Your social security number is a crucial piece of your identification documentation in the US. It helps you to access services and documents to make your life easier. That importance can have a downside, however. Because your card is the key to accessing so many services and facilities, it’s a magnet for thieves looking to obtain your data.
Identity theft is a widespread side effect of losing your social security number, and once an unwanted party has it, they have the potential to wreak havoc on your life.
Impacts of Identity Theft
Obtaining your social security number can give thieves access to many services such as:
- Opening new payment cards
- Filing fraudulent tax returns and claiming reimbursements
- Accessing your financial accounts
All of these can have a devastating impact on your credit file and financial history and can lead to long-lasting adverse effects on your life.
The Effects of Identity Theft
- Financial Stress
The after effects of identity theft can take some time to work out and include tasks such as rebuilding your credit history and filing paperwork and police reports, which can be difficult if you were already on a budget or struggling with finances.
- Self Blame
Guilt and shame are emotions which are commonly associated with identity theft. Victims may blame themselves and believe they were negligent or fooled. This feeling may even prevent some from seeking help or financial advice as they feel they are responsible.
Identity theft is a personal crime, and the perpetrator may never be identified. This vulnerability can make the victim feel vulnerable and out of control, and fearful that the crime may occur again.
Identify theft is often an anonymous crime, with the identity of the criminal obscured and hard to uncover. This feeling can lead to mistrust and suspicion amongst those close to the victim. There is an inherent fear that any of them could have committed the crime, and nobody can be trusted.
- Family Strife
The sad fact is that research shows that the majority of identity theft is carried out by family, friends, and those known to the victims. Debts, gambling addictions, or other situations can cause people to turn on their own families, and the outcome can be catastrophic for the victim. Trust is shattered, and the emotional fallout is devastating.
The best way to protect yourself from the heartbreak and stress of identity theft is to take good care of your personal details, including your social security number. If your card is lost or stolen, you are potentially handing thieves access to a treasure trove of your details. In this situation, you need to make sure the right people are informed to protect yourself and your circumstances. This includes:
- The police
- The three leading credit agencies – Trust Union, Experian, and Equifax. For this, you only need to tell one – they are required by law to pass on the information
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – they keep complaints of victims of identity theft
- The IRS – this prevents thieves from making fraudulent tax returns in your name
It’s also vital that you complete an online application Florida social security card as soon as possible; this is a quick and straightforward process.