Kane In Your Corner: What to do if you’ve been a victim of identity theft

If an identity thief gets hold of your social security number, they can do a lot of damage. They can open accounts in your name, rent an apartment, and even get a job as you.

Walt Kane

May 27, 2024, 2:49 PM

Updated 20 days ago

Share:

Each year, about 25 million Americans become victims of identity theft – usually because their social security numbers are compromised. News 12’s Walt Kane is In Your Corner with what you should you do if it happens to you.
This week’s question comes from Noel, who wrote: Somebody stole my social security number. What can I do?
If an identity thief gets hold of your social security number, they can do a lot of damage. They can open accounts in your name, rent an apartment, and even get a job as you.
Scott Schober, a cybersecurity expert. says the problem keeps getting worse. “I read estimates that upwards of at least 30% of Americans social security numbers are already compromised. And maybe more than that. Most don't realize it. That’s scary,” Schober said.
Over the years, Kane In Your Corner has done investigations showing how identities are literally for sale on the dark web.
“You can go on the dark web, anybody could. And you can see lists of social security numbers for sale for cheap, sometimes a couple dollars,” Schober said.
What should you do if someone steals your social security number?
  • Experts say first, report the crime to the police.
  • Get a credit freeze from the credit reporting agencies.
  • And if you see accounts on your credit report that are not yours, reach out to those companies, explain you were a victim of ID theft, and have the accounts closed.
  • You also may want to contact the IRS because if an identity thief files a tax return in your name, they can walk off with your tax refund.
If nothing else works, it is possible to ask the social security administration for a new number, but that may cause more problems. That new number will have no credit history, and it’s often just a matter of time before credit agencies link the new number to the old one that has all the false info.
If you or someone you know is a victim of identity theft, here are some links you need:


More from News 12