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Social Security Identity Fraud And How To Combat It

Aug 17, 2007
Identity thieves are constantly on the lookout for any documentation they can use to smoothly acquire another person's identity. The number one document that will open almost any door for these unscrupulous characters is your Social Security card. Once a thief has obtained your Social Security number, the path to assuming your identity is now wide open and ready to be trampled upon. Therefore, your Social Security number should always be protected at all costs. Don't become a victim of Social Security identity fraud.

You will be required to present a valid Social Security card to the personnel office when you embark on a new job. Once your employer has recorded the number, the safest thing for you to do, in order to protect your identity, is to store your card in a secure location. Never carry your Social Security card on your person, in your wallet or in the glove box of your car.

But what do you do if, despite your best efforts, you discover someone is using your Social Security number for fraudulent purposes? You must act immediately. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission either by phone (1-877-438-4338) or via the Internet at www.consumer.gov/idtheft . Do not procrastinate on this as identity thieves are extremely adept at rapidly assuming your persona and they can cause unlimited damage to your credit rating in very short order.

If you suspect that someone else is using your Social Security number for work purposes, you should immediately contact the Social Security Office. Identity thieves can wreck havoc with your income tax and if left to their own devices can cause you untold grief with Uncle Sam and the IRS. It could take months or even years and probably a ton of money to prove you have been a victim of identity theft, so quick action on your part is essential.

Should you suspect that someone else is using your Social Security number fraudulently to retain employment, you can also go Online at www.ssa.gov/mystatement and check your Social Security Statement, which records all earnings posted to your Social Security record. Should your suspicions be confirmed and you discover errors on your statement, you should immediately contact your Social Security Department. Again, procrastination can be devastating as unravelling these records is time consuming and fraught with red tape.

Should the unthinkable happen and you can confirm that someone else has access to your Social Security number and is creating havoc with your credit, you will get little or no satisfaction from the Social Security Administration. Although they may be willing to eventually cancel your Social Security number and issue a new one (which, incidentally is no mean feat), they will offer no help in trying to repair your damaged credit rating. The onus is on you to try to repair any damage from Social Security identity fraud.

You should immediately telephone the fraud department of all your creditors and then follow it up in writing for your own records. Request that your account be flagged with a fraud alert so that no further credit card charges can be incurred without your express knowledge and authorization. Ask that the creditors forward a statement to the credit reporting agencies explaining your problem. Make sure this notation contains contact information, including your telephone number, so that you can be reached if any further charges show up on your record.

Request a copy of your credit report from each of the 3 major credit-reporting agencies. Be sure to contact all three as sometimes creditors are registered with different credit bureaus because of logistics and geographical restrictions. You may contact them On- line, but to be on the safe side, a telephone call - followed up in writing - may get you quicker results. Contact information for the three major credit-reporting agencies can be found at the bottom of this article.

File a police report - chances are that you are not the only one whose identity has been compromised by these criminals. Police Departments now maintain extensive files on known identity theft rings and they may be able to help you get your identity back a little quicker.

Social Security Identity fraud is a very serious matter. Dealing with the various government agencies to clarify your Social Security records is a time consuming and often frustrating experience. Therefore, to avoid having to deal with such a task, you should always, always make every effort to keep your Social Security identity is safe and out of the hands of criminals.

Contact information for Credit Reporting Agencies:

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285 www.equifax.com
Experian: 1-888-397-3742 www.experian.com
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289 www.transunion.com

The above Social Security identity fraud article is for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.
About the Author
George Dodge is author and webmaster of Identity Theft Defense at www.Identity-Theft-Defense.com where you can discover more about the various forms and methods of Identity Theft and how to protect yourself from becoming an Identity Theft Victim.
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