Is Someone Jeopardizing Your Decorating Business By Using Your Social Security Number?
The success of decorators is dependent on their good reputation and financial standing. Social Security Identity Theft can ruin your reputation, your credit score, and your lines of credit and decimate your client base.
Your Social Security Number, as well as other personal details, are almost certain to be on the Internet. Your information may be in a Dark Web database, waiting for the right buyer. Or someone could be already planning a scam using your personal information.
What are the dangers of a stolen social security number?
SSNs, which the government issues to U.S. citizens, open the door to commerce. They’re sold as a result of illegal immigrants, undocumented employees, scammers, and people trying to hide their true identities.
If the thief knows the SSN, along with the full name and the address of the SSN owner, he is able to purchase and sell cars and property, get credit from suppliers and utilities, open new bank accounts, and obtain new credit cards. He can also steal your savings or commit fraud against health insurance.
The police will search for you if criminals steal your SSN and use it to commit crimes.
Some people don’t know that their SSN has been compromised
Criminals are clever enough to understand how to remain under the radar and extend their time with a stolen SSN. Some people consider it an art to use multiple stolen SSNs to fund small expenses. Some may pay small bills and rack up charges to maintain an appearance and avoid detection.
Small business owners often only discover that there is a problem when they are suddenly unable to obtain credit for completing projects.
How can I check if my social security number is being used by someone else?
Signs that Someone Stole Your Identity
- Check your bank statement. Do not just focus on large transactions. Fraudsters are often satisfied with smaller transactions or subscriptions. Check your card for “test charges” or small recurring transactions.
- Check your credit report to see if any strange or unauthorized accounts have been created in your name.
- Has your employer told you that your SSN is not working properly when filing your paperwork or taxes?
- Contact the IRS as soon as you find out that you have received a transcript of your tax that you didn’t request or that more than one return was filed. Some victims discover that they are owed additional taxes or that collection action has been initiated against them.
- Have your state or federal benefits been reduced or canceled due to a change in income?
- You may no longer receive bills through the mail.
- Have you seen new bills for products and services that are unfamiliar?
- You may be receiving calls from your creditors about unpaid bills or accounts you don’t own.
Report SSN Fraud
Take immediate action. File an identity theft report at your local police station. If all else fails, it may be necessary to apply for a Social Security number. This is not possible without a complete police report. Report the theft next to:
- The IRS is designed to stop fraudsters from filing fake tax returns or claiming your refund.
- Federal Trade Commission – Here you can find a useful plan for recovery.
- The Internet Crime Complaint Center for distribution to federal, state, and local authorities.
Send a Fraud Alert Notification to one of the three credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax. Each CRA is required to notify the other two CRAs, as well as government agencies. To start cleaning your credit report, you must track down and contact all fraudulent accounts. Check that each account is also on the CRAs’ records.
You’re SSN is for Life, and The Problems Will Not Go Away
Even though some stolen Social Security numbers are used to gain employment or rent a house, these actions can snowball and cause you serious problems years later.
Your problems will be much more immediate if criminals are using your SSN to commit fraud against banks, retailers, and government agencies.
You may need to obtain a new Social Security Number, which can be a huge undertaking. You’ll need to prove the theft of your SSN caused you serious hardships, like a ruined credit record that can’t be repaired. You will need to show that you’ve been denied home loans or creditors or that you have problems with the IRS or law enforcement.
The old number is still valid, and you’ll need to monitor it regularly for any future incidents. A new Social Security Number will have a blank credit history. This could make it difficult for your business to access funding.
How Can I Protect My Identity?
Identity thieves do not just jot down SSNs of people on the backs of envelopes. It’s when someone gathers enough personal information to impersonate you, including your SSN, that the real problem arises.
According to the U.S. Government Publishing Office, “the aggregation and availability of personal data, such as SSNs in large corporate databases, may allow criminals to commit social insurance identity theft.”
Clean up Your Digital Profile
Sites that search for people can expose sensitive information about you online without your consent. You can remove your personal information manually from each website, but it will be impossible to keep up with the competition.
One automated service will remove all of your data as soon as it appears on the web, and another tool will monitor its inevitable reappearance. OneRep is a company that has been in business since 2015. It offers an automated tool for deleting your information on more than 100 sites.
Preventive Action for the Good of Your Business
Do not be lulled by a false sense of security. We don’t have the sophisticated tools needed to detect and combat social security identity theft, which is among the fastest-growing cybercrimes. Prevention is better and easier than a cure in this case.