As an American citizen, your social security number has many uses. You use it, amongst other things, to get medical treatment, file your tax returns, and get credit. If your Social Security card is missing, it means that you will have difficulty engaging in day-to-day activities.
Since your card is missing, it unfortunately also means that someone else may have it and that you are running the risk of being a victim of identity theft. Let’s take a look at what you should do if you find that your Social Security card is missing.
Determine if Your Card is Lost or Stolen
The first step is to determine if your card is lost or stolen. If someone stole your card, the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires from you to take a different course of action than if your card is lying somewhere in your house, and you can’t find it.
If you lost your card, you could apply for a replacement by filling in a form and attaching either your U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport. You can also attach a copy of one of these documents that were certified by the relevant authority.
You can then send the form and documents to the SSA for approval. Replacing your social security card is supposed to be free, so if someone charges you money for it, it may be a scam.
If you know for a fact that your card is stolen, for example, someone mugged you, you also have to apply for a replacement Social Security card. Before replacing your card, however, you have to take steps to ensure that your identity and assets are safe.
File a Police Report
Filing a police report is critical as it will prevent you from being implicated if the thief commits a crime under your name. If the person that stole your card commits identity theft, it will also be more difficult to prove if you didn’t report the theft of your card to the police.
Alert Credit Bureaus
Alerting one of the three primary credit control agencies will ensure that your credit score is not affected by any loans that the card thief obtain while being in possession of your Social Security number.
You only have to alert one of the credit report agencies, as they will inform the others themselves. Instead of a fraud alert, you can freeze your credit to ensure that the person in possession of your card doesn’t get credit under your name.
A New Social Security Number
If the person in possession of your Social Security number uses your identity without your consent and at your expense, you can apply for a new social security number. This is not a precautionary measure, however, as the SSA will need proof that you already suffered damages.
The application for a new Social Security number is quite extensive, and you will have to submit multiple documents and evidence to support your need for a new Social Security number.