Your Social Security number was stolen — Now what?

According to the Federal Trade Commission, more than 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year; and, with advancements in banking and web technology, that number is growing.

Identity theft is a pervasive and continuous event, when thieves or hackers obtain an individual’s personal identifying information, or PII, for their monetary benefit.

Imagine logging into your bank account one day to find out that your account number has been stolen; now there are dozens of unauthorized transactions that just won’t stop. Identity theft can occur in so many ways and can wreak innumerable types of harm on people. ATM card skimmers, internet viruses, phone scammers or the simple loss of a checkbook, credit card or personal document can leave the door wide open for a thief to assume some aspect of your financial life.

The Holy Grail for identity thieves is a Social Security number. This nine-digit, government-issued number identifies you on everything from tax documents, to credit and medical insurance information, and bank accounts. If an identity thief gets a hold of your SSN, he might obtain complete access to your accounts, which could lead to financial hardship, or even ruin, that can be difficult to repair.

SSNs and Banking — A Numbers Game

There are many types of identity theft, but thieves commonly take over your savings and checking accounts with your Social Security number. The consumer division of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) puts it best:

“If identity thieves have your personal information, they can drain your bank account, run up charges on your credit cards, open new utility accounts, or get medical treatment on your health insurance.”

The Social Security Administration, according to Time magazine, only recently began randomizing SSNs — prior to 2011, the first three and middle two digits of the nine-number combination were a person’s birth date and place of birth. The last four numbers are really what thieves want, and though they’re also the hardest to guess and obtain, they can still be had.

The Privacy Act of 1974 states that you are not obligated to give out your SSN to government agencies or other organizations, though many people still do, unaware of this statute.

So what are some ways that your SSN can be illegally obtained?

  • Banks and other financial institutions are accustomed to using SSNs — at least in part — to comprise account numbers. They might also use your number as a security question to gain access to your account if you’ve forgotten your password or PIN. If someone has your lost or stolen Social Security card, he can identify himself as you and obtain access to your hard-earned money. The same can be said for accessing your lines of credit, and it can be hard to tell if this information is compromised without your balance being maxed out or seemingly irregular charges being made.
  • According to the Social Security Department, identity thieves can view personal or business information provided on unsecured internet sites.
  • It sounds far fetched, but identity crooks are known to bribe personal information from employees of stores where you shop — for instance, on applications for store credit cards or special orders.

How to Protect Your Social Security Number

Guard it with your life, minimizing the use of your Social Security number lessens the chance of it being pilfered.

  1. Go sans card. Credit bureau TransUnion advises that one of the items you should never carry in your wallet is your Social Security card. Simply misplacing or dropping it, or your wallet, could put you in jeopardy. Inadvertently giving out your number over the phone might result in identity theft as well, as the caller might be a scammer.
  2. Shred your documents. Never throw out personal paperwork that could contain your Social Security number or other sensitive information; just invest in a shredder. Tearing sensitive documents up into little bits isn’t enough, either. Many organizations like AAA hold document shredding days when they take care of this for you.
  3. Pick up that phone. If you fear your identity has been stolen, or notice any strange unauthorized behavior in your bank account, call the authorities — that includes your bank, the police and the FTC. Check your credit report annually to see if last year’s documented activity is correct. If not, dispute it — it could be due to identity theft.

Can You Get a New Social Security Number?

The answer is yes! Under justified circumstances, anyone can apply for a brand new SSN.

The same process applies for requesting a new or replacement Social Security card — you can apply in person at your local Social Security office. There, according to the Social Security Department, you’ll need to provide:

  • Your current SSN
  • Documents establishing your citizenship or immigration status, as well as age, identity and name changes, if any

Most importantly, if you’re the victim of identity theft, you’ll also need to provide “evidence documenting the harassment or abuse,” which is why it’s important to contact the authorities and other organizations listed above.

If there’s a shadow of a doubt that your identity has been stolen or compromised, act on it before your identity becomes a shadow of who you are.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Facial recognition software at G2E – Todd Prince
Shing Tao, CEO of Las Vegas-based Remark Holdings, talks about his facial recognition product. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Bobby Baldwin to leave MGM
MGM Resorts International executive and professional poker player Bobby Baldwin is set to leave MGM.
Caesars has new armed emergency response teams
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has created armed emergency response teams. They are composed of former military and law enforcement officials. "These teams provide valuable additional security capabilities,” Caesars spokeswoman Jennifer Forkish said. Caesars is hiring Security Saturation Team supervisors, managers and officers, according to LinkedIn. The company did not say how many people it plans to hire for the units. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas, airlines prepare for CES
CES in January is expected to attract more than 180,000 attendees. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
AGS partners with Vegas Golden Knights
AGS is the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of Class II slot machines used primarily in tribal jurisdictions. It announced a marketing partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International prepares to open MGM Springfield
Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International gave news media and invited guests a preview of the $960 million MGM Springfield casino in Massachusetts. The commonwealth's first resort casino will open Friday, Aug. 24. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like