Recommended steps to take to protect yourself online vary by country or region. The guidance in this article is for the United States only.
If you have a Social Security Number (SSN), someone else can use your name, SSN, address and date of birth to take out credit in your name.
To help prevent this issue, you can complete these actions:
Place a credit freeze
A credit freeze restricts access to your credit report, so that someone else can't open a new credit account. If you need to apply for new credit while the freeze is in place, you can temporarily lift the freeze.
To place a credit freeze, you need to contact all three credit bureaus:
Place a fraud alert
A fraud alert makes it harder for someone to open a new credit account in your name. Before you open a credit account, the business that issued the credit must verify your identity.
To place a fraud alert, you only need to contact one of the three credit bureaus:
When you contact a credit bureau, that bureau tells the other two bureaus to place a fraud alert on your reports.
Review on the Annual Credit Report site
Every 12 months, the Annual Credit Report website gives you credit reports at no charge from all three credit bureaus. You can use these reports to search for activity that you don't recognise. To learn more, visit the Annual Credit Report website.
If you discover that someone has taken out credit in your name, you can use these credit reports to help restore your credit.
Report your stolen Social Security Number
If your Social Security Number has been stolen, you can call the Social Security fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271 or report it to the Federal Trade Commission website.
Create a mySocial Security account
When you create a mySocial Security account, you can claim your Social Security Number and prevent someone else from making transactions in your name. You can create an account at ssa.gov.