Want to change your social security number? Good luck
by Carol Thompson
The most recent security breach involving the theft of millions of social security numbers from Anthem has left many wanting to know if it’s possible to change their social security number.
The government, however, doesn’t allow a person to obtain a new number simply because the current number has fallen into unscrupulous hands. Whomever illegally obtained the number must be using it for fraudulent purposes to be considered for a number change.
In order for the Social Security Administration to issue a new number there must be evidence that the current number is being fraudulently used.
If a social security number is stolen, the SSA recommends notifying the IRS so that someone doesn’t try to apply for the victim’s tax refund. The agency also recommends notifying the Internet Crime Complaint Center and the Federal Trade Commission.
Changing a number can be as detrimental as having it stolen. The new number will always be attached to the former number, however, not everyone picks up on the old number. That can result in a credit report being completely wiped clean, leaving a person with the inability to obtain credit. Mortgage providers and other loan companies often require three years of solid credit history, so it can be as if you’re starting from scratch. Credit card companies may charge a higher interest rate due to the lack of credit history.
And even if evidence is available to show someone is illegally using a social security number, it’s no guarantee that SSA will make the change. A person with judgments or bankruptcy, or anyone attempting to avoid legal responsibility will be denied despite evidence that the number is being used for theft.
Granting a change is rare, according to legal experts, so it’s best to track credit reports and monitor credit and bank accounts regularly.
Image: 401K (2012)