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What You Need to Know to Protect Your Social Security Number

The recent Anthem hack affected more than 8 million people whose social security details were stolen prompting widespread fear about social security number safety. The spate of identity theft is escalating and worrisome.

The after-effects of identity theft can have many negative impacts on your life. For example, if you have no identity theft insurance, that means you will likely spend better part of your day notifying agencies and businesses, credit card companies as well as credit reporting entities. To do these series of notifications, you will have to write letters that will need to be notarized, claiming you are indeed the innocent victim and not the architect of some reprehensible plot to ruin your own status. In addition, until the matter is resolved, you may have to face the possibility of a plummeting credit score, you may be denied credit for products and services, or may face higher interest rates when shopping for credit.

After the theft of a social security number, litigation may follow, and if your date of birth is also compromised, that can allow an identity thief to not only use your identity to acquire credit with your name, but also gain a passport or other official documents or file fraudulent tax refunds from the IRS.

With advancements in technology, it is becoming easier for identity thieves and hackers to gain access to your personal data which can be used against you in many ways and it may lead to litigations and credit repayment which you were not responsible for. Now, let us look at a few methods to protect your social security number.

  • Identity Theft Insurance: Securing identity theft insurance may not necessarily protect you from having your social security number being stolen. However, most insurance policies will alert you when there are suspected tampering in your credit and your good name. By getting credit or identity theft insurance, you may be protected against some of the issues that may arise if your identity is stolen. It will help you repair the damage to your credit and reputation. The insurance may also be useful in reducing the time and effort involved in making everything right again. But, you should bear in mind that many credit insurance companies have varying policies and you should spend some time studying them before settling on one.
  • Credit Check: Most people who have been victim of identity theft hardly run a credit check on themselves and this failure may add to the problems they face thereafter. Americans have the right to get a free copy of their credit report, once every 12 months, from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. For more information on obtaining free credit reports, one can visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228.
  • Social Security Number Trace: This is considered the cheapest and the best preemptive measure against identity theft. It is important to run your own social security trace with a reputable company and some may require you to fill a consent form in order to verify your claims. The trace may reveal what names are linked to your social security number allowing you to quickly inform the right credit services and authorities of the theft. In some cases you can ask that the tracing companies monitor purchases on your accounts and inform you whenever there are transactions from other cities.

Being informed and acting quickly after an identity theft may at least limit possible damages.

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