The Basics of Social Security Identity Theft
Social Security identity theft is a form of identity theft in which someone uses your Social Security number to apply for credit, open new accounts or commit other fraud. This can happen if your Social Security number is stolen in a data breach, through phishing emails or by simply being written down somewhere where it can be easily accessed by others.
Common Tactics of Social Security Identity Theft
There are a few common tactics that are used in Social Security identity theft. One of the most common is opening new accounts in your name. This can be done by using your Social Security number to apply for credit cards or loans. Another common tactic is using your Social Security number to file for unemployment or disability benefits. This can be done by setting up a fake account using your information and then collecting the benefits that are meant for you. Here are a few ways in which identity thieves can get a hold of your Social Security number to commit their crimes:
- Unsecured websites: Personal information can be stolen through websites that do not offer the proper security measures. Make sure you are looking for the “s” in a website URL. It should appear as “https://” to confirm it is a secure website.
- Phishing attempts through emails and phone calls: Thieves will attempt to contact you with seemingly legitimate messages to create a sense of urgency, causing you to click on an unsafe link.
- Posing as a government official or person of authority: Criminals will call you and identify themselves as a legitimate organization to influence you to give out your personal information.
- Theft of a wallet or purse: Keep your personal belongings close to you and safeguarded from thieves at all times.
- Mail theft: Criminals will rummage through trash cans to get their hands on anything that might contain your personal information, including your Social Security number.