Social Security Numbers are one of our most precious pieces of confidential information, which is why thieves are always trying to get their hands on them. Every year, thousands of SSNs are stolen and used for identify theft or to divert victims’ Social Security payments to the crooks.
That’s what happens in the latest trick, in which crooks use stolen SSNs to set up “my Social Security” Internet accounts in the name of the legitimate holders then alter the address or direct deposit bank account details to which payments are sent.
How to Prevent It
You can prevent this happening by, first, protecting your SSN and other personal, confidential information, opening up your own ‘my Social Security’ account online if you’re Internet savvy, and by blocking any direct deposit changes without your approval.
If you do receive notification about an account you didn’t set up or a change you didn’t make, contact the Social Security Administration by calling or visiting your local office or by phoning 1-800-772-1213. Deaf or hearing-impaired people can call the Social Security’s TTY number at 1-800-325-0778.