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Cleaning up the mess that occurs with credit identity theft is easy compared to the recovery and rebuilding needed after the massive destruction that can take place from social security identity theft.
Damages from stolen credit cards, bank accounts, phone numbers, and other account-based credit extensions can often be remedied with a simple four-step process: identifying fraudulent charges, notifying the appropriate agencies and organizations, closing the affected accounts, and establishing new accounts. But when it comes to your social security number, it's not as easy as canceling it and getting a new one. And even if you qualify, getting a SSN may cause more problems instead of solving them.
It is in very rare cases that you can get a new Social Security Number (SSN) issued. That means you are likely to experience residual and ongoing credit issues if someone is using your SSN to open new account after new account and leaving you to deal with the damage done to your credit rating. You could be battling credit damage for years.
Typically, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not provide victim assistance and will consider changing your SSN only if you fit their fraud victim criteria. To find out if you qualify, contact the SSA at 800-772-1213. You can also review the Identity Theft Resource Center's Fact Sheet 113, outlining the pros, cons and procedures for acquiring a new SSN. If your SSN card was lost or stolen, you can apply for a replacement card by visiting your local SSA office or by completing the application online. You will be asked to provide verification documents such as a birth certificate and / or government ID.