Identity theft can be scary, especially when it comes to your social security number. When a thief has sensitive information such as this, they can do a lot of harm. Identifying how they can use your social security details can help you to protect yourself and spot the signs early.
Here are some of the ways a thief can use your details.
Your Name on Their Crimes
This happens more often than you might think and can be detrimental to how you can find employment, credit and beyond. If a thief gets hold of your social security number, they can use it when they are arrested for a crime. When filling out relevant forms, they can provide your details including this number. When it comes to background checks, you might get a nasty surprise. Removing this information from your records can be time-consuming, and very stressful.
Medical Insurance Theft
If someone else has your social security number, they might try and claim for medical care and supplies under your name. This can cost you a lot of money in terms of insurance policies rising and once again can be hard to reverse. If you suspect this has happened to you, contact your insurance company, and notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) as soon as possible.
Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud is a common theft among those who have their social security details stolen. The thief may be able to obtain credit cards in your name which can run you into unimaginable debt that you never took out. They might also find a way to use your current credit cards. If you suspect this has happened to you, it is vital that you contact your credit card company to end it before it gets worse and tell the police. Be aware of your bank statements and change your PIN if you are concerned.
You should notice that this type of criminal activity is happening early on because you might be reliant on these payments. If you are receiving unemployment, retirement, or disability benefits, then be aware that someone with your social security number can steal your benefits.
Tax Identity Theft
With your details, a thief might be able to file a tax refund in your name. Although it is fake, it can be hard to spot until it is too late. Once they have collected the tax refund, it can cause you further issues when you file your genuine request. Any duplicate requests will be rejected so make sure you protect your sensitive information.
The above serves as just some of the reasons why you should be destroying sensitive information. Shred any paperwork that has your social security number on it and never give out the details to anyone who has no right to ask for them. Thieves will look just about anywhere for your details — your trash, emails—you name it. Stay vigilant to give yourself the best chance of not becoming a victim.