If a hacker gains access to your personally identifiable information, your identity is compromised, and the consequences can potentially be disastrous. Let’s take a look at some of the things that identity thieves can do with your Social Security card.
Receive Medical Care
Someone with your Social Security number can undergo medical treatment under your name. This consequence may not sound as severe as some of the other identity theft-related crimes, but it can be.
When someone else gets medical treatment under your name, it can blemish your medical records. In the future, you may also receive medical treatment in accordance with an incorrect medical history, which can be fatal.
Apply for Credit
If someone has your social security number, they can open a bank account in your name. They can also use your social security number to apply for a cash loan or obtain a credit card that they can use for purchases.
Of course, they won’t repay the debt, which can leave you with an unfavorable credit report. By regularly analyzing your credit reports, you will be able to notice fraud early on. Knowing what to do in cases like these can also remedy the situation before you incur losses.
One of the ways for hackers to gain financially from identity theft is by filing false tax returns and claiming returns in your name. If the IRS received a tax return from the identity thief, they wouldn’t accept yours. A way to prevent this from happening is, therefore, to file your return as early as possible.
When you find that your Social Security card is missing, one of the most critical steps you should take is to contact the IRS and to alert them that someone may commit fraud.
Someone that has your social security number can also file for unemployment benefits. Although this doesn’t affect you directly, it may reduce the benefits that you are entitled to at a later point.
One of the most common consequences of identity theft involves being implicated in crimes that you didn’t commit. For example, if the identity thief gets caught for committing a crime, they can give your social security number to the police, which means you get a criminal history.
The problem with getting your identity stolen is that a person can use your personal information for years without you even knowing it. The day you realize that someone stole your identity, the damage may be irreversible.
Preventing Identity Theft
To prevent this from happening to you, be constantly vigilant. Keep your Social Security card in a secure place, and don’t carry it with you. If you find that your card is missing, take immediate action to protect your identity and apply for a new card.
If you change your name because of changes to your marital status, make sure that you change your name on your social security card as soon as possible. Also, use strong passwords and monitor your credit reports as well as activities on your different financial accounts.