It goes without saying that your social security card is incredibly important. If it becomes lost there are several steps you can take to get it back online quickly and easily. That being said, there are a few other precautions you may want to take as well, especially in the event that it may have been stolen. First, let’s go over how to get a replacement for your social security card online.
Documents You Will Need
Before you go about getting your new social security card, you’ll want to make sure you have the correct documents, and it’s fairly straightforward. All you need are two documents that prove your age, identity, and US citizenship. Pretty simple. However, without these documents, you won’t be able to get a new social security card so if you don’t have them, you’ll likely need to figure out how to obtain them first.
Another thing to consider is that if you are a lawful immigrant, you’ll need a method of proving your current immigration status. This can vary from state to state, but in many cases a copy of your birth certificate will do as long as you were born in the US. In other cases, it’s as simple as providing ID such as your driver’s licence. In any event, this isn’t something to worry too much about if you’ve obtained a social security number already.
Examples of documentation you can use to prove your age, identity, and citizenship include:
- US passport
- US driver’s licence
- State issued identity card
If you are missing these items, you may be asked to provide the following:
- Health insurance card
- Military ID
- School ID
- Employee ID card
Regardless of what you need or what is asked of you, make sure you have proper documentation. It may seem odd that you need so much documentation to essentially obtain another form of documentation, your social security card, but as long as you have the paperwork, it’s pretty easy from here on.
Step 1) Make Sure Your Computer is Safe
While the site you’ll be visiting to get your new social security card will be secure, that doesn’t mean that your computer itself is. While the chances of a virus, or key-logger spying on you is rare, you don’t want to take any chances. Before applying for your new card, take care to scan your computer with an anti-malware program just to be on the safe side. When it comes to sharing sensitive information about your identity only, you can never be too careful after all.
Step 2) Visiting the Website
Once you’re sure that your computer is safe, the next step is to apply for your new card. While you can get a new card by making a phone call to the Social Security Administration, or visiting one of their offices in person, it is often times much easier and more convenient to just do it online. The process is 100% free, and the connection will be secured as mentioned before. The website itself is my Social Security which can be accessed at secure.ssa.gov. This is where you will fill out and submit your application for social security card.
When submitting the application you’ll need the documentation that was discussed earlier. Furthermore, the documentation will need to be either the original copies, or copies certified by the issuing agency. This is to help cut down on identity theft of course, and make it harder for criminals to get a hold of people’s social security number using fake or copied documentation. Photo copies, and even notarized copies of your documentation will not be accepted.
Once you’ve submitted, or emailed your application, that’s it. You’re done. Just wait patiently and your new card will arrive in the mail in a couple of weeks at no charge.
What to Do if Your Card Was Stolen
If you suspect that your social security card was stolen, then getting a replacement is only half the battle. Now you’ll need to take steps to ensure that your identity isn’t stolen, and if it is in the process of being stolen, put a stop to it as quickly as possible. The good news is that all of this is fairly straightforward and easy. A few phone calls will clear everything up, and keep you safe in most cases. Now, let’s go over what you should do to protect your identity if your social security card was stolen.
1) Contact the FTC
This may sound extreme, but filing a formal report with the FTC will protect you in the event that your identity is used illegally. Basically this is just you telling the FTC that if any unauthorized transactions come up on any of your accounts, you weren’t responsible. This could be invaluable in court if anyone tries to hold you accountable for those transactions. Filing a report with the FTC can be done online, or by calling 1-877-438-4338. They will be asking for details on the loss of your social security card, so be prepared to answer their questions.
2) Review Your Accounts and Credit Reports
When your identity is stolen it could be months or even years before anything is done with your info. However, don’t let that stop you from getting a jump on monitoring your bank account, your credit reports, and other sensitive financial information. While you should be keeping an eye on this info already, it is doubly important if your identity has been stolen. The last thing you want is to get hit with surprise bills, or find that your credit cards are maxed, or your bank account bleed dry. Requesting these reports is typically as easy as filling out an online application, or making a phone call.
3) Let the IRS Know About Your Stolen Social Security Card
While dealing with the IRS is something most people want to avoid, this is one time when you’ll need to get in touch with them ASAP. The reason for this is that an identity thief can and will try to file a tax return under your name in many cases. As you can imagine, this is not something you want as the IRS can drop the hammer on you pretty fast if they think you’re the one up to something shady. Take preemptive action and let the IRS know that your social security card was stolen. This way if someone tries to file a tax return in your name, the IRS will be more likely to catch on to the fact that it’s a fake.
4) Contact Credit Reporting Agencies
One of the most common consequences of identity theft is having your credit cards used without your knowledge, or having new credit accounts opened that you didn’t authorize. This can wreck your credit so don’t hesitate to contact a credit reporting agency such as Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Once you’ve filed the report, you will be notified when a new credit account is opened in your name, letting you catch instances of fraud early. You can also renew the report every 90 days if you feel the issue hasn’t been resolved.
Take Identity Theft Seriously
Getting a new social security card is easy, but recovering from identity theft isn’t if you don’t catch it early. Don’t take any chances, follow the advice above, and make sure that any identity thieves that have your information can’t do anything with it. Also, if you feel like your lost card is definitely a matter of identity theft, file a police report. It’s best to do this after you’ve explored the other options though, as the more paperwork you have when contacting the police the better. In any event, protect your identity, and stay safe both online and off. You’ll be glad you did.