An individual’s Social Security number (SSN) provides an official way to help establish the identity of United States citizens, lawful permanent residents and certain categories of immigrants. People use SSNs to file their taxes, open bank accounts, prove their identity and more. While two people may have the same name, they won’t have the same Social Security number, and even if you change your name, such as if you get married or divorced, your SSN will stay the same. Safeguarding your SSN is crucial because it’s used for so many things.
Compromised Social Security numbers
There are numerous ways that an identity thief could commit acts of Social Security fraud. If someone procures another person’s name, date of birth, Social Security number and other identifying information, they could contact a bank, claim to be the person and steal from the account. Others may take out loans with someone else’s Social Security number. Some could gain employment, leaving the person to whom the SSN belongs facing tax consequences.
There are scores of other ways that someone could commit fraud with a compromised Social Security number. Some people may pay for identity theft protection to warn them about unauthorized activities although an identity theft may cause significant harm before any alerts arrive.
Claims of SSN fraud
As with other allegations of white-collar crimes, those accused of Social Security fraud may face an investigation. However, even though someone faces accusations, that does not mean they are guilty.
Federal law enforcement might overzealously seek to prosecute someone accused of a white-collar crime. For example, a person may face claims of attempting to defraud a government entity or health insurer out of benefits. However, processing or other errors may look like a fraudulent act even if it was just a mistake.