I Lost my Social Security Card, Now What Do I Do?

by Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach on April 6, 2011

in Identity Theft


lost social security number

If someone steals  your Social Security card, or you have misplaced your card and can’t find it, you need to take several steps to protect your identity.

If someone finds your card or uses your Social Security number, you may become the victim of identity theft and fraud, and find it difficult to open accounts, get access to credit or even apply for a job in the future. If you lose your Social Security card, make sure you take the necessary steps to file a complaint and protect your identity.

Risks Associated with Losing Your Social Security Card

Losing a Social Security card can happen to anyone, and it’s important to educate yourself on the risks associated with the situation. These include:

  • Having someone open up credit card accounts in your name and charging high purchases on your account
  • Enabling someone to have access to your bank accounts
  • Making it easier for an identity thief to gain access to your credit report
  • Making it difficult to prove your identity or citizenship when leaving the country or traveling
  • Dealing with an inaccurate credit report which can take several months to clear up
  • Having someone use your Social Security number to obtain employment

Steps to Take When You Lose Your Social Security Card

 

The USA.gov Social Security Online website recommends that you take the following steps when you lose your Social Security card:

Step 1: File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. You can call 1-877-ID-THEFT or 1-877-438-4338 to file a formal complaint over the phone and learn more about how the FTC is fighting back against identity theft by reading the guides and materials on their website.

Step 2: File a complaint online with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). This organization is committed to helping victims of cyber crime and will send the case to a law enforcement or regulatory agency when necessary.

Step 3: Contact the Internal Revenue Service Identity Protection Unit by calling 1-800-908-4490 so that the Social Security number attached to your tax return isn’t being misused.

After you have filed a complaint, it’s also a good idea to monitor your credit report, bank statements and credit card statements to check for suspicious activity. If you see anything suspicious, contact your bank or creditor immediately to authorize a “credit freeze” on your account until you have more information. Read: Should You Get Identity Theft Insurance?

If you don’t feel that your identity has been compromised, you can request a replacement card by completing an Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5) and following the instructions from the Social Security Administration here.


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Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach

Personal Finance Expert and Co-Founder at Ask The Money Coach.com
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach is a personal finance expert, speaker, and author of numerous books on personal finance. She appears frequently as an expert commentator on television, radio and in print.

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DK

What should I do if my social security number was
e-mailed to about 30 people, along with their ss
numbers by mistake? It was a list of volunteers for Bingo night at our Parish. This e-mail is on all 30
peoples computer. What if they don’t have a good security program? Should I report this to the Identity Protection Agency ? I did to know now, this just happened this morning.

The Money Coach

That depends on who is asking you for the last 4 digits of your SSN. It is not unusual for a company that you are already doing business with (such as a bank) to ask you to verify your SSN by asking you for the last 4 digits of your SSN. You have no way of knowing whether or not the representative can see your entire SSN on whatever screen they are looking at. To be extra safe, you might ask the representative to verify your identity by using another method such as your address, phone number, or some other data that only you would know.

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