If your Social Security card is lost or stolen, it could wreak havoc on your personal affairs. Since your Social Security number is used for basically everything from identification to creditworthiness, you could easily become the victim of identity theft if your card falls into the wrong hands. There are steps that you need to take immediately upon recognizing that your card has been compromised. We will outline those steps in this article as well as tell you what you need to do to get a replacement card. While losing your card is not good, following the advice below can help you ensure that your lost card does not end up causing a disaster for you.
What To Do If Your Social Security Card Was Lost Or Stolen
If your card is lost or stolen, then you need to act immediately to help protect yourself. As soon as you recognize that your card was stolen, you should file a report with your local police department. Notify the authorities so that they can begin working on finding the culprit, and that police report also serves as proof that your card really was stolen in case you need to work on repairing your credit later. A stolen Social Security card is typically more likely to cause you problems down the road, but a lost card can cause issues too. If you simply lost or misplaced your card, then you can skip this step and move on to the next one.
In addition to the police, you will want to go ahead and notify the Social Security Administration that your card is lost or stolen. You should go ahead and register for your MySocialSecurity account at SSA.gov also. This online portal allows you to request a replacement card, view your earnings statements, estimate your future benefits, and many more things. Make sure that you claim your account so that whoever has your SS card cannot claim it fraudulently.
Next, you’ll want to place a fraud alert or even a credit freeze on your Social Security number. This will notify the credit bureaus that your SSN has been compromised, and they will be on the lookout for anyone attempting to gain credit in your name. You should also go ahead and take a look at your current credit report to make sure that it is accurate. Immediately report and dispute any discrepancies that you find on the report. Once you have done the proper reporting and taken action to protect yourself against fraud, then it is time to get a replacement Social Security card.
How To Apply For A Replacement Social Security Card
While you don’t need to have your Social Security card on you all the time, there are occasions where having your physical card is imperative. So, if you have lost your card, then you’ll need to get a replacement from the Social Security office. Thankfully, the process of getting a replacement SS card is not extremely difficult. You’ll just need to provide the proper documentation and your new card will be mailed to you.
Once you have created your mySocialSecurity account, you can request a replacement card online in most states. As long as you have a United States mailing address and are making no other changes (like a name change), then you will simply need to upload a copy of your valid driver’s license or state-issued identification card to make the request. The site will guide you through the process, and you should have your new card in under 30 days.
If you live in a state that does not qualify for online requests, then you’ll need to either mail in the application for a new card with your documentation or visit your local Social Security office. You will need one document that proves your identity. There are a few you can choose from, and they are as follows:
- U.S. Birth Certificate
- U.S. hospital record of birth
- U.S. Passport
- Religious document showing date of birth (must have been established before the age of 5)
- Final adoption decree (showing birth data taken from birth certificate)
It usually takes 10-14 to process the request for a new card, and you should receive it in the mail within 30 days. However, if you need your new card immediately, you do have an option to get a temporary replacement card. In actuality, it is not a temporary card. It is technically a receipt showing that your request for a replacement card has been made. However, this receipt can serve as proof of a temporary card in some cases.
How To Protect Your Identity Going Forward
Now that you have made your initial report and have a new card on the way, what do you need to do to protect yourself going forward? First, you should consider signing up for a credit monitoring service so that you can keep a close eye on your credit. This type of service will alert you immediately if anyone attempts to use your Social Security number to obtain a new line of credit like a loan or credit card.
You might even consider contacting the major credit reporting agencies like Experian, Equifax, and Transunion to place a lock on your Social Security number. This would prevent anyone from using your SSN to obtain credit without going through rigorous identification verification. Finally, make sure to keep a constant watch on your credit file for any suspicious activity. You can obtain a free copy of your report at annualcreditreport.com, and staying vigilant will help protect you from ID theft going forward.
Finally, you should keep your Social Security card safe and secure. There is really no reason to carry your card with you all the time. It is best stored in a safe location and only pulled out when absolutely necessary. This can help prevent both theft and accidental loss of your card.
A lost or stolen SS card can have many negative consequences, and you should know how to protect yourself in case your card is compromised. You should know the proper steps to take to report the loss, get your replacement card, and protect yourself going forward. Keeping your card safe is the best method of prevention, but there are things that you can do to minimize your exposure when your card is lost. Follow the tips laid out in this article to keep yourself and your identity safe from an identity thief.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I report my Social Security card stolen?
You should call your local law enforcement to report your card stolen. They can take a police report and begin an investigation into finding the thief. You should also notify the Social Security Administration that your card has been stolen as well as the IRS. Notifying these agencies, in addition to the credit bureaus, will flag your SSN and make it more difficult for the thief to perform fraudulent activity using your SSN.
Can you put a freeze on your Social Security number?
Yes, you can place a freeze on your SSN. One option is to place a fraud alert on your SSN. This notifies the credit agencies that your SSN might be used illegally to commit fraud or other scams. However, people might still be able to open credit in your name. Placing a hard freeze on your SSN might be a better option. This prevents new credit from being opened in your name without very stringent identify verification taking place.
What can a thief do with my Social Security number?
There are numerous things that a thief can do with your SSN, and none of them are good. One of the most common things that happen when someone is using your Social Security number is opening credit accounts in your name. They might get credit cards, bank accounts, or loans in your name and use them to purchase items. A thief might even use your SSN to file a fraudulent tax return with the Internal Revenue Service. Taking this action could allow them to receive a large tax refund, and then you might be on the hook later for the fraudulent return.
How can I protect my child against identity theft?
One of the best things you can do to provide identity theft protection for your child is to keep their Social Security card stored in a safe and secure place until it is needed. Do not carry the card around with you or allow the child to carry it. Also, you should obtain a free credit report for them each year to monitor their credit history and make sure that nothing suspicious appears on the report.
Can I replace my Social Security card the same day?
Unfortunately, you cannot replace your Social Security card the same day. You can, however, visit your local Social Security office and obtain a receipt serving as proof that you have submitted your application for a new card. This receipt can be used as evidence of a temporary card in some situations. It will take anywhere from 10-14 to process your application for a new card, but the quickest way to get the replacement is through your Social Security account online.
What are the consequences of having a stolen security card?
The biggest consequence of a stolen card is identity theft. When a thief has access to your personal information, they can perform all kinds of fraudulent activity using your identification. This could be opening bank accounts or credit cards and even filing fraudulent tax returns.
Does my Social Security card expire?
No, your Social Security card is valid for life. Should you lose your card, you can obtain a replacement from the Social Security Administration. However, there is no need to renew your card unless you need to make a name change or some other change to your information.
What is the Social Security Administration’s policy on lost or stolen Social Security cards?
The SSA will replace your card at no cost. They will allow you a total of three replacements per year and a total of ten replacements during your lifetime. So, if you lose your card or have it stolen more than 10 times, you might be in trouble when it comes time to get a new card.