Recognize

Is someone using your Social Security number for fraudulent purposes? Social Security fraud and identity theft refers to a fraudster or scammer gaining access to your Social Security number and using it to receive your tax refund, secure employment, obtain a driver’s license, and/or receive unemployment benefits or any other state/federal aide.

If you think your Social Security number has been stolen, we recommend that you act immediately by following our guidelines below, and then proceed to our ReportRecover and Reinforce sections for further assistance.

Some Immediate Action Steps to Take

  • Notify your bank or financial institution about the theft of your Social Security number.
  • Visit IdentityTheft.gov from the Federal Trade Commission to file a report and create a personalized plan for recovery.
  • Download the Identity Theft Help App from the Identity Theft Resource Center for free help with identity theft cases.
  • Go to annualcreditreport.com to obtain a free copy of your credit report, add a fraud alert or freeze your credit on Experian, Equifax and TransUnion in one place.
  • If you need to contact one of the credit reporting companies directly, their customer service numbers are:
  • If your Social Security Card is stolen, contact your local police department immediately to file a theft report. You should also contact SSA directly at 1-800-772-1213 to request a replacement Social Security Card. (Do you need a new Social Security number?)
  • If you suspect you are a victim of tax-related identity theft, contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) immediately to file a report (800-908-4490) and complete an IRS Identity Theft Affidavit (IRS Form 14039).
  • If someone is filing for unemployment benefits using your personal information, alert your employer immediately.

Report

Reporting identity theft incidents to IdentityTheft.gov is very important! The more national reporting data that is collected, the better the chance law enforcement has to catch the criminals and decrease online crime. Although IdentityTheft.gov does not resolve individual complaints directly, they will make your report available to local, state and other law enforcement partners. Please read the IdentityTheft.gov privacy policy here. (If you believe that you’ve received a phishing email, please forward the email directly to reportphishing@apwg.org.)

If someone has filed for unemployment benefits using your personal information, report the fraud to your state unemployment benefits agency. Find your state agency’s contact information here.

Recover

These resources have been gathered, selected and vetted to help simplify the process of recovering after a cybercrime incident has taken place. You may need to contact organizations outside FightCybercrime.org. Results will vary depending on your circumstances.

Reinforce

Once you have notified the appropriate organizations and you are on the road to recovery, it is time to reinforce your cybersecurity using these resources and tools.

Implement Preventive Measures

  • Don’t share your Social Security number unless absolutely necessary — provide alternative information when possible.
  • Avoid giving out your Social Security number over the phone unless you initiated the contact or have already established trust. Hear a Social Security Scam Call.
  • Learn tips on how to spot IRS and Social Security scammers.
  • Be sure websites are secure before submitting your Social Security number or personal information. Find out how to spot a fake website.
  • Closely monitor and review your credit reports and accounts on a regular basis.
  • Be aware that the IRS does not contact taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Learn how to know it’s really the IRS.
  • Create strong passwords. Learn how from ConnectSafely.org.
  • Always enable a two factor authentication (2FA) on key accounts – which requires an additional code to log in.
  • Download our Six Steps to Better Security PDF.

Community Resources