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Social Security Numbers & Identity Theft

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), “Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America.” Someone can use another person’s Social Security number to get personal information about them. An identity thief can use someone else’s Social Security number and their good credit to apply for more credit in the victim’s name. Then, the identity thief uses the credit cards and doesn’t pay the bills, in effect damaging the victim’s credit.

Often, a victim does not find out that someone has used their Social Security number until they’re turned down for credit, or they begin getting calls from unknown creditors who demand payment for debt the victim never racked up. When someone illegally uses another person’s Social Security number, they’re assuming the person’s identity and can cause a lot of issues for the victim, which can be very difficult to reverse. It can also take many years for the victim to rebuild their credit.

How Social Security Numbers Are Stolen

How might someone steal another person’s Social Security number, especially since they’re heavily protected these days? Identity thieves can steal a victim’s personal information by stealing wallets and purses, by stealing mail for pre-approved credit card offers, by rummaging through trash and even public trash dumps. They can even pay certain types of employees for information about victims that appears on various types of applications.

Ways a thief can use someone else’s SSN:

  • False applications for loans
  • False applications for credit cards
  • Bank fraud
  • Computer fraud
  • Wire fraud
  • Mail fraud
  • Employment fraud
  • Tax-related identity theft (e.g. tax refunds)
  • Check fraud
  • Criminal identity theft (leading to an arrest warrant for the victim)
  • Medical identity theft
  • Selling the SSN on the dark web to the highest bidder

Once someone has another person’s SSN, they can become the victim. They can collect tax refunds and benefits, commit crimes, make purchases, set up bank accounts, receive medical care, establish residences, use health insurance, and so on – all in the victim’s name.

If you’re accused of stealing someone’s Social Security number, contact Masella Law Firm, P.A. to explore your legal defenses.