what occurred in order to help prevent further damage. Contact your bank and credit card company to secure accounts before more damage can occur. Report the incident to the IdentityTheft website at for step-by-step guidance on how to take control of your finances and personal information once they have been compromised. Taking these steps will protect you from potential malicious activities.

Report the Incident to the FTC

Reporting the incident to the FTC should always be a priority if your social security number has been stolen. It’s important to know that even though you have contact the FTC, their enforcement and investigative services do not replace those provided by law enforcement. The commission can provide assistance and advice, but it cannot get involved in individual legal disputes or investigate criminal activities.

The FTC still provides some valuable protection through its identity theft program, that creates effective deterrents meant to combat fraudulent activities. It maintains separate databases where businesses and individuals can report possible incidents of identity theft. This enables other businesses in the same sector like banks and credit card companies, to review your submitted data before granting credit or further investigating suspicious activity.

The commission also provides consumer education materials for victims of fraud and provides resources for victims of identity theft. Through these resources you will find important steps to take to protect yourself from further harm from any misuse of your personal information.

Get in Touch with Law Enforcement

After alerting the FTC of your stolen Social Security Number (SSN), it’s important to take further steps to get in touch with local law enforcement. Authorities may be able to help you recover the lost funds and pursue any suspects further. Depending on the circumstances, they might even be able to turn the case over to federal authorities, either because of the severity or because more powerful investigative techniques are available.

Stolen SSNs can lead to a host of other harms, such as taking out new loans, opening credit accounts, or identity theft. Law enforcement is an essential resource for identifying possible perpetrators and stopping these activities from occurring in the first place. Police officers may be able to provide advice about what steps to take next if local laws require certain measures before alerted authorities can take action.

Although reporting the theft is essential for justice and financial relief, getting in touch with law enforcement for assistance should also not be overlooked. It may take time for officers to investigate the incident if resources are limited or other cases are higher priority. Some departments may need specific evidence or sworn statements before they are willing to accept a report and begin an investigation. By acting quickly, victims may be able to expedite reimbursement or support from law enforcement officers.

Take Measures to Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft

Once you have reported the theft of your social security number to the police and other organizations involved, it is important to take additional measures to protect yourself against identity theft. Consider freezing or monitoring your credit score through credit bureaus. Such a move would alert you whenever someone tries to access your financial information or opens a new account in your name.

Victims may choose to file suit against criminals or other entities whose carelessness assisted in allowing their personal information to become exposed. If a company that held your social security number on file failed to properly secure the data against hackers, you could potentially pursue legal action. This can be a lengthy process and costly depending on the circumstances of the case, but it is an option.

As well as safeguarding yourself from identity theft online via strong passwords and two-step authentication methods, it is also wise to store financial documents (e.g. receipts, bank statements) safely in your home. Doing so helps ensure that no one is able to access sensitive data containing personally identifying information if your home is correctly secured.

Update Financial and Personal Documents

While it is important to take measures to protect yourself against identity theft, it is also prudent to continuously update financial and personal documents as necessary. Creditors often require proof of current and updated address and financial information before approving an application or granting services. It is also important to keep your personal documents up-to-date in order to safeguard your identity. This includes ensuring that all of your personal information, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates and other documents remain accurate, valid and up-to-date.

If you have any suspicions at all that your personal data may have been compromised, it is important to move swiftly in changing passwords on all online accounts, notifying credit agencies, banks, etc., and updating any necessary documents. This can help reduce the risk associated with identity theft by limiting access to confidential information.

Implement a Security Protection Plan

Now that you have updated your financial and personal documents, it is time to take the necessary steps to protect yourself from further damage. Implementing a security protection plan is a great way to do so.

There are various strategies people can implement when setting up a security protection plan. One way is through credit monitoring services, which allow consumers to monitor their credit report for any suspicious activity in order to quickly respond if needed. Consumers can also close accounts associated with their stolen Social Security number as an additional precaution. Placing a freeze on their credit report can help protect themselves from identity theft in the long-term since creditors will not be able to check the consumer’s credit information, making it more difficult for thieves to open new accounts with stolen information.

There are some potential drawbacks of implementing a security protection plan. It could prove expensive over time due to related fees – fees associated with freezing or unfreezing accounts and subscribing to credit monitoring services add up over time. Freezing one’s report could cause delays if applying for loans or even new benefits as part of the process requires access to credit reports. Engaging with professional advisors prior to or during the process might be beneficiald as they can discuss some of these tradeoffs and advise depending on specific needs.

  • According to Forbes, as of 2020 an estimated 1 in 15 Americans have had their Social Security Number stolen.
  • The 2018 Identity Fraud Study conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research found that the frequency of Social Security Number (SSN) misuse has grown fivefold, with fraudsters most likely to use SSNs for account takeovers.
  • According to the 2019 Identity Fraud: Fraud Enters a New ERA report, SSN fraud accounted for 70% of reported identity fraud losses in 2018 in the U.S., causing more than $5 billion in losses.