If someone has stolen your Social Security card or has found your Social Security number on sensitive documents, they can misuse your SSN by opening up credit cards or applying for a loan in your name.
If you are the victim of this type of identity theft, you must report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC is responsible for reviewing complaints of SSN misuse and the organization does have the authority to resolve some of the issues associated with the crime.
THE FTC may share details of the incident with law enforcement agencies and private entities in order to catch the criminal.
Contacting the FTC When Someone Uses Your SSN to Obtain Credit
You can reach the FTC directly by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT and learn more about how the FTC handles cases of identity theft on the official Fighting Back Against Identity Theft website.
Resolving Problems on Your Credit Report from Misuse of Your SSN
When your SSN has been misused, the Social Security Administration cannot help to resolve any problems you experience with your credit report. In order to clear up your credit report, you will need to contact the company that authorized the loan or issued the credit card directly, and then contact each of the three major credit reporting agencies to explain what has happened.
You do have the right to ask nationwide consumer reporting agencies to place a “fraud alert” on your files so that the thief cannot continue opening accounts in your name. An initial alert stays on your file for 90 days and an extended alert stays on your file for seven years.
The contact information for the three major credit bureaus is as follows:
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285. Learn more about the Equifax Fraud Index here.
TransUnion – 1-800-680-7289. Contact the TransUnion Fraud Victim Assistance Department (FVAD) for more information.
Experian – 1-888-397-3742. Learn more about the Experian Credit Victim Assistance Process here.
Order a Free Credit Report
Remember that you are entitled to receive one free credit report from the major credit bureaus once per year. Order a free credit report to get an accurate view of the number and types of accounts that have been opened without your consent. You can then speak to someone in the fraud victim assistance department of each credit bureau to determine what the best course of action will be.
Continue monitoring your credit card statements and bank statements for fraudulent activity, and let your creditors and bank know that your identity may have been compromised. The creditor or bank may be able to freeze or suspend your accounts temporarily when they detect suspicious activity.