As early as birth, an individual may obtain his or her own social security number. These days, parents usually apply for this very important document along with their child’s birth certificate. With this, its importance in a person’s existence cannot be emphasized more. It’s as if this number is required in a person’s life and plays a massive role in his or her survival. Actually, it does. A Social Security number works as an identifier for individuals within the United States. It was created to keep track of a person’s employment record for benefit and entitlement computation. Along the way banks and business’ started using it to keep track of your financial credit history, address and rental history and eventually other identification purposes, Without this, it’s quite impossible for an individual to live legitimately as a US citizen. Since a social security number is crucial in obtaining credit and other significant benefits, thieves have made this personal information a target to help them execute crimes which hurt consumers and business owners alike tremendously. The dangers of allowing your social security number to fall in the wrong hands can lead to multiple ugly possibilities. One of which is identity theft. With the increasing occurrence of this type of pilfering, individuals should regard their social security cards as something exceedingly important. Your lost social security card or number makes you vulnerable to the perils of falling victim to financial identity fraud and even criminal identity fraud. Regardless of how cautious you’ve been in protecting your credit and reputation, the detriments of losing your social security card can easily discount the diligence you’ve employed. Effective legislation of laws which protect this information have been reinforced by the government. It was reported in the Consumer’s Union website, “Many states have enacted laws to restrict the printing on cards, mailing, display and Internet use of SSNs. For example, California enacted legislation in 2001 that generally prohibited businesses from engaging in certain activities with SSNs, such as posting or publicly displaying SSNs, mailing documents that display SSNs before the document is opened, printing SSNs on cards necessary for accessing products or services, or requiring people to transmit a SSN over the Internet unless the connection is secure or the number is encrypted. Over twenty states have passed laws similar to California’s—Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. Five states have placed significant restrictions on the private solicitation of or insistence on collecting SSNs – Alaska, Kansas, Rhode Island, Maine and New Mexico.” However, thieves have become progressively more clever and resourceful in stealing this data. Strangely, the conventional manner of losing wallets and purses is the easiest way for thieves to get a hold of your social security number. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people who become identity theft victims because of this. Which leads us to this question, how do we prevent identity theft due to a lost social security card? Below are steps of what we should do when this distressing incident happens: The first thing that you must do after realizing that you’ve lost your social security card is to place a fraud alert on your credit report by contacting one of the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax and Trans Union. By informing one agency, the chosen reporting outfit will then inform the other two. After which, all these agencies will then place an alert on their respective files of your financial record. Credit thieves will most likely use your social security number to open new lines of credit and accounts. It is best to review your credit reports for unauthorized activities made with companies or creditors that you have not contacted. Inaccuracies or unofficial transactions should be reported immediately to prevent weighty damages that can hurt your name and credit worthiness. If there have been accounts that were fraudulently opened using your social security number, close this account without delay. We must always ensure that fellow consumers will be guarded and thieves responsible for this felony will be dealt with accordingly. If you’ve been a victim of social security card identity theft, file a report with the local authorities or in the community where the incident happened. Lastly, go to the Social Security Administration’s website to apply for a replacement card. Your proof of identification is dependent upon your age as well as other factors like citizenship laid out in detail on the SSA website. You can also obtain the information by calling or visiting your local SS office. Meanwhile, US immigrants also face the same danger of identity theft due to a lost green card. Much similar to social security number cards, green cards also contain vulnerable information which criminals need to execute identity crimes against settlers who have made the United States their new home. Maximum caution and vigilance must be employed by both citizens and immigrants to safeguard their personal data and protect themselves from this prevailing peril. Have you been a victim of identity theft? Did you find this post helpful? Feel free to share your comments and feedback below. *** Amy Johnson is an active finance blogger who is fond of sharing interesting finance related articles to encourage people to manage and protect their finances.