Recently, there have been a number of high-profile cases in the news about data breaches and frauds involving leaked Social Security numbers (SSNs).
Sadly, last week, the Washington Post reported that an audit by the Social Security Administration’s inspector general found that the agency’s databases do not have death information for about 6.5 million number holders older than the age of 112.
This is alarming because there are very few people living worldwide older than 112—some experts say that this is a sure sign of fraud. In fact, in a review by the IG, it was discovered that one person opened bank accounts using SSNs for individuals born in 1869 and 1893.
With this in mind, there are a couple things you can do to protect your SSNs from theft:
- Avoid using your Social Security number as a primary identifier (this means you should avoid using your SSN as a way to verify your identity on applications)
- Never send SSNs in an unsecure electronic format
- Never send SSNs on postcards
- Never store SSNs on unprotected paperwork
- Never carry a Social Security card around in your wallet or purse
Helping You Obtain Social Security Benefits
We will continue to keep you posted about Social Security breaches. While these numbers are alarming, they should not keep you from applying for benefits. If you are interested in applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or you have questions about the process, you can visit our FAQ page.
Keep in mind, if you are worried that your information may have been exposed online, you should you should monitor your credit reports, as you can setup fraud alerts with credit monitoring services. Remember, if a person has your SSN, he or she could potentially apply for credit lines and other loans.
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys