While identity theft is a serious offense in many countries, it is sadly becoming rampant. You should be concerned about your privacy and security. Your SSN (Social Security Number), if hacked, can be used to carry out different thefts, which can badly affect your reputation and almost everything you’ve been laboring to achieve. Simply put, if someone else is using your SSN, that person becomes more like a “second you.”
What situation can expose your SSN to the bad guys?
Data breaches are the commonest situation that can expose your personal to the public. In 2017, millions of Americans had their personal data exposed to the public due to a surge in data breaches, including the Equifax case in January 2017. When a data breach occurs, your SSN is among the core information that is being exposed.
Also, asides data breach cases, another way a “bad guy” can access your SSN is by stealing it from your documents; by hacking your email and getting it out from your confidential documents in the mailbox.
How to detect that someone is using your social security number
These tips can help you to detect if someone is using your SSN.
1. Receiving strange alerts
When you start receiving unusual alerts for bills and credit card transactions you never made, it may be that someone is using your SSN.
2. You didn’t get an expected billing mail
Let’s say that you were expecting a bill or statement via mail, but you never got that. Don’t hesitate, put a call through to the billing company or your financial institution
3. Increase or decrease in credit score
If you haven’t done anything that should increase or decrease your credit score and yet it is happening – it could be a sign that your data have been manipulated.
Other possible scenarios that can indicate identity theft include:
- Receiver credit cards you didn’t apply for, irrespective of whether it bears your name or not.
- Constant calls from debt collectors regarding services you never signed up for
How to check if someone is using your social security number
If you’ve noticed any of the above situations – here’s the next step to take towards ensuring that your SSN is safe and secure.
Run a comprehensive credit report
Since U.S. citizens are can run free credit reports once in a year, if you haven’t used up the free slot, you should apply for a credit report. Alternatively, you can use a credit monitoring service.
Report to authorities
Manually cross-check your CC statements and bank accounts. If you notice some suspicious activities, get in touch with your financial institution, or report to relevant authorities.
You should always check for identity theft once you start noticing all that is discussed here. Protect your social security number very well, and only provide your personal data on secure platforms.