All we know the importance of our SSN that is Social Security Number, according to news as of 10 to 20 millions of Americans were identity theft victims in 2016-2017. And the number could shoot up in the get up of the recent Equifax data breach. The Equifax hack compromised over 140 to 150 million of Americans’ data, according to the FTC that is Federal Trade Commission. With the use of that data thieves targeted Social Security Numbers which is your SSN and other corresponding information from that credit agency’s records. So in that case you have to protect yourself by getting knowledge of what to do if your SSN information was stolen.
Why thieves are steals your private financial information? What is their purpose? Recovery Options:
Basically thieves steals your personal information and uses it for personal gains as well as for their financial gain without letting you know. They target to thieve your private information like credit card numbers, Social security Number, Addresses and Insurance Numbers. So keep your information safe do not share your personal information with anyone to avoid further financial loss. Listen the thieves are very smart, even those who knows how to prevent identity fraud under normal conditions those can still also be victims of losing their private information so be careful while sharing your information with anyone and doing online transactions for safer side.
In other case somehow if your SSN was stolen then you able to find out if the Equifax hack affected you by visiting the company’s Cybersecurity Incident webpage. If your thinks your SSN was stolen or to prevent your financial loss here are the some steps to prevent further financial loss crime and fraud with your private data.
Report the private data (Identity Theft) to the Police:
If you thinks something is wrong with your information you go to your nearest local police department and report about identity theft incident but in this case you need more documents regarding thieves if you know them or your doubts then further action will be taken by them, so report an incident as a proof of that your SSN is stolen.
Report Identity Theft to the FTC at official website:
IF Social Security Number is stolen then try to contact SSA that your SSN is stolen but SSA advices you to file a report of that theft on the federal trading commission’s identitytheft.gov webpage. In some cases your social security card was lost by your own mistake then SSA gives advices report it to local police department and request for replacement of your social security card by calling following number 800-772-1213.
You can file a Fraud Alert on your Credit Reports:
The first thing you should do is to communicate with 1 of the three major credit reporting agencies, said by idtheftsecurity.com INC, CEO Robert Siciliano. By taking this action, a creditor uses much stringent strategies when they receive an application for credit. These alerts only valid for 90 days, but you can also get a grace period when that time passes. To get an extension, which lasts for seven years, “You will be asked to provide an identity theft affidavit which will include a police report,” he said (by CEO Robert Siciliano).
John Ulzheimer, a credit expert formerly with FICO and Equifax, says importance of placing a fraud alert, “This will prevent any new fraudulent credit from being issued in your name. Any prospective lenders will have to call you and verify that you did, in fact, apply for credit.” So this kind of transactions make you feel safer, if someone trying to cheat on you then that thief will be caught.
For your convenience fraud alert numbers for the credit reporting agencies:
Call Equifax Agency: 1-800-525-6285
Call Experian Agency: 1-888-397-3742
Call TransUnion Agency: 1-800-680-7289
Fraud Detected then Implement a Credit Freeze to Credit Reporting Agencies:
Applying fraud alert is still important, you can also freeze your credit reports. “If you want to move further, you can freeze your credit reports, which takes them out of circulation until you choose to make them available again,” Ulzheimer (credit expert formerly with FICO and Equifax) said. “This process is informally referred to as freezing and defrosting. Security freezes are free if you have been a confirmed victim of your identity theft.
“The security freeze seems to have surpassed the fraud alert as the best practice in the wake of the Equifax breach, but you have to place them individually at each credit bureau,” Ulzheimer said. “There’s no one-stop shop for freezes. Equifax is allowing you to do this for free. The other bureaus might charge a small fee, but its money well spent.
Robert Siciliano (idtheftsecurity.com INC) recommended freezing your credit indefinitely, despite the minor inconvenience of needing to unfreeze credit for legitimate applications and freeze credit again when you’re done. “Keep your credit frozen for the remainder of your life and thaw when needed,” he said.
Call these numbers to freeze credit at the 3 credit reporting agencies:
Call Equifax Agency: 1-800-349-9960
Call Experian Agency: 1-888-397-3742
Call TransUnion Agency: 1-888-909-8872
Confirm and Review Your Credit Reports:
Equifax, Experian and TransUnion these agencies will give your credit report for your credit at no cost once per year from AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228. If you got your reports, inspect your account reports if you found any charges that you don’t made or something else than you can go for next step like when that transaction was made from where it made kind of information you will get and it useful for detection of thief.
You can call the Companies Where Fraud were Occurred:
After reviewing your credit reports somewhere fraud detected then immediate contact each company where you noticed that a fraud occurred to the close fake new accounts, close or freeze your current accounts and remove any fraud charges. In this case major banks as well as large companies basically have a loyal fraud department to take care of identity theft problems. Recommendation to change passwords, PINs and other login credentials for these companies’ official websites.
Possibly accept Free Identity Theft Protection from responsible company:
With corresponds to data theft, Equifax is dealing free credit monitoring service as well as identity theft protection to those affected and for those also who want that service to prevent identity theft. Federal Trade Commission legally advises to take advantage of the offers to minimize the damage of your credit.
Immediate file Tax Return after Your SSN is stolen:
The Federal Trade Commission warns that thieves may use your stolen social security numbers to get employed or to steal your tax refunds. So recommendation is to file your income tax return as early as possible.
Ignore Calls Demanding Payment for fake Tax Debt/Other fraud Bills:
Thieves know that your social security number is stolen, consequently it is possible you receive a call from them for demanding your previous tax and other non-existing bill payment. So after losing your SSN be careful while doing any of payment and transactions. The FTC says to ignore such scammers.
Final Words from Verdict:
As you know it’s require a lot of work and time to repair the damage to your credit, bank, insurance and other financial accounts, So be careful don not share your information like credit card details, bank account details, ATM Pin’s and Social security number with anyone be safer while doing online transaction.