It is a big deal when your social security card is lost or missing since your Social Security Number (SSN) is a reliable proof of identity that criminals might use to steal your financial identity. If your social security card is stolen, the issue becomes more serious because criminals will try to steal your identity or simply sell your social security card to others that will.
Taking the proper steps once your social security card is stolen, missing, or lost can help prevent this problem. The focus of this article is the steps that you should take if your social security card is stolen, such as reporting it missing/stolen/lost, using your personal identification documents such as your birth certificate to request a new card, and taking steps to prevent identity theft.
Reporting a Stolen Social Security Card
If you suspect or know that your social security card is either lost, missing, or stolen, the first step should always be to report it to the relevant authorities. File a non-emergency police report by dialing 311. The police will obviously not be able to help you get back your card, but reporting it will help if someone uses your documents to commit identity theft because you will have a legal record of the theft.
Report the lost/missing/stolen social security card by contacting the Social Security Office directly. You can do that by setting an appointment at your local Social Security Office or calling the number provided at their website. If you suspect that someone is already using your identity, you should call the Social Security Fraud Hotline.
How to Protect Your Identity If Your Social Security Card is Stolen/Missing/Lost
If your social security card is stolen, missing, or lost, you have lost an important record that proves your identity. Taking the right steps will protect you from fiscal losses.
you need to take to protect your identity if your social security card is lost, missing, or stolen:
- Call your credit card company and bank and place a fraud alert on your bank accounts and credit cards.
- Call a credit union to place a fraud alert on the social security card. However, you have to renew it every 90 days until the issue has been replaced.
- If you don’t know what your SSN is, you need to contact the Social Security Office with either your passport or a copy of your birth certificate.
- Report the identity theft to the FTC
- Contact the IRS to report the theft and ensure that someone does not submit tax returns in your name. You might be required to prove your identity using your birth record to do this.
How to Replace a Stolen/Missing/Lost Social Security Card
Depending on the circumstances, you can choose to order a replacement social security card or request a new one. It is usually a fast and hassle-free process to order a replacement card, while requesting a new card is a much more tedious and longer process.
If you are at least 18 years old, are a United States citizen, and have a state issued driver’s license, you can use the official Social Security website to apply for a replacement. You can use the “My Social Security” account. If you haven’t already set one up, you will require your SSN to do so.
You will require:
- Identification such as a driver’s license or state issued ID or a United States passport
- Original certified birth certificate or passport. If you don’t have either document, you can apply for one online
In either case, you should submit a combination of other certified personal identification records if you don’t have the documents required. You will be required to submit a certified birth certificate and not a copy. You don’t have to pay any fee to request a replacement copy of your social security card.
How to Get a New Social Security Card
If your social security card is stolen/missing/lost and your identity is stolen, you can request a new social security number. The process is much more difficult and requires you to provide a variety of documents that prove your identity, which include a photo ID and a certified birth certificate.
To apply for a new social security card, you should make an appointment with the local social security office. On the day of the appointment, be sure to bring:
- Certified birth certificate
- Proof of address i.e. utility bills etc.
- Government issued photo ID
- Proof of hardship i.e. identity theft reports, police reports, etc.
The Social Security Office will always have the final say on whether or not you will get a new Social Security Number. However, getting a new social security card won’t necessarily make your identity theft problems to disappear. Your old Social Security Number will still be out there, probably in the hands of criminals, and it will still be connected to you.
What should You do After You Get Your Replacement/New Social Security Card to Prevent Fraud?
Once you get the new/replacement card, lock it away safely until when it is absolutely needed. It is advisable not to carry the card around regularly since you risk losing it again and you also don’t need to carry it around on a regular basis.
If you do lose the card again, it is advisable to take direction as prescribed above to prevent yourself from financial fraud. You should never forget to put a credit freeze on your credit report at the 3 major credit reporting bureaus to ensure that no financial fraud is done in your name.
If you have recently lost, misplaced, or had your social security card stolen, you should not wait to address the situation. Make sure that you quickly apply for a replacement or a new card. Stolen or lost social security cards expose you to higher risk of fraud and the sooner you are able to lock down a new card and keep it safe and secure, the better.