OK, a thug just mugged you and took your wallet and all your cards. You face-palm yourself because you realize you shouldn’t have had your Social Security card with you. Or maybe someone burglarized your home and stole the card along with other items.
It’s a pain, but it’s not the end of the world. All you need to do is to apply for a replacement Social Security card, and that’s the end of it, right?
It’s Not That Simple
In a perfect world, all you would need do is report the card stolen. We don’t live in that ideal world. What’s the harm with a lost Social Security card? Let’s investigate that.
Your SSN gives you access to certain benefits. Criminals use stolen SSNs to claim these benefits fraudulently. You could run into problems when you go to collect benefits later. Fortunately, reporting the card stolen should go a long way to preventing fraud.
It’s not infallible, but at least you’ll have it on record that your card is missing, and you can use that if you need proof later.
There are a few potential identity-theft issues to be concerned about.
Someone Applies for Credit in Your Name
Someone applies for credit using your information. In order to apply for credit, you need to give the SSN. As a result, it’s a good move to report the loss of the card to the different credit bureaus. They can place a note on your credit report, which can prevent unauthorized credit applications being approved.
It’s a nuisance if you want to apply for credit, but you can have the notes removed. You might think that you can simply dispute the unauthorized transactions later, but you’re only partly correct. While you can lodge a dispute, it’s up to you to prove that you weren’t the applicant.
And the company issuing the credit is not going to take that loss, so it could take a long while to clear your name.
Your Name and Number Being Sold Off to an Illegal Immigrant
To get legitimate employment in this country, you need an SSN. There’s a big market for these numbers when it comes to illegal immigrants. They could use your number to establish a whole work history and later even claim benefits under your name.
Criminals Need Throw Away IDs
If a criminal gets arrested or detained by the cops, they might use a throwaway ID. As a result, you could end up with an arrest record that has nothing to do with you. And clearing your credit history is a cake walk in comparison to that.
Your best bet is to keep your card as safe as possible. Don’t carry it with you unless you need it for some reason. If it does get stolen, report the theft as soon as you realize it.