Losing important documents can come with some heightened fears and frustrations. These could probably be due to the risk of having them in the wrong hands that could use them for malicious purposes like identity theft and others.
The social security card is one such important document. It contains a person’s social security number which is a nine-digit unique numerical identifier assigned to US citizens and permanent and temporary workers alike. As a means of national identification, most employers, hospitals, and schools use it to index their employees, patients, and students respectively. It’s so important that without it, legal financial transactions may be difficult to perform.
Losing a social security card can easily cause panic, especially when the owner of the card doesn’t have the number committed to memory. Instead of panicking, here are a few things you can do to mitigate the risk associated with the loss and hasten its recovery.
- Contact The Local Police In Your Area
Immediately after losing your Social Security Card, the first point of call should be your local police department. Being a law enforcement agency, the identity crime units of your local police department are empowered to carry out investigations that can help trace activities linked to the Social Security Number.
Also, an officially filed theft report can help exclude you from illegal transactions or crimes that may later ensue from the social security number if stolen. It serves as a legal record of the theft. You may be required to swear an affidavit, and also provide a copy of your driver’s license, birth certificate, or other documents issued by the government.
- Reach Out To The Social Security Administration
The next point of call is the social security administration. The Social Security Administration is the independent agency in charge of issuing individuals their social security numbers and must be informed of the whole process. Notifying them of the incident would help them provide legal support that will complement the police theft report, thereby standing as a sort of insurance policy for you against potential fraudulent risks.
Furthermore, it helps to fast-track the process of its recovery or possible replacement. A simple call put through to the Social Security Administration can ease the process and provide you with a same-day social security card replacement for use while your replacement is still underway.
- Request for your Credit Report
A credit report reveals all bill payment history, loans, current debt, and other financial details about you through your Social Security Number. Alas, the Social Security Number can be breached and used for other illegal financial activities after being accessed through a stolen social security card.
In this case, accessing your credit report would help to reveal all recent financial transactions undertaken through the breached Social Security Number. Having this knowledge can help inform your next line of action on how to steer clear of other social security-related crimes.
- Trigger A Fraud Alert On Your Credit File
A lost or stolen social security card puts anyone that has access to the Social Security Number at advantage over you. Such a person can use your SSN to apply for more credit in your name and can force you to pay for fraudulent debts and other financial obligations.
As a measure to prevent identity theft crimes, especially on finances, a fraud alert can help to notify creditors to thoroughly scrutinize and verify your identity before extending the credit. This is a free service that can be conveniently done by you online, and it makes it difficult or even impossible for someone else to open a new account on your credit file.
The top credit bureaus can contact you via phone or email just to ensure that you’re the one authorizing the credit extension. This service helps to safeguard their clients from identity crime-related frauds or transactions.
- Consider A Credit Freeze
Is a fraud alert not enough? You can take a step further by initiating a credit freeze. This blocks unauthorized access to your credit report. Quite often, creditors request a credit report before opening new accounts. A credit freeze makes your credit report inaccessible to anyone considering using your identity to borrow money or for other financial crimes.
A credit freeze is regulated by the federal government and each fresh application for new credit requires that the credit freeze placed to be removed. This unfreezing can be done only by the actual owner of the social security card, as some detailed information would be asked to verify identity.
- Reassess Your Financial Statement
Your financial statement shows all your financial activities, it so reveals any activity not authorized by you. By reviewing it, you can be able to see all financial identity thefts carried out through the privileged information only your social security card can give.
This helps to notify you that someone might have accessed your financial records and calls for safer means of preventing future unauthorized transactions. Also, the financial statement serves to report all fraudulent activities owing to identity theft from your creditor and the other financial crime agencies
- Reach Out To An Identity Theft Protection Service Provider
Identity theft protection services help you from identity theft. If you reach out to them after a stolen security card that can incline you towards all forms of identity theft, their services ensure that your identity and credit are constantly monitored by professionals that can help reinstate your identity later.
They also monitor all illegal or unauthorized access and usage of your information and alert you when your information has been breached. In addition, they conduct all activities that can facilitate the recovery of your lost identity such that you are not charged with the consequences of all the illegal activities undertaken.
- Ensure Other Identification Documents Are Intact And Readily-available
In the absence of your social security card, your workplace, financial services, and even the Social Security Administration would request other means of identification. These original documents are needed to verify your citizenship, age, and identity. They can be a great substitute pending the replacement of your social security card.
- Request for Replacement Card
If you satisfy the requirements, you may be able to place a request for a replacement card. Supplying the right credentials with no indicated change of details qualifies you for the social security administration free online service. You’d be able to get your replacement card mailed to you in just a few days.
Your social security card carries access to a lot of your personal and financial information which can be used for fraudulent activities in the wrong hands. It’s therefore expedient that you keep them safe and avoid carrying them about unnecessarily to prevent loss. However, in case of an observed loss, you can quickly safeguard your identity through the methods indicated above.