Social Security numbers have become one of the main pieces of identification used in the United States. The Social Security Administration (SSA) manages the issuance and governance of these numbers. There are many times when you might need to know your SSN such as starting a new job, applying for a loan, or applying for Social Security benefits. Sometimes you are required to present your Social Security card as well, but often simply knowing your number is enough. So, what happens if you forget your number and do not have access to your card? You are probably scratching your head and wondering, “What is my Social Security number?” There are some ways that you can find out your Social Security number and even get a replacement card, but you will have to go through the proper steps to verify your identity. If you find yourself needing your SSN, but you cannot find it, then keep reading to learn how to find your Social Security number.
Finding Your Social Security Number (SSN)
If you find yourself thinking, “What is my SSN,” then one of the easiest ways to find it is by looking on existing documentation that you may already have. Believe it or not, your Social Security number is listed on many documents that you might already have in your possession. It is a nine-digit number that will usually contain two hyphens. First, try and locate your Social Security card. Your number will be plainly displayed there. If you cannot find your card, there is still hope.
You can still try some of these other documents that are likely to have your number on them. Look for some of your old tax returns. Your number will be listed typically on the first page of your tax return. You can also check your W-2 from your employer and maybe even your bank statements. Both of these documents are common places to find your SSN listed. If you still have no luck, check your driver’s license. While most states no longer display your SSN on your license, it is worth a look. If you have an immigrant visa, then your USCIS Forms are the next place you should look. SSNs are common on your visa paperwork, so you can often find your number there. If you are unable to find your number anywhere you look, then you’ll need to contact the SSA to start the process of getting a replacement Social Security card.
Replacing A Lost Social Security Card
Replacing a lost Social Security card is not extremely difficult, although you will need the proper documentation. If you have already registered online for a My Social Security account, then you are in a great position. In most states, you can request a replacement card using the online service through the Social Security Administration website at SSA.gov. You can simply use your account there to request the replacement as long as you are not requesting any other changes like a name change. However, if you do not already have an account, you will likely be unable to go that route since you must know your SSN to create the account.
In that case, you will need to head down to your local Social Security office. Be prepared to bring documents that will prove your identity such as a driver’s license, U.S. Passport, or state issued ID card. If you do not have any of these documents, the SSA might accept other documents like a health insurance card, school identification card, or U.S. military ID or identification number. You should note that a birth certificate will not serve as proof of your ID. It proves your date of birth and age when obtaining a card for the first time, but it does not prove identity. You should also note that you will always have to provide original documents. Photocopies or even notarized copies are not valid for proving your identity.
Your local SSA office should be able to give you a receipt that acts as a temporary Social Security card. It should list your Social Security number as well as prove the fact that you have requested a new card. While this will not act as an official card, some businesses will accept this in lieu of your official card while you are waiting on the replacement.
What Can Someone Do With Your Social Security Number?
You might be wondering, “What can someone do with my Social Security number?” The answer is that they can do a lot, and none of it is good. An identity thief who has access to your SSN can quickly cause lots of damage to your credit score and financial situation. The thief can obtain loans and credit cards in your name, file fraudulent tax returns, and even access your bank accounts and withdraw your money. Having access to your SSN allows for easy identity theft because it becomes easy for the thief to impersonate you at financial institutions.
The ease of fraud makes Social Security numbers extremely valuable to a thief. This is one reason why there are so many scams out there that attempt to gain access to your SSN. Several government agencies like the Federal Trade Commission and others investigate these scams and attempt to stop them as quickly as possible.
How To Protect Your SSN
Since a lost or stolen SSN number can cause so much damage to your finances, you should always do everything possible to protect it. First, you should keep your Social Security card in a safe place and only carry it with you when absolutely necessary. Do not keep it in your wallet and carry it all the time because that greatly increases the odds that it will be lost. Also, be very mindful of phishing scams so that you do not inadvertently give your information to a thief.
Keep a close eye on your credit report. If you notice anything suspicious or see accounts listed that you did not open, then you should take immediate action. Go ahead and place a fraud alert with the credit bureaus Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. You might even consider placing a freeze on your SSN so that no one has access to your credit file. Depending on the severity of the situation, you might consider seeking legal advice for the proper way to handle the situation.
The Bottom Line
It is not uncommon for someone to forget their Social Security number, but you should know how to find it when you need it. The easiest place to look is your Social Security card, although there are other places you can find it should you lose your card. In that case, you will still need to go ahead and request a replacement card with your SSA office or through www.ssa.gov. Always take every possible precaution to protect your SSN from an identity thief. If your number has been compromised, then you should take action immediately to prevent further harm.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I find my Social Security Number online?
You will need to have a My Social Security account to access your SSN online. If you have not already signed up for an account, then you will not be able to get one until you find your number using another method. Knowing your SSN is required to sign up for an account, but once you have the account, you can access it using your user name and password.
How can I find my child’s Social Security Number online?
You probably will not be able to find your child’s number anywhere online. If you have claimed them as a dependent on your previous tax returns, you will be able to find their SSN there. If not, then you will need to contact the Social Security Administration so that they can advise you on the proper steps for requesting a replacement card for your child.
What do I do if I don’t remember my Social Security number?
If you cannot remember your Social Security number, the first thing you might be wondering is how to find your Social Security number. The quickest thing to do is find your Social Security card so that you can read your number from it. If you have misplaced or lost your card, then you should check your tax returns, W-2, or bank statements to locate your number. These documents will often contain your number. If you still cannot find it, then head down to your local SSA office to request a replacement card and get access to your number.